Oct. 25, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State dedicated the new Intercollegiate Rowing Center on Friday night, as the ribbon-cutting ceremony and ceremonial first oars in the new state-of-the-art rowing tanks officially opened the facility in the K-State Sports Complex.
The event for donors, project contributors and the general public featured specials remarks from University President Kirk Schulz, Director of Athletics John Currie, rowing coach Patrick Sweeney and rower Allison Dorau. The dedication concluded with rowing captains Aly Bronder and Meggie Murray along with First Lady Noel Schulz partaking in the ceremonial first oars in the rowing tanks.
The Intercollegiate Rowing Center, which is located along Kimball Avenue and adjacent to the east parking lot at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, provides an all-inclusive and efficient training facility for the Wildcat rowing program. Including two top-of-the-line indoor rowing tanks, a new locker room and erg room with more than 40 rowing performance machines as well as brand new offices for the Wildcat rowing staff, K-State Rowing now has the luxury of being able to train year round. The two 2,800-gallon indoor rowing tanks provide the women’s rowing team this luxury by simulating the feeling of “being on the water” for the student-athletes.
The 9,000 square-foot facility constructed in K-State limestone is yet another beautiful addition to the K-State Sports Complex that has already seen the addition of the Basketball Training Facility as well as the recently completed Mike Goss Tennis Stadium and the new West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
With the fall portion of its season coming to a close last weekend in Lawrence, Kan., the K-State Rowing team heads into the winter ready to train for the upcoming spring season. The addition of the Intercollegiate Rowing Center will make this an offseason like none before in Wildcat rowing history.
Remarks from the Dedication
Athletic Director John Currie
On the Importance of the IRC…
“This is a very special day for many reasons. This is certainly a welcomed crowd. As Coach Sweeney will talk later, there probably won’t be as many smiles at 6 o’clock in the morning in this particular room as there are right now. But we are certainly excited about the opportunity that this facility brings. The sport of rowing is very special to me and my family for many reasons here at K-State and one of the reasons is that this was the first Kansas State sport that I witnessed in competition when I became athletic director. President Schulz offered me the job on the night of May 10, 2009, and the next weekend that the team is competing in Oak Ridge and I was there at the University of Tennessee at the time so I drove out to Oak Ridge and they had no idea who this guy was that was stalking around them and their boats. That was my first opportunity to be exposed to K-State student-athletes and coaching faculty. Certainly we have a tremendous K-State coaching faculty and Pat Sweeny epitomizes that world class aspect of our intercollegiate athletic program. Six-time Olympian, twice as a competitor, four times as a coach right here in Manhattan, Kan. When you become athletic director, at any university there is one person that you have to make sure you take care of and make happy and remember who you are truly accountable. Believe it or not, it is not your football coach, biggest donor, or even your spouse; it is actually the First Lady. I want to recognize Noel Schulz. Before I even knew what a rowing tank was, Noel told me she had met with our rowing team and they needed a practice facility. Well we delivered; thank you very much for your encouragement. When I got to campus, one of the things that I had the opportunity to do is meet with all the coaches, so I called Coach Sweeney and asked how to get to his office, and he said you walk into the men’s restroom, and it is right there on the left. So we can literally say that in just four years K-State rowing has gone from the outhouse to the penthouse right here on Kimball Ave. I just want to reiterate this facility is representative of our commitment at K-State to be a model intercollegiate athletic program with a world class student-athlete experience. We look forward to watching the women who come through this facility develop as athletes, as people, and move on to great productive lives. We are all proud of all of you, we love bragging about this program and what it means not only to K-State but to women’s athletics in general and we congratulate you on this facility.”
President Kirk Schulz
On what the IRC means for K-State Rowing…
“Good evening, it has been a fun couple of days for us here at K-State. Just yesterday evening we dedicated Mary and Carl Ice Hall in the research park, we did ground breaking today for the new $50 million, 140,000 square foot college of business building for a new $40 million extension, an expansion of the college of engineering-that will be about 100,000 square feet and then this dedication capping it all off tonight we this beautiful facility. To all the folks that were complaining about us taking up their tailgating spots-tough-we are glad to have this facility. I want to acknowledge Coach Sweeney. I really appreciate Coach Sweeney and everything he does with the program. All of our coaches are committed to having the facilities they need to compete nationally and in the Big 12 so that we are doing everything to help you all be successful. Coach Sweeney is a smart guy, he figured out they way to get this facility was to get to my wife. I must say John was very thankful about that because I would get home from work and say we are going to build a brand new stadium expansion and Noel would say, that is great but what about the rowing tank. It was constantly a part of our evening discussion so thank God we got the rowing tank that’s all I can say. The final thing that I really want to say is that this program is on the rise and we continue to dominate the weaker rowing program there to the east in Lawrence and let me finish by acknowledging the great leadership we have here in athletic director John Currie. Yea he has won some national awards, but over a four year period the facilities enhancements, the coaches, the contracts, the things that we are doing to make sure that we are truly a model intercollegiate athletic program, I can’t be more proud.”
Head Coach Pat Sweeney
On the Dedication and IRC…
“It feels a little bit like Oscar Night due to all of the thank you’s to put out there. President (Kirk) Schulz, we are pleased that you are here tonight and we are pleased that Noel (Schulz) is here for the reasons that you already alluded to. Thank you for the support in backing this project but also for the support that you have given to the team over the past few years. John (Currie) has already acknowledged a lot of people so I can skip on. Thank you, John. The architects, the contractors were great to us when we had recruits in town; they would let us in when there was construction going on, even though the Fire Marshall did not want us in here. Another thank you is to a couple of other people within our own department and that is Charlie Thomas and R.J. Bokelman. We were expecting a lot more than this, so thank you, John. When an athletic department backs a program to this degree, the sport has to show it worthy. When I first came here, there were less than 30 athletes on the team and we struggled to put a 2V out. We could not even put a Varsity 4 on water at all. It has taken quite a bit to change that around. The communication between the department, the coaches and the athletes was severely lacking. The docks were falling apart, the launches did not work and even with a decent budget, it was always going over budget. It just was not working. Now there are almost 100 athletes on the team, they are kept in the fold and they are part of the family of athletes. The feeder boats we have now are second to none. The equipment, as you see, is improving. One of the things that John was talking about when we first got here was my first year here, I was asked for a wish list. At the top of that list were a tank and then every year after that for a number of years was a tank and it did happen. When John first got hired, he came over to meet with our team at a meet in Tennessee, and every girl he talked to told him they wanted a tank. Each one of them had been programmed to say that. When he first came here, he did say, ‘We will build a tank’. One day after a coaches meeting in Bramlage, John told me to come with him and he brought Reid (Sigmon) along with him and he said ‘That is where I want the tank to be.’ I was in a bit of shock when he told me that. I want to really thank John very much for this facility. It is going to make a big, big difference for us. To all of the athletes, the one from the past, the present ones and the ones of the future, this program is built and continues to grow on those that go before them. So whenever a K-State crew races, you are a part of that. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”
Senior Allison Dorau
On having a new practice facility…
“First of all, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I am thankful that you are all here to be with us tonight. It is an honor to be a part of this dedication tonight. I was recruited to the program as a senior out of high school and I remember getting recruiting packet from K-State Rowing and I had no idea what it was about. I had never rowed before and I was curious. I contacted the coaches and I soon came up for a visit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Rowing is the most physically-demanding sport that I have ever participated in. Being on the team has taught me how to push myself beyond my limits. I learned that three-a-days are just as bad as they sound and that the smallest blisters sting in the shower. As many as you have heard, our headquarters used to be located in Ahearn Field House and the coaches offices were located halfway in the men’s locker room and our erg room was located in an abandoned ballet studio. This new facility will greatly change our training and performances. We will be able to practice with water, even when the lake is frozen. We will be able to perfect our technique, even though our coaches will assure us that it is never perfect. Thank you for all of the support that you have given our program throughout the years.”