Tuesday, February 28, 2012

33 Championships

TigerBlog saw an interview the Sunday with Carl Edwards, the NASCAR driver, before the Daytona 500 was postponed by rain.

Edwards was wearing a pair of jeans and a button down shirt, one with a sponsor logo on it. He looked all the world like another fan showing up for the race, not one of the people who was going to get into his car and fly around the track.

TB has never been a huge fan of auto racing, though he's not anti-auto racing either. It's just that it seems like it's a huge investment of time to watch a race, and who knows, some sports just stick and others don't.

As an aside, did you see the reaction of the bowling guy when he won his fifth U.S. Open and completely lost it?

Anyway, TigerBlog has always wondered how a race car driver can drive to the track, race for 500 miles and speeds around 200 miles per hour and then drive the speed limit on the way out.

Doesn't it have to seem like they're not going anywhere? After that, driving 35 mph has to seem like going backward or something.

TB used to watch the Indy 500 as much as he could, and he'd probably watch some of the Daytona 500 most years, though he didn't this year.

Actually, he's not even sure what happened to Edwards in the race. Nor does he really care that much.

When it comes to getting quickly around a track this weekend, he was much more interested in the Ivy League Heptagonal championships.

On the men's side, Princeton won the indoor title, giving the athletic program seven Ivy League champions to date this academic year.

For the record, Princeton has now won Ivy titles in 2011-12 in: men's cross country, field hockey, men's fencing, women's fencing, women's basketball, men's squash and now men's indoor track and field.

The men's indoor track and field title was the second straight indoors for Princeton and, among the three running sports, Princeton men's fifth straight.

And for head coach Fred Samara?

Well, TigerBlog started to wonder how many Ivy League titles that made for the head coach of the men's track and field team. Now in his 35th year at Princeton, Samara hasn't always been the head coach of cross country - Steve Dolan, for instance, is now the head coach there - so TB didn't count the ones that Princeton has won when Samara wasn't technically the head coach.

TB counted them up on the Ivy League website, and then he figured he'd ask Samara if he knew how many he had.

Off the top of his head, Samara wasn't quite sure.

So what did he do? He opened his drawer and pulled out a piece of letterhead that listed Ivy titles on it. Except he had shortchanged himself by a few outdoor titles.

Anyway, here's your Fred Samara Ivy title scorecard:

outdoor track and field - 17
indoor track and field - 13
cross country - 3 (remember, Princeton has won way more than that; this only counts the ones where he was the head coach)

Add it up, and it comes to 33 Ivy League championships as a head coach.

Let TB repeat that: Fred Samara has won 33 Ivy League championships as a head coach.

TB didn't add up every coach in every sport, but he has to think that the list of coaches who have won more than that is very small, if anyone. In fact, it's possible that Samara ranks No. 1.

Yes, he has the advantage of having coached a sport that competes twice and sometimes for him three times a year. Still, that's an incredible record of success, consistent success.

And with the spring coming up, that could be No. 34.

Even if it stays at No. 33, TigerBlog promises to have looked it up by then and to report back if anyone has ever won anymore.

Either way, 33 titles? That's an insane amount.


Brian McD said...

Fred's record is incredible and Princeton is fortunate to count him among our many distinguished and successful long serving coaches. I believe that Fred and head swim coach Rob Orr both came to Princeton in the fall of 1979 and this is also Rob's 33rd year. During those 33 years, Rob's teams have had a record of success that one could argue is equal to or even a bit more impressive than that achieved by Fred and his great teams. Determining Ivy championships in Swimming and Diving is not as neat and tidy because until 2008, the championship meet included other teams, most notably Army and Navy, in addition to the eight Ivy League schools. Since Rob arrived at Princeton, his teams have won the Eastern/Ivy championship meet 14 times in 32 years - the 33rd championship meet will be held this Thurs-Sat in DeNunzio Pool. If one only counts the years after he had recruited four classes of his own athletes, the total is 14 in 28 years. If one asked the question slightly differently, and asks how many times Rob and his teams have won or shared either the championship meet or the Ivy League dual meet title the answer is an amazing 24 times in 33 years and 23 times in the 29 years since he had recruited all four classes. Now, Rob being Rob, he would say that his main achievement was not messing things up and he would give huge credit to Diving Coach Greg Gunn, who joined the program ~22 years ago and has recruited and trained some sensational divers who have played a critical role in this record of success.

Brian McD said...

My bad - I see that Fred has a couple of years on Rob. Princeton is lucky to have both of these guys, as well as Pete Farrell and Bob Callahan, each of whom has 30+ years at Princeton. If I'm counting correctly, Chris Sailer, Susan Teeter and Greg Gunn all have more than 20 years of service as head coaches and Gail Ramsay and Julie Shackford must be approaching 20.