Assistant coach Brian Perkins was closely monitoring his phone at his second job, as sophomore Tom Robins texted him up-to-the-minute updates from the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday. When the votes were cast and Perkins received the text with the tally, he immediately left his office.
“I went back in my email and call every kid that we had a rapport with in September, October and November and I said call me back and a lot of them did so I was on the phone all night last time,” Perkins said.
For Perkins, it’s now recruiting season for the men’s crew team. After being told nearly 3 months ago that this season will be the team’s last, Perkins said the team can continue to build what they started.
“It’s a really young team and I am happy they have an opportunity to compete and develop,” Perkins said. “Some of these guys have two and a half years of rowing and that’s very exciting. I am happy we were able to find a solution of this. I was scared about it. I didn’t want it to end and now it is not going to – at least not now.”
With a team of only two seniors, sophomore Evan Hammond said he is happy to now get the opportunity to continue competing with the same six guys in the boat for the next two years.
Although the crew and rowing teams will survive, the other five cut programs were not reinstated on Monday.
“I didn’t know what to think because its being on the other side now,” Stephanie Barber said. “Now I know what it feels like being on the other side. It’s almost like feeling that guilt but we are so grateful for the chance we have been given and no matter what we are still pulling for the other teams and we are still supporting them all the way until the end pretty much.”
The teams were reinstated due to more than $5 million in pledges from the city and trustee H.F Gerry Lenfest to renovate the East Park Canoe House, the former home of the Owls. The EPCH was condemned in 2008.
“We owe them a ton of gratitude,” 34th-year crew coach Gavin White said.
Perkins said facing the threat of the cut is going to make the team come out a lot stronger.
“The team is focused, we are getting the recruits back and now we have a boathouse to add on to all that,” Perkins said.
The crew team will kick off its season at the Stetson Invitational in Florida on March 8. The rowing team will get its season underway March 22 on the Schuylkill.
Danielle Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.