The University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board held a grand opening in honor of their boathouse, which was completed in February of 2007. The Golden Gophers opened their doors to the general public for the first time, today, at the East River Flats Park.
The grand opening consisted of a welcome from senior associate athletics director Regina Sullivan. The ceremony had remarks from Kathy Brown from the University of Minnesota president’s office, athletics director Joel Maturi, director of recreational sports Dr. Jim Turman, and from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreational board member Walt Dziedzic. Libby Sharrow, a former Gopher rower and current assistant coach on the team also spoke on behalf of the alumni. Head coaches Wendy Davis (women’s varsity) and Tom Altenhofen (men’s club) also spoke on behalf of each of their teams.
After the opening remarks, team captains Cheryl Wick and McNulty, along with Brown, Maturi, Dr. Turman, Dziedzic and Nancy and Rod Peterson participated in the ribbon cutting at the entrance of the building.
Following the ceremony, the facility was open for tours. In the building, demonstrations were held in the tank and erg rooms as well a touring the locker room and boat storage facilities.
As part of the agreement, the University of Minnesota is partnering with the MPRB to provide programming and other opportunities to community members. Programming will include youth clinics and camps in rowing along with other sports.
The Golden Gopher rowing program, under Davis, has excelled every year it has been in competition since the start of it in 2000-01. The Gophers earned their first NCAA appearance berth when they were selected as an at-large team in 2006. Along with competing in their first NCAA Championships last year, the Gophers finished second at the Big Ten Championships and won three events. Along with the team’s accomplishment, Davis was named Co-Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2006.
MInnesota took it one step further in 2007 when the team won the Big Ten Championships in Madison, Wis. The Gophers set a Big Ten record for the most points at the championships, winning four of six events. The Maroon and Gold won the Second Varsity Eight, First Varsity Four, Second Varsity Four and First Novice Eight events. Along with the team's honors, Davis earned her second Big Ten Coach of the Year award, while Jenny Barnes was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year.
The men’s club program was established in 1957 and was founded by Oliver Bogen, Lloyd Ohme, and Dr. Charles Good. Bogen coached the program’s first eight years of existence from 1957-1964. Since the program’s beginning, the Minnesota men’s crew has earned five national IRA Championship titles, including the 2003 men’s Open 4+. The men’s crew has also garnered 15 Dad Vail Championships and 25 Midwest Regional championships.
The Gophers have this week off to prepare for the South/Central Sprints, May 12-13 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Maroon and Gold will then await to hear if they are one of 12 teams to advance to the NCAA Championships, also in Oak Ridge, Tenn, May 25-27. The NCAA also takes four at-large First Varsity Eight boats, which is what the Gophers qualified for last season.