84th Annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Program Book

25YEARS AGO The Temple Owls entered the 1998 season as the heavy favorites to win the Dad Vail title. The Owls had been the dominant team on the Schuylkill, winning the Varsity Heavyweight Eight race in 14 of the previous 15 years, including the previous nine straight. No program in Dad Vail history had dominated the prestigious race like the Owls, and none would match this championship in the future. Their dominance, however, led to extra pressure for the 1998 team to win on their home course as Jason Read, the team’s stroke recalls. “The competition was very significant. We won the Big East, and Murphy Cup leading up to Dad Vail where we had two great races,” said Read, who would later stroke the USA gold-medal eight at the 2004 Olympic Games. “We also had another great race in San Diego that season. It was really exciting to showcase our program at the Dad Vails after those races.” Behind the Owls success, was Hall of Fame head coach Gavin White, who took over the program from Tom “Bear” Curran in 1979. During White’s tenure the Owls dominated the Dad Vail Regatta with 20 wins in the Varsity Heavyweight Eight race including 13 consecutive wins from 1989 to 2001. “Those guys on the ‘98 boat were very talented,” said White. “We knew from the pre-season from looking at that Varsity Eight boat and thought they would be pretty good.” During that season we dealt with a lot of injuries but still were able to get the job done at the Dad Vails.” In 1998, the Owls were led by talented rowers, some of whom would go on to become members of National and Olympic crews. Joining Palmer and Read in the boat were Sean Casey, Nate Swift, Igor Francetic, Brendan Duke, John Clark, Kevin Gross, and Brendan Marzano. Read, who graduated from Temple in 2003, was pivotal in recruiting coxswain Reade Palmer to North Broad Street from Boston University where Palmer had started his career. Palmer and Read, both members of the 1995 National Rowing team, would help lead Temple to three Dad Vail Regatta Varsity Heavyweight Eight Titles. “The expectation was for us to win,” recalls Read. “The key for the Dad Vails for us was preparation for our appearance in the national championships. There were many elite crews at that race (the national championships) with Georgetown, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and others that challenged us.” Conditions could not have been worse on Dad Vail weekend. Saturday’s race day was canceled due to heavy rains and the course was shortened from its traditional 2,000 meters to 1,500 for Sunday’s race. Temple started slowly and sat fourth after the first 300 meters. Coach White’s men then got into form and would go on to easily defeat second place Rhode Island, finishing the race in three minutes 43.01 seconds, to capture its 10th straight Dad Vail championship. The Rams were nearly seven seconds behind (3:49.59) while Marietta took home the bronze with a time of 3:51.44. “I think we were fourth after about 300 meters, but they really came on at the end,” White said immediately after the race. “That’s a credit to them. They really put it all together.” It was a year to remember for the Owls as they not only added to their Dad Vail Regatta dominance, but also their national prestige as one of the elite crews in the country. Dad Vail Champions Again: 1998 Temple Crew Extends Record Streak to 10 Straight By John Dailey