Friday, February 19, 2010

Nourishing Mother

Mr. and Mrs. FatherBlog have 11 grandchildren between them. Some time ago, they started the trend of taking these kids on a trip to Brazil (where FB does considerable business) somewhere around their 10th birthday.

This week was Little Miss TigerBlog's turn. She left last Friday on her first-ever plane trip, which happened to be more than 10 hours from JFK to Rio, and she arrived in the near-100 degree weather of the region. After four days in Rio, it was off to the Amazon (TigerBlog Jr. did four days in Rio and four days at Iguazu Falls, where Brazil, Argentina and Peru come together) for the rest of her trip, which ends tonight with the overnight flight back to JFK.

Along the way, there was the beach in Rio, as well as piranha fishing and alligator spotting in the Amazon. All of this, presumably, was done without having 40 inches of snow piled up all over the place, like it is back here at HQ.

Because LMTB's flight home gets in at 5:30 a.m., TigerBlog decided not to make the drive to Syracuse for tonight's men's lacrosse game between the two-time defending NCAA champion Orange and the University of Denver, which will be in the Carrier Dome to play its first game ever under its new head coach, who obviously is Bill Tierney.

Also, TigerBlog will be back on the radio for men's basketball, as Noah Savage can't make it this weekend for the games against Yale and Brown. So, as much as TB would have liked to have been in the Dome, it wasn't going to work out.

Somewhat shockingly, this is actually Week 3 in the men's lacrosse season, though not every team has opened yet. The Ivy League schools don't play until next week, and Week 1 for Princeton will see the Tigers host Hofstra next Saturday (Feb. 27; face-off is at noon, by the way).

This past week, TigerBlog began to work on the game program for the Hofstra game, a process that included putting Princeton's 2010 roster in its proper place. While doing that, TB had to change the coaches listed from last year's group to the current staff.

In doing so, TB had to delete this:
"Head coach Bill Tierney (Cortland ’73)"

and replace it with this:
"Head coach Chris Bates (Dartmouth ’90)"

The process started TB to think about where Princeton's coaches went to college. It started some quick research that led to some other thoughts.

On the subject of Princeton coaches and their alma maters (alma mater is Latin for "nourishing mother"), TigerBlog basically could have guessed that Princeton is represented by more current head coaches than any other school.

In fact, of the 34 head coaches at Princeton, eight (a little less than a quarter) are Princeton grads. If you want to try to guess them, now is your chance; TB won't give the answer for two more paragraphs.

What TB didn't realize was that of the remaining 26 head coaches, there are 25 different schools represented. In fact, had Tierney not bolted for Denver, it would be 26 coaches from 26 schools, as only Dartmouth is represented twice.

Bates and women's basketball coach Courtney Banghart are both Dartmouth alums. Besides the eight Princeton coaches who are alums (one paragraph to go), Bates and Banghart are among a group of four current Princeton head coaches who went to school in the Ivy League, along with men's track and field coach Fred Samara (Penn) and women's lacrosse coach Chris Sailer (Harvard).

As for your eight Princeton alums who are head coaches:
Sydney Johnson (men's basketball)
Jim Barlow (men's soccer)
Paul Rassam (women's lightweight rowing)
Greg Hughes (men's heavyweight rowing)
Marty Crotty (men's lightweight rowing)
Jeff Kampersal (women's hockey)
Bob Callahan (men's squash)
Bob Surace (football).

Surace, by the way, is the only Princeton football player in the last 58 years who went on to become the head coach here.

The rest of the coaching staff is from all over the world, actually, from as far away as Juhasz Gyula in Hungary (fencing coach Zoltan Dudas).

If you want to try to fill in some blanks, other schools represented are Navy, Notre Dame, William & Mary, Pepperdine, Iowa, North Carolina, Vassar, St. Thomas (Minn.), Washington and others.

As for assistant coaches, Princeton is also the most represented school, with nine alums currently working as assistants. The only other schools with more than one are Iowa, Hofstra, Brown, Virginia and Penn State.

The two fencing assistants have alma maters as exotic as the head coach, as Hristo Hristov went to the National Academy of Sport of Bulgaria and Szilvia Voros went to Sennelweiss.

What does all this mean? Well, two things.

There is a large group of coaches who were athletes here in the undergraduate days, which leads to the probability that some of the current Princeton athletes will be among the next generation of coaches. Who will they be? Who knows.

TB was at the Palestra Tuesday night to watch Johnson coach against Penn's Jerome Allen; each had been an Ivy League Player of the Year in his playing days. The Princeton bench included another Ivy Player of the Year (Brian Earl) and a first-team All-Ivy player (Scott Greenman).

Could a trip to the Palestra 10 years from now, 20 years from now, see the Tigers coached by a current player?

On the other hand, way more often than not, Princeton is drawing its coaches from outside the Ivy League. They can take any number of roads to get here, and if TB asked all of them to say how they ended up coaching at Princeton (head coaches and assistants), he'd probably get a completely different story from each.

TB's belief is that the two greatest coaches in Princeton history are Tierney (from Cortland) and Pete Carril, from Lafayette. The greatest coach in Princeton athletic history to be a Princeton alum? Maybe Charles Caldwell, who graduated in 1923 and then went 70-30-3 as football coach from 1945-56 before being elected to the College Football Hall of Fame five years later. Or it might be Callahan, who has won multiple national championships while being the poster child for sportsmanship in coaching in his 28 years with men's squash.

TigerBlog is probably overlooking a few Princeton alums who coached here. Of course, there are also alums who went on to more coaching success elsewhere.

Hey, it can't just be the SIDs who change their allegiances.


Anonymous said...

Who went to Vassar?

Princeton OAC said...

Men's volleyball coach Sam Schweisky.

Anonymous said...

Bob Casciola was in the Class of 1958, or 52 years ago.