Cal Crews Clean Up Oakland Estuary

Feb. 3, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. - Some 100 members of the California men's and women's crew programs, including men's head coach Mike Teti and women's head coach Dave O'Neill, combined to clean up the Eastern shore of the Oakland Estuary near Jack London Square on the morning of Feb. 1. The Golden Bears picked up approximately 650 pounds of trash during their community service project.

The coaches, in conjunction with the Port of Oakland, spearheaded the event to give back to the community in which the crews, the Cal men in particular, rows. Cal has trained on the Oakland Estuary for more than a century. The T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center in Oakland has been the home for the Cal men since 2004, when it replaced the Ky Ebright Boathouse, which stands next to the Rogers boathouse, as the Bears' headquarters.

'When I coached the national team, we trained at Princeton,' Teti said. 'The community really embraced the team. We felt that, being citizens of Princeton, we needed to give back, so once a week the guys would make sandwiches for the homeless, do readings at elementary schools.

'I thought, `Now we're here, and we're part of the community in Berkeley and in Oakland. We row on the Oakland Estuary every day.' I was looking to do a community service project, and [Cal's Director of Olympic Sports Operations] Jenny Simon suggested this. We met [Environmental Compliance Supervisor] Jeff Jones at the Port of Oakland and I spoke with Dave O'Neill, and we decided it would be a good team thing to do. I think everybody had fun.'

Teti, a former U.S. Olympic bronze medalist as a rower, is in his first year coaching at Cal. He joined the Golden Bears after his long stint as U.S. men's coach ended with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

He and O'Neill picked up their fair share of trash along the estuary.

'They really enjoyed it,' O'Neill said of the Bears. 'Looking at this year with coach Teti and I, we're looking at doing quite a few events together with the men and the women. At first they were a bit skeptical. But they got into it. There was a little bit of competition between the different groups in picking up trash. People really made the most out of the day, in doing what we were there to do - cleaning up the shore - and having fun together.'

O'Neill, the four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in his 11th year as the leader of the Cal women, who took third place in the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships last season at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. Cal was the host of the 2008 NCAA regatta.

'This year one of the goals was to bring the teams together,' Teti said. 'We're all the Cal rowing family, both the men and women. But because of class schedules and practice times, we haven't been together that much, so I think it's good to see. It was fun. They saw it was a positive thing. Of course, we turned it into a competition to see who picked up the most trash. They're competitive kids.'

The largest group of Bears won the unofficial contest with about 40 bags of trash.

'They group that had the most trash, group No. 2, had the most people,' Teti said. 'We only had eight of us in my group, but I think we actually won. We picked up the most trash per capita.'

The Cal men and women continued their spirit of cooperation with a mixed row at the Rogers boathouse on Feb. 2.

Both crew programs open the 2009 college season with the March 28-29 Pac-10 Challenge in Redwood Shores, Calif.

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