News of the death of Daniel Topolski will cause widespread sorrow in Oxford, far beyond the banks of the Isis and the university’s rowing fraternity.

He was, and will remain, a true Oxford hero for many whose interest in rowing barely extends beyond the afternoon of the Boat Race every spring. He ranks among the most charismatic coaches in any sport, who attracted loyalty and love among his rowing crews and interest in a sport that is to often still viewed as elitist.

His part in the infamous 1987 mutiny, one of the most remarkable fight back against the odds in sport since the war, was alone sufficient to earn him legendary status. His skill as a writer also ensured the whole affair was brilliantly brought to life in True Blue, his book about the affair. Then there were his 10 straight wins in the Boat Race between 1976 to 1985 to recall, each with their own story of power and big personalities.

But it is for his passion for the sport that he should above all be remembered, a passion that bordered on obsession yes, but a magnificent obsession. It is difficult to think of anyone who will leave a greater mark on Boat Race history.