Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Welcome Back

TigerBlog has a folder on his computer entitled “,” which holds 462 pictures from the Princeton men’s lacrosse team’s trip to Spain and Ireland in June 2008.

The pictures were taken with Raymond’s camera throughout the trip. Here’s one of Raymond with a man driving a horse-and-buggy outside Dublin. Here’s one Raymond at the Dublin Zoo. Here’s one where he’s with five people, including three total strangers, on the beach in La Manga, Spain.

On and on they go. The one with the red jacket he borrowed from the bicycle rental guy at Phoenix Park in Dublin. The one with the team of little kids in Cartagena, Spain. The one with the four women from Germany outside Dublin Castle. The one with the guy cooking the chickens at the flea market in Spain.

And, of course, the endless permutations of Raymond with Princeton players, along various parts of the trip.

The 462 pictures – tour guide Jeremy Meccage called it a “Zag Tours record – show more than just stops along the way. They show a great deal about Greg Raymond, who is returning to Princeton to join the staff of head coach Chris Bates, with whom Raymond coached last year at Drexel after spending the three years before that here with Bill Tierney and David Metzbower.

The team he returns to will have 26 players on it whom he has already coached and 14 of whom he helped recruit but has not yet coached. As a defensive coach, he will work with a group that will include senior Jeremy Hirsch and junior Long Ellis and of course the dynamic sophomore trio of goalie Tyler Fiorito, defenseman Chad Wiedmaier and longstick midfielder John Cunningham.

TigerBlog has met few people with the natural charisma that Greg Raymond has. It’s obvious from the time you meet him, and it becomes more obvious as you see him interact with people in any number of situations. It’s part of the reason that he made such an impact on the Princeton program during his first tenure, which began just after he graduated from Johns Hopkins after helping the Blue Jays to the 2005 NCAA title.

To walk around Europe with him was to see his overwhelming natural leadership, his sense of humor, his work ethic, his pure likeability.

When Bates was hired last month, practically everyone Tigerblog spoke to had the same reaction: “That must mean Greg Raymond is coming back.”

He is. Princeton lacrosse is lucky to have him again.

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