Central Oklahoma head coach Montia Rice had a couple of very important things on his mind Saturday morning. One was the NCAA National Championship finals that were coming up, and the women's team he coaches that was favored to win.
The other was the phone call from his wife, Mo, who told him she was on the way to the hospital back home to deliver the couple's second child.
Standing on the shore at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, Rice was thrilled to witness his four finish second and his eight win to earn enough points to lock down the first Division II National Championship in the history of the program.
Central Oklahoma team hug
"This is one very special day," Rice said while waiting for his team to get back to the recovery dock in the boat yard at the venue. "I am a very lucky man.
"I'm kind of at a loss for words. The four did exactly what they needed to do. They're disappointed because they wanted to win, but I can't be upset with them. They let Western Washington get out in front a little bit, but they came back and held their ground and got second place, which is what they needed to do.
"The eight just came out and did what they do, what they do every time," he said. "They are strong, dominant, and mentally tough. We've been trying to do this since the program started, and when I came in as assistant. It's been great taking over and building on the foundation that was left for me, and continuing our mission.
"And now I have to get to the airport because my wife is going into labor," Rice said. "She called me this morning to say she was in labor and I am getting a flight back at one and hoping to be there by five so I can be there for it. That's the hope. She is trying to hold on as long as she can."
While he was making sure his team had what they needed to get their equipment taken care and get to the medal ceremony, Rice was glancing at his watch and making arrangements to get his bags and get to the airport.
And even though his team was in the middle of celebrating, they were well aware of Rice's family situation.
"He told us this morning," said senior Trista Cripe. "He told us that his wife was just about ready, and that it was basically time for him to go. So, we had to do something to top off the weekend. We took a ten in the middle of the race for coach Rice and for his baby.
"It's unexplainable," Cripe said of winning. "Words can't explain it, words can't describe it. I am just so grateful to have been given this opportunity today.
"This was the last race for me, and for me and the other seniors in this boat. This was the last opportunity for me to row with this crew and we just wanted to lay it all out on the line for my teammates and for coach Rice."