Taking over a storied program from legendary coach Joe Duplin in 1980, Ken Legler is the longest tenured head coach at Tufts University now in his 41st season with the Jumbos. He is a 2019 inductee into the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Hall of Fame.
During that time, Tufts has won 20 national championships in sailing including eight women’s, five team racing, three dinghy, two men’s singlehanded, one women’s singlehanded and one match racing title. Also during Legler's career, Tufts has featured 32 men's All-Americans, 36 women's All-Americans and 29 men's and women's honorable mention All-Americans. His teams have also included three College Sailor of the Year recipients.
In 2019 Coach Legler's Jumbos qualified for the co-ed and women's ICSA Nationals in Newport, Rhode Island. Though the 2020 spring season was canceled due to COVID-19, Tufts sailors won two regional titles during the fall season. The co-ed team captured the New England Match Racing Championship in October, qualifying the team to compete at the ICSA Match Racing Nationals, where they placed fifth. Junior Talia Toland won the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Single-handed Championship also in the fall. She then finished fourth nationally. Both the men’s and women’s teams at Tufts are currently ranked among the top 20 in the Sailing World national polls.
In 2013, Coach Legler helped the University design and open the Bacow Sailing Pavilion on Upper Mystic Lake in Medford. The three-floor facility provides storage for every lark and laser of the Tufts sailing team's fleet. The pavilion houses 44 boats, a carpenter's shop for boat repair and home and visiting team rooms. On the upper level, the building boasts a kitchen, conference room, coach's office, a large gathering space and a long deck overlooking the race course.
Beyond his status as an icon in the sailing and coaching community, Legler is also a premier race officer. The US Sailing Race Administration Committee selected Coach Legler as the 2011 recipient of the Harman Hawkins Trophy. The Harman Hawkins Trophy is awarded yearly to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the field of Race Administration. Legler is also active as a judge, umpire and race commentator. At his Hall of Fame induction, the ICSA honored him with the Campbell Family Award for Lifetime Service.
Legler was previously head coach at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York where his Midshipmen won two national titles. Prior to coaching there, he was an assistant at the US Naval Academy. Legler sailed for the University of Rhode Island where he was an All-American winning both the dinghy and team racing championships.
Legler’s philosophy is that sailing is supposed to be fun. Understanding that many spell fun w-i-n; his teams train hard but in a variety of boats, a variety of venues, and in a variety of conditions. The home venue is on a small inland lake with very shifty winds. Instead of training in 420s or Flying Juniors like every other program, Legler believes the team can benefit just as much training in the much faster and more appealing Lark dinghy. That said, he takes the team to other venues often for training in other boats.