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Recognizing Selflessness in Sport – UVA and Loyola Marymount Win 2015 Musial Awards

by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | Nov 10, 2015
When Bates College loaded up their boat trailer and headed to the NCAA women’s rowing championships in Sacramento, California last spring, the feeling among the crew was this was going to be the year they rose to the top.
batestouseWhen Bates College loaded up its boat trailer and headed to the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships in Sacramento, Calif., last spring, the feeling among the crew was this was going to be the year they rose to the top.

The Lewiston, Maine-based college had finished second or third in each of the previous six years at NCAAs, taking silver five consecutive years, between 2009 and 2013. But in 2015, Bates came to Lake Natoma as the top-ranked team. Not only that, they had already beaten their top competition in the final two regular season races.

And then disaster struck. Both varsity eights were damaged in an accident on the way to the regatta, and Bates was sitting on top without boats to row. Enter the University of Virginia and Loyola Marymount University.

saurVirginia head coach Kevin Sauer had been in the same position when he was the head coach at Purdue University in 1987. Five different programs came to his rescue that year. So between Sauer, and Loyola Marymount coach Vaclav Kacir, the two schools quickly found a way to lend Bates two top quality boats and Bates took advantage of the gesture, winning the first ever NCAA team championship in the school’s history.

Last week, both schools were recognized for their generosity when the St. Louis Sports Commission named the two universities among the recipients of the 2015 Musial Awards, Presented by Maryville University.

“It is quite an honor to receive this award with Vaclav Kasir from Loyola Marymount,” said Sauer. “I was completely taken aback when notified, as I told the commission that five different programs helped me when I was coaching at Purdue in 1987 when our truck broke down. That just reinforces the type of people we have in our sport.”

Named in honor of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball Hall of Famer, Stan “Stan the Man” Musial, the awards are presented to celebrate sportsmanship in all sports. Virginia and Loyola Marymount will share the spotlight on Dec. 5 at the Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis with several sports luminaries – including golf legend Arnold Palmer, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and ESPN sports anchor Ernie Johnson - and average people and sports fans who demonstrated what it means to be selfless and generous.

“I can't say enough about how grateful we are to the UVA and LMU coaching staffs as well as Doug Theiman, the (University of Southern California) boatman for transporting the LMU equipment,” said Bates head coach Peter Steenstra. “They were all very generous with their equipment and even their time. The entire episode was a wonderful reminder of how terrifically unified and unselfish the rowing community is.”

Sauer will be among the presenters at the 2015 USRowing Annual Convention Dec. 3-6 in Philadelphia. He will be speaking on basic rowing technique: theory, demonstrations, drills, ergs, sculling and sweep blades. For complete convention and registration information click here.  

To see a list of the other Musial Awards winners go here.
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