"This year, John helped us arrange for a boat," White said. "And already we've had some equipment breakage. John knows just where to go to get things fixed."
The one thing White hasn't quite figured out yet is how to win. In 1984, the Owls made it to the final pair in the Ladies Challenge Plate competition for men but lost to Brown.
It won't be easy for the Owls this time, either.
Temple will be rowing in the Thames Challenge Cup instead of the Ladies Challenge Plate, after the Henley committee did some reshuffling of crews.
The good news for the Owls is that they won't be going up against the best U.S. collegiate crews, Harvard and Wisconsin, which are in the Ladies Challenge Plate along with 15 other American crews, the largest contingent of rowers from 17 countries.
The bad news is that the Owls are in the same event as the national lightweight crews from Britain and the United States.
"That's going to be tough," White said yesterday. "But this is the mecca of rowing, and the kids are psyched for a good showing."
Though rowing begins today on the Thames River, Temple has a first-round bye and will row tomorrow against the winner of today's race between the Cherwell and Sons of the Thames British clubs.
Other American boats in Temple's race include Yale, Wesleyan, Dartmouth, Trinity, the Harvard "B" boat and a boat rowing out of the Boston Rowing Center, whose crew consists mainly of the U.S. national lightweight team.
Also racing tomorrow is the La Salle High crew, in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. La Salle, along with British schools Eton and Westminster, is a favorite in the race. La Salle has drawn the Shiplake College School in its first race.
Unlike the regatta format Americans are accustomed to, the Henley Regatta is strictly match racing down a 2,100-meter course. Side by side, two shells race. The winner advances, and the loser goes home.
Temple and La Salle won warm-up races Saturday at the Reading Regatta.
"I was pleased with our race over the weekend," White said. "But you never know with kids. It's hard to tell what they'll do from day to day."
The Owls, with some assistance from Tierney, who is a friend of Harvard coach Harry Parker, did some practice racing with the Crimson yesterday.
"They crushed us," White said of the top U.S. collegiate program. "But I didn't feel so bad when they went out and crushed a New Zealand boat that is mostly their 1988 Olympic team."
Win or lose, White thinks Henley is a worthwhile experience. He likes to promise his Owl crews that if they win the Dad Vail Regatta, the university will come up with the $35,000 it costs for the trip.