Changes in the Boathouse District

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“Changes in the Boathouse District”


A passion for rowing and paddling and a vision for bringing national and international sports to the Oklahoma River have been the driving force behind Mike Knopp’s leadership in developing the Oklahoma City rowing and paddling community, the Boathouse District, national and international sporting events, and ultimately, the master plan development of the Oklahoma River.

Originally a practicing attorney, Mike left his legal career in 2003 to establish the Oklahoma City University varsity rowing program and assume the position of executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. Bringing corporate, civic and community leaders together, Mike has led multiple Oklahoma River initiatives.

  • Establishment of the first boathouse on the newly redeveloped Oklahoma River. The Chesapeake Boathouse opened in January 2006 as Oklahoma City’s community boathouse and the cornerstone of the Boathouse District.
  • Development of the $10 million Devon Boathouse and OKC National High Performance Center project; the $6 million Chesapeake Finish Line Tower which functions as the visitor center to the Boathouse District; the University of Central Oklahoma Boathouse, RIVERSPORT Adventures, and the Oklahoma City’s $45 million RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center.

Originally from Minnesota, Mike discovered rowing as a high school student in Annapolis, Maryland, watching the crew from the U.S. Naval Academy. He began pursuing his passion as an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University where he met his wife, Tempe, a fellow rower, and helped re-establish OSU’s club rowing program.

Mike went on to earn a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma where he founded OU’s club crew. While in law school, Mike had the opportunity to row at Oxford, United Kingdom, further fueling his passion for the sport and it’s potential in the United States.

Mike soon left his successful legal career to dedicate his energies full time to building Oklahoma City’s potential as “America’s next great rowing city.” In 2003, Mike was named head rowing coach at Oklahoma City University and, shortly thereafter, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation.

In just over a decade, Mike has led Oklahoma City to the forefront of the national and international rowing and kayaking communities while also developing significant community interest and participation in the sports.

Chair of the Day

Tim Strange serves as President of Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort Commercial Real Estate, the oldest commercial real estate firm in the state founded in 1905 as the Harrison Levy Company. He also serves a s chairman of Rose Rock Development Partners which has been designated the conditional re-developer of the site at Shields and the Oklahoma City Boulevard where “Boulevard Place”, an eight story, 241 unit apartment building with ground floor childcare, retail and restaurants will be built.

Tim served as club president in 2015-16, is a multiple Paul Harris fellow, a five year perfect attender and has served on numerous non-profit boards including as a director for COTPA.

He and his wife Marylee have two married daughters and one 16 month old grandson Trigg, the light of his life.

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