University of Kansas Crew

Posted Fri, Jul 21, 2023 by Coach Dan

Greetings to all friends of the KU Crew. In one month we will begin our 47th season as a rowing club at the University of Kansas! It's time for some news and discussion about what's happening!

First let's note that the most important aspect of our daily operations, leadership, is in place and working well. We have a new faculty advisor whom many of you may know, Jennifer Johnson. Jenn has a deep knowledge of the history and processes of our program and we couldn't be happier to have her on board.

At the student level, our new officers for the coming year have been working hard over the summer months to get us ready for a successful year which will include hosting two regattas here in Lawrence.

Now, let's get right into how things are going at the rowing and competing level, and talk about our plans for growing the club.

The most common and therefore somewhat tired lament about rowing clubs is how expensive it is to run and participate in one. We know this, and we're not going to rehash all of that now, except to say, that there is some good news for the KU Crew in this regard.


Our equipment is aging, that is true, but it is ok at the moment. We've done a lot of repair and maintenance to our boats, oars, and ergometers. The coaching launch has been getting regular service and is working well.

We have a nice roof over our heads and a good relationship with the D1 program.

We have good water to train on, and it looks like there may be a new and improved dock installed this year.

At the moment, facilities are not the limiting factor for our club's growth. So what is keeping our participation numbers lower than we'd like?


A brief story to illustrate our participation issue.

Last year, we began the year with a group of recruits that would be the envy of any club coach in the Midwest. After training for only three weeks, the men from this group raced in a novice eight event in Wichita and walked away from the field. Fantastic raw speed for a novice crew. A month later, all but one of those rowers was gone.

The reasons given were the familiar, "It takes too much time, I think I need to focus on my studies, etc." But as the truth came back around to us, we found that the real reason was financial. When it came time for these young men and women to pay their membership fees, the money just wasn't there.

Additional research revealed that our club dues are more than twice what other clubs in the plains region are charging their members. Therefore, this year's executive board has made a decision to dramatically reduce the financial barrier to entry for people who want to participate in this sport we know is so special. Team members will continue to participate in the fundraising efforts we have always done, Rent-a-Rower being the most beneficial, but the base cost of joining the KU Crew will be much less.


I mentioned above that there is good news regarding our financial situation, and here it is…

We have 46 years worth of Alumni.

We don't know where everyone is, but we are working on that, and in the meantime there are enough of us to get things moving. If you were on the crew in the early days, you remember. There was no one else. It was up to you to make it happen. And you did. But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

You will remember the phrase, "Wouldn't it be great if we had the money and resources to do…"

Well, we now have a large group of people who can fulfill those wishes for the newest crop of rowers. Growth doesn't mean new rowers have to suffer the same hardships we did. It means they don't.

We need to raise $30,000 dollars. This year. Then we need to do it again next year. Then again the year after that. And so on.

We can.

In part two of this update, we'll talk about how. And there will be an exciting announcement about the formation of our new non-profit booster corporation "The 77."

Stay tuned, and in the meantime, Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU Crew!

A group of women row a four oared boat up the Kansas River.

Summer fun row in the Deerland.