Posted Mon, Jun 26, 2023 by KU Crew
The 2020-2021 rowing season was "the COVID year" for the KU Crew, a true test of our program's resilience.
The athletes of that year, the seniors, in particular, should be remembered with a great deal of gratitude. They stayed with the team and trained all year long despite knowing there would be no opportunities for them to race. More will be written about them, but the reason I bring them up now is to give context to what came next.
A year of not being allowed to compete was followed by a year with a crew of enthusiastic rowers, but very few resources for travel or program maintenance.
At that point, the Fall of 2021, in stepped Bob and Melanie Johnson, parents of our team captain for that year Noah Johnson.
We had just had an exec board meeting acknowledging that our financial prospects were somewhat grim. I was at the boathouse working on something or other when Noah walked in and handed me an envelope. It contained two checks representing an extremely generous donation. It was large enough that trips to races like Head of the Hooch and the ACRA national championships were back on the table. A Spring Break trip to good training water in Louisiana could happen.
Bob and Melanie's support allowed us to set some goals for the year that would not have been possible otherwise.
I've been thinking quite a bit about gratitude lately. In a short thank you like this, it is not possible to name everyone who has given their time, blood, sweat, and yes, money, to the Crew. But, as I've mentioned in other posts, it's time for more thank yous. We do remember the contributions of parents, alumni, former coaches, and everyone who has had an impact on this program.
The Johnson family home is located near Humboldt in eastern Kansas. Their name for the property is perfectly descriptive and it is therefore my pleasure to announce that our most recent boat acquisition, a Vespoli 4+ will receive as its KU Crew name, Deerland.
From the entire KU Crew community, thank you Bob and Melanie Johnson.
—Coach Dan Jewett, 2023-06-26