Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Double Triple

TigerBlog was saddened yesterday to see the news that Tony Seaman was no longer the men's lacrosse coach at Towson and that Richie Meade was no longer the men's lacrosse coach at Navy.

Both are longtime coaching veterans, giants in the sport.

Seaman's son Greg was the last Princeton athlete ever to wear the No. 42, something he did in men's lacrosse before graduating in 2009, after the number was retired across all sports at Princeton. Tony Seaman coached Penn, Johns Hopkins and Towson to the Final Four, making him the only coach in Division I history to get there with three teams.

Meade took Navy to the 2004 NCAA championship game against Syracuse, defeating Princeton in the semifinals along the way.

Between them, they won more than 430 games.

TigerBlog has met both men and has a great deal of respect for both. Most recently, he saw both at the USILA convention last December, when Meade gave a riveting talk about his coach at Nassau Community College (Richie Speckman) and when Seaman was in the audience. They are two class acts.

Still, TB also understands that coaching in college is a challenge, and that eventually every coach - even the legends - step aside in favor of the young bloods. He's seen it happen at Princeton through the years, and that's why he has such great respect for the seven coaches at Princeton who have been there longer than he has.

Tony Seaman was the head coach at Penn for the first lacrosse game that TB ever saw, back in the early 1980s.

By that time, Peter Farrell and Fred Samara were already established with the women's and men's track and field and cross country programs at Princeton. They're still there today - and showing no signs of letting up.

In fact, Farrell and Samara have seen their programs complete a remarkable 2010-11 year, one that saw both the Princeton men and women win the Ivy League title in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.

Having each team win the "triple crown" as it were is very unique in the track world. Having one school's men's and women's teams do it in the same year is even more so.

Princeton's accomplishment, in fact, marks the 19th time in Division I history that it's been done, and only nine schools have done it (BYU has done it a remarkable seven times). Princeton is the first Ivy League school to do so.

As an aside, TB didn't do the research on this one. Paul Carmany of Liberty, whose teams did it in the Big South last year, sent it along.

Still, TB didn't need Carmany's work to confirm what an amazing year it's been in track and field at Princeton.

The women swept all three Heps titles for the first time in 30 years. The Tigers put up 132 team points, 19 more than second-place Cornell in a field that was fairly competitive.

The men's side was a two-team event the whole way, as Princeton edged Cornell 197-186, followed by Brown in a distant third at 76 points. The championship was clinched on the final event, the 4x400 relay, where Princeton's team of Mike Eddy, Tom Hopkins, Ricky Kearney and Austin Hollimon won by more than two seconds over Cornell.

Both the men and women will send individuals on to compete in NCAA competition and for All-America honors, and it'll be interesting to follow that group, especially since Donn Cabral was the runner-up in the NCAA steeplechase last year, while Ashley Higginson finished third in the event among the women.

Still, whatever happens there, the track and field teams have already made history this year with their "double triple."

And, as Princeton has now tied the league record for championships in an academic year with 14 with a shot at a new record with the three rowing titles to be awarded, a huge part of that has come from the track and field program.

And their veteran coaches.

It can be a young person's world, college coaching.

On a day when two who've been around for awhile had to step aside, TB was happy to see that Peter Farrell and Fred Samara are still running at full speed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In 2003, Navy was 6-7, 1-4 in conference play. They lost to Air Force (unforgivable at Annapolis) and were blown out 17-3 by Hopkins (only slightly forgivable at Annapolis.) There were rumblings that Coach Meade's time at Navy had passed, and he should be let go. In 2004, Navy defeated the Tigers in the quarterfinals and lost by a goal to Syracuse in the National Championship game.

Bad move by Navy. Few men were ever more perfect for the institution they coached at than Richie Meade and Navy. Good luck Coach Meade...