Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Bob Novak

TigerBlog saw in the newspaper this morning that Bob Novak, the conservative columnist and commentator, turns 78 today. Novak has been battling a brain tumor for the last six months or so, and TigerBlog wishes him well in that fight.

Still, any reference to Bob Novak will always take TigerBlog back to Dec.2 , 2001, when Princeton was playing Maryland in the BB&T Classic at what is now the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. TigerBlog was on the radio, and as is always the case, on the lookout for a potential halftime guest.

Across the court sat Novak, whom TigerBlog easily recognized from shows like "Crossfire" and "Capital Gang." Figuring he would make a great guest, TigerBlog walked to the other side during a media timeout and had this conversation:

TB: "Mr. Novak, I'm from Princeton radio. Would you like to be on as our halftime guest?"
BN: "No."
TB: "No? Just like that?"
BN: "No."

TigerBlog began doing radio for Princeton basketball in 1990, when David Brody was the play-by-play man (as a side note, TB has since worked at least once with Peter Peretzman, Andy Freed, Tom McCarthy, Andy Castin, Ed Benkin, Ahmed El-Nokali, Peter Haskell, Dan Loney and now John Sadak).

To this day, Bob Novak remains the only person who ever turned down an invitation to be the halftime guest. Others have said "no" because they couldn't do it that day but have done it other times; Novak was the only flat no.

The list of people TigerBlog has interviewed includes three sitting governors, a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congressman, current professional athletes, active NBA coaches, retired Hall-of-Famers, University presidents, journalists, TV personalities, and pretty much anyone else from any walk of life.

So happy birthday, Bob Novak. Good luck with your health.

And thanks for nothing.


Anonymous said...

What a waste of space! Who cares about Bob Novak, who obviously has NOTHING to do with Princeton Athletics.

Worry more about having enough programs at the games for the paying public.

Anonymous said...


How do you get all those luminaries to appear as half-time guests? Are most recruited in a similar fashion as Novak was, a serendipitous sighting on game day? Or do you arrange most interviews ahead of time? If so, how do you guess whether a sitting governor or any other VIP is likely to be attending a Princeton basketball game?

Princeton OAC said...

None of the halftime interviews are arranged ahead of time. They're all hit or miss, depending on who's in the building. TB has been lucky through the years to find a good mix and to have some high profile people attend Princeton events. As for the programs, the problem is that quantities had to be estimated in the beginning of the year for budgetary purposes. Attendance for men's basketball is up significantly over last year, and unfortunately we have been caught somewhat short. We have the opposite problem at football, where we have plenty left over.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Bob Novak, and many wishes for restored good health. America counts on your insights over your 50 years of following politics. You have a true conservative following. You are smart and always call an issue correctly. Many thanks for your good work over 50 years.