By Danielle Nelson
*This article is posted on The Temple News website.
Gavin White will return for his 35th season as head coach of the men’s crew team, following one of worst finishes for the program in more than 30 years.
The varsity eight boat failed to make it out of the semifinals at the 76th annual Dad Vail Regatta earlier this month, losing to Villanova. With only the Top 2 boats advancing to the finals, the Owls finished in fifth place.
“I couldn’t allow myself to go out like that, after getting beaten that bad,” White said.
In an effort to improve his health for next season, the longtime coach, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and knee problems, rescheduled his second deep brain simulator adjustment surgery for May 16 .
White, who has difficulties walking and is often assisted by a walker, has an electric programmer in his chest that sends electrodes and dopamine to his brain. Once adjusted, the stimulator increases the amount of electrodes to specific parts of his brain, which in turn improves alertness and acuity.
“It may improve things, my walk, my attitude, a lot of things so we will see,” White said.
After a challenging season that reached its pinnacle in February when the university reinstated the program after announcing its elimination, along with six other sports last December, the team finished its season last week with its annual banquet organized by Friends of Temple Rowing. Rick Gross, the president of FTR, said the banquet was started more than three decades ago. FTR is made up of parents and alumni, which provides food for the rowers at the regattas, organize fundraisers and an annual banquet.
During the banquet on May 12, the entire crew team was honored with a variety of awards. The two seniors on the team received a framed Temple ‘T,’ the juniors received watches, the sophomores received jackets with a Temple ‘T’ on it, while the freshman class received black blankets with a red and white Temple ‘T’ on them.
A few individuals on the team were also singled out for their achievements during the season including freshman TJ Kuhar, who won the novice award trophy and sophomore Evan Hammond, who won most improved athlete of the year.
While more than $5 million is already going toward the renovation of the East Park Canoe House, Temple’s development officer, Joe Morelli, made an appeal to the parents in attendance at the banquet. Morelli said the program was looking to raise about $500,000 – $300,000 of which has been donated by some alumni and an additional $200,000 is needed “to do the interior, the equipment and everything it takes to finish the inside.”
Now losing two seniors to graduation, one of whom rowed in the varsity eight boat, White said next season he will change the lineup and find the right combination to the boat after he discovered late in the season that the boat was not getting along.
“We will start over from scratch,” White said.
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