While rowing was once considered an elite and exclusive sport, it has become more and more popular around the country and will soon be available to students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The Coulson Foundation has donated $50,000 to the university to start a rowing club, which will be one of the extracurricular activities available to students this fall. With the money, the university has purchased two Hudson bow coxed four-person shells to be used by the men’s and women’s teams. In addition, the Trojans will have access to various single and double sculls through the Arkansas Boathouse Club, where the boats are stored. The team will practice on the Little Maumelle and Arkansas Rivers, just west of the Big Dam Bridge and right on the city’s River Trail at Two Rivers Bridge and Park.
“The Coulson Foundation is pleased to assist UA Little Rock in starting a rowing club,” said Mike Coulson, chairman of Coulson Oil Company Inc. and a rowing enthusiast. “The relocation of the Arkansas Boathouse Club in September of 2018 to the Little Rock side of the Two Rivers Bridge offers the best venue possible for rowing.”
The Coulson Foundation also is in the early stages assisting the communities of Arkadelphia and Conway in developing rowing, Coulson said.
Northwest Arkansas and Russellville both have rowing clubs in early stages of development, and neighboring states Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee have growing and well-established youth and collegiate programs.
“We look forward to introducing club rowing on campus this fall, and we are most appreciative to Mike Coulson and the Coulson Foundation for making this possible,” Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said. “Rowing seems a natural fit for Arkansas. We have an active rowing community in the Little Rock area, and we have the perfect facility for this sport on the Arkansas River.”
UA Little Rock’s club rowing team will be open to male and female students. Ted Riedeburg, a U.S. Rowing Level III coach, will serve as the club’s coach and adviser.
“Club sports give our university a unique opportunity to engage our students while they pursue their degree,” said Chasse S. Conque, UA Little Rock vice chancellor and director of athletics. “This model certainly puts an emphasis on recruitment and retention as we focus on growing enrollment at the university.”
While UA Little Rock Athletics is assisting with the club’s start-up, the rowing program will be overseen by Student Services, which oversees student organizations.
Students interested in rowing are encouraged to contact Ted Riedeburg at email@example.com.