Stunned by cuts

by longformphilly


Mike Jensen | The Philadelphia Inquirer | December 2013

Barely more than an hour after he got the news, Gavin White sat in his car in the driveway next to the Liacouras Center, blinkers flashing, rain filling his windshield. He looked at his ringing phone.

“This is my wife,” said Temple’s men’s rowing coach, in his 34th year on the job.

“Hey, Whitey,” White said, getting right to why he had left her a message to call. “They cut crew. . . . Yes, they did. They cut seven sports. They cut men and women’s crew. I think the whole boathouse thing, we cut our own throats with that. They cut baseball, softball, gymnastics.” During the call, White’s right hand began shaking but his voice stayed even.

“You plan the party,” White told his wife.

His wife had been telling him that when he finally got out she would throw the biggest party known to man.

“You hear her?” White said when he got off the phone. “She was cursing a blue streak.” White, whose Varsity 8 had won the Dad Vail Regatta 20 times, wore his Temple shirt identifying him as the crew coach. His Temple ID hung from his neck.

“I bleed Temple blood,” White said. “Yeah, I do.”

Writer bio: Among other assignments, Mike Jensen writes “Off Campus,” a regular column on college sports for the Inquirer. A staff writer with the paper since 1988, Jensen covered college basketball and football beats for 15 years, wrote about soccer from 10 countries on five continents, and was assigned to the Kentucky Derby the year of Smarty Jones. He won Eclipse Awards for his coverage of Smarty Jones and Barbaro.

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