1985 - 1986
Director: Joseph Murray
Assistant Coaches: George F. Kramer & Robert Nelligan
President: Andrew Valente
Vice President: Joanne Cavanaugh
Secretary: Jody Steinberg
Treasurer: Terri Gala
Historian: Les Kirkegaard
Best Act: Mixed Doubles Balancing - Terri Gala and Carlos Menendez
Best Female Trouper: Joanne Cavanaugh
Best Male Trouper: Dave Rudel
1985-86 Against All Odds
In June of 1985, Dean John Burt offered Dr. Murray a position with the College of Health and Human Performance. The job entailed administrative work for the college and the responsibility of coaching Gymkana.
“John Burt asked me if I would ask the Troupe to commit themselves to drug free living and represent the college. In return he would support the Troupe."
- Dr. Joseph Murray
The Troupe was faced with a choice. Each member would have to live free of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. While the Troupe and the coaches had always encouraged this lifestyle, now things were different. Each member would have to sign a pledge.
The troupers agreed to the terms. Gymkana was given a reprieve. The Troupe also became affiliated with the National Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (U.M.C.P. Division).
Dr. George Kramer returned to the College staff part time to assist Dean Burt. He also continued to offer help to the Troupe. Robert Nelligan continued to provide coaching support for the Troupe as well.
The road show season included many performances at public schools. This year, for the first time, the Troupe not only put on a gymnastic show, but it also promoted the advantages of living drug, alcohol, and tobacco free. It did so, not in a forceful manner, but by showing that fun could be had without resorting to unhealthful activities.
While a year before, Dr. Murray had been having problems getting tenure, this year he was honored with "The Best Faculty Advisor To A Student Group" award.
With all the adversities the Troupe had overcome, and in celebration of the 40th Anniversary, the Troupe's theme for the Home Show was particularly fitting - "Extravaganza". And it was an extravaganza indeed, with many alumni returning to see the Home Show and celebrate the fact that Gymkana would continue on.
"Drug Free - The Way to Be" would become a part of Gymkana from then on. If there was any need for proof that this was the correct decision, it came at the end of that year. Len Bias, star of the Maryland Terrapins Basketball Team, and first pick in the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, died suddenly of cardiac arrest after consuming cocaine. An athlete at the top of his sport, he died after making the wrong choice.