Never let it be said that one person with a great idea, can’t make a positive difference.

On this occasion, the “one person” is  Eric Toppy, who brought up the idea of re-establishing the men’s and women’s rowing programs at Atlantic Cape Community College.

“The program's reemergence is being made possible by Eric Toppy, who approached Atlantic Cape three months ago with a vision to create a program that could provide scholarships to students seeking to advance academically to a four-year school, and other donors who have raised funds and procured in-kind donations, as well,” according to an Atlantic Cape Community College release.

Atlantic Cape Community College made it official at the regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting, which was also the Board’s annual reorganization meeting, held this past Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

The addition of Men's and Women's Crew programs will become part of the athletic program lineup for the 2023 school year.

This is a very significant announcement, as it makes Atlantic Cape Community College one of only two community colleges in the United States to offer crew. The other is Orange County, California.

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"Atlantic Cape and the Atlantic Cape Foundation are excited to get started raising funds for the Crew program," said Atlantic Cape Foundation Executive Director Jean McAlister. "We look forward to working with Eric and Steve (Kelly) in advancing this program forward."

Here are (left to right) the head coach (Toppy) and assistant coach (Kelly):

Atlantic Cape Community College photo.
Atlantic Cape Community College photo.

Here is the schedule and timeline to get the programs going:

  • Atlantic Cape's Men's and Women's Crew teams will be housed at the Lake Lenape Boathouse where the two teams will practice and run their home races.
  • Practices will begin in January once classes reconvene following the Christmas break with dry land training that includes running, weight lifting and rowing machines.
  • Practices will progress to the water, weather permitting, by mid-February with racing competitions commencing by the end of March.

"I have had several local high school crew coaches tell me that they know kids they have coached in high school who are great rowers and are now attending Atlantic Cape, but do not have a place to row," said head coach Toppy. "Well, now they do.”

"There are so many students in our area that want to continue rowing and they will be able to do that here (at Atlantic Cape) and have the opportunity to get scholarships," said Assistant Coach Kelly. "It's going to be fun. We will be competitive and our rowers will be able to get a reasonably-priced education too."

Atlantic Cape Community College had crew programs twice before in their history. First in 1972 and 1973, under head coach Jim Wortman.

The other season was in 1983 under head coach Thomas P. McCann. McCann was a 1973 graduate and a member of the 1972 and 1973 teams.

These teams had great success with 1972 Crew team placing third and the 1973 team fifth at the storied  Dad Vail Regatta, the largest regular intercollegiate rowing event in the United States.

SOURCE: Atlantic Cape Community College.

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