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UC Irvine Notebook / Barbie Ludovise : Making Ends Meet Hasn’t Been Smooth Sailing for Crew Team

How does a collegiate crew team keep itself afloat? Financially speaking, it can be a doozy. Just ask UC Irvine Coach Larry Moore.

“Contrary to popular belief, we don’t do bake sales,” Moore said. “Though we’ve tried just about everything else.”

This season, and recent seasons past, the Anteaters have raised funds by . . .

--Taking inventory at local department stores.

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--Ticket-taking and ushering at Irvine’s Crawford Hall.

--Decorating and cleaning up after a school sock hop.

--Staging all-night frozen yogurt sales.

--Passing out 30,000 flyers announcing the opening of the Bren Events Center . . .

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And, of course, selling candy bars and raffle tickets, as well as customized lithographs of themselves created and signed by local artist Ruth Hynds.

Two weeks ago, the Anteaters made $750 filming a television commercial with Arnold Schwarzenegger for a Japanese noodle company. The athletes could do the commercial because the sport is not under National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rules, according to Moore.

In the commercial, Arnold eats the noodles, then, rowing alone in a tiny dingy, proceeds to blow away the entire eight-man Irvine crew.

Who says fund raising isn’t glamorous?

Only three months ago, Irvine athletic administrators, searching for a way to trim $70,000 from its budget, seriously considered dropping crew--a non-scholarship but partially funded sport.

But with the support of past coaches, alumni and former Irvine Chancellor Dan Aldrich--a longtime crew supporter--the program has been given a reprieve.

According to Rob Halvaks, senior associate athletic director, crew will receive a total budget--to include coaches’ salaries, travel, equipment, uniforms, etc.--of $40,000 this year, a $30,000 decrease from last year’s total budget of $70,000.

Last year, crew spent $111,000, which included its share of the Irvine budget and money raised during the season.

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According to Moore, the average fully equipped, eight-man boat costs about $18,000 ($26,000 for a premium imported model). Oars are $250 apiece. Annual travel expenses are a minimum of $12,000.

And the Irvine crew base dock, built 25 years ago, is in serious need of renovation. Cost: $40,000.

Although crew supporters weren’t thrilled with the 30% budget decrease, it was a much better option than their only other option--having no crew at all.

Former Irvine coach Duvall Hecht, who started the university’s crew program in 1965, is not unhappy with the university’s decision to trim the crew budget. In fact, Hecht said the time has come for the Anteater crew alumni to come together and support the program.

“It’s time for the alumni to do more and to be more organized and active,” said Hecht, who, along with Aldrich and former Irvine oarsmen Bruce Ibbetson and Paul Ryan, is beginning to organize a full-fledged alumni fund-raising campaign.

“It’s not right to think someone should do everything else for you. We’ve been given 20 years of support from the university. It’s not like they’re stopping completely. UCI is not turning us out of the nest, they’re just saying we need to help out a little more. I think it’s terrific. I think we’re a mature program now, and we have some alumni who can help.”

Ibbetson, a two-time U.S. Olympian in rowing, is the co-chairman of the fund-raising committee, called the Irvine Rowing Assn.

“All the people that have been involved (with Irvine crew) understand the value of the program and the success it brings not only to the individual, but to the university as well,” Ibbetson said. “No one wants to see that just die and go away.”

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Especially the current Irvine crew.

Moore says he has yet to make his final decision of which varsity oarsmen will fill the top boat for Irvine’s season opener, the San Diego Crew Classic, March 31-April 1 at Mission Bay.

The varsity boat is named Myrmecophaga Jubata Irvinus , Latin for “Giant Anteater of Irvine.”

“About 12 different guys are being considered right now,” Moore said. “And it’s a tossup between two coxswains. This is the time where I find that all of a sudden things begin to happen.”

Irvine has some 60 athletes out for crew this year. Of the potential varsity members, only three are seniors. “Realistically, we hope to make the finals of the (Pacific Coast Rowing Championships) this year,” Moore said. “And getting fifth or sixth there would be great . . . But next year looks a lot better.”

Irvine’s sailing team, the defending national champion, is the top-ranked team in the nation, according to Sailing World magazine.

Last weekend, Irvine won the Trux-Ulmstead Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta of the season, at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. “This win was really important for us,” Irvine Coach Craig Wilson said. “A lot of the other top teams really sort of thought we wouldn’t be a threat when we came east. Last year, we won the national championship in the West (at San Francisco). So a lot of the Eastern teams thought we wouldn’t be able to handle their conditions. They sort of wrote us off.”

After Irvine, Old Dominion is ranked second, Navy is third and Charleston is fourth.

Irvine hammer thrower Mike Morales became the first Anteater to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. outdoor track and field championships Saturday.

The NCAA meet will be May 30-June 3 at Provo, Utah.

Morales, a junior, broke his school record by three feet with a throw of 203-feet 1-inch to win the event at a triangular meet at Santa Barbara. Morales also won the shotput and discus events at Santa Barbara.

Freshmen Lana Banks (400 meters), Andrea Sansom (800 meters) and Sabrina Miles (shot put) each recorded victories to lead Irvine’s women’s team to a 91-43 victory over UC Santa Barbara Saturday.

Of the 30-member women’s squad, only two-time All-American distance runner Beth McGrann is a senior.

Irvine notes

Seniors Kevin Floyd and Mike Doktorczyk were named most valuable players of Irvine’s basketball team Monday. Floyd scored 995 points in his career, ranking No. 11th on the school’s all-time list. Doktorczyk, who was named to the Big West Conference’s second team, led Irvine in scoring (15.9 points) and rebounding (7.8) this season. Sophomore forward Jeff Herdman, of Mission Viejo High School, was named Irvine’s shooter of the year. Herdman made 42 of 82 three-point attempts (51%) and led the nation in three-point shooting in mid-February. Other award winners were Ricky Butler (newcomer of the year), Rod Palmer (hustle award) and Don May (most inspirational).


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