John Cornell was one of two people who ever held the position of "publications coordinator" here in the OAC.
The first was a young man named Mike Zulla, who started here as an intern and then became the first publications coordinator. When he left, Cornell came in from the Naval Academy to become the second.
After Cornell's tenure was up, TigerBlog changed the position, which was something of a luxury at the time, back to a more traditional athletic communications one. Now, looking at how few publications are still done around here, the thought of having a position devoted completely to printed pieces is something completely antiquated.
Zulla, who married former fencer and von Kienbusch Award winner Caitlin Rich, used to write on the dry erase board (which also no longer exists) what his whereabouts would be if he had to be out of the office. To this day, TB can still see "Z at dentist" written in huge letters across the white background.
As for Cornell, he came from Navy, as TB said, and spent his first week at Princeton simply walking around the office giving his opinion on basically any and all subject, though he managed to pull this off in a somewhat charming way, which is no easy feat.
At one point, Cornell did some diet where it was okay to eat three cheese dogs at Wawa and the chicken/cheese lunch at Fridays but not an apple. And, somewhat stunningly, TB remembers that he lost weight through the process.
One of TB's favorite emails of all time is the one that Cornell wrote nine years ago this month entitled "Back in the Day." It starts out with "You know you worked in OAC in 2001-2002 if..."
TB just reread it, and once again it is hilarious. Among the entries:
-You can order Friday's without the menu
-You know all about Navy
-You know the difference between Yasser El Hallaby and Yariv Amir
-You hate Yale but you like Steve Conn and Tim Bennett
-You get there early to make sure you get Tuna
-You're sure the record book is updated
-You love Luis
-You've actually talked about squash at the water cooler
There are a ton of others, all of which are inside jokes. Steve Conn and Tim Bennett, for instance, are universally loved Yale's sports information people. Getting tuna means getting there early at the football luncheon to get a tuna sandwich before they were all gone. Yariv Amir works in the OAC; Yasser El Halaby is the greatest college squash player ever.
As for the record book, well, let's just say that anyone who was asked if their sports were updated replied "yes," even if the answer was really "not for the last few years."
There was another one that said: -When someone asks about John Thompson, you don't think about Georgetown Basketball. This, of course, was before John Thompson left Princeton to go to Georgetown.
Before he was at Navy, Cornell used to work at Post in Connecticut, which has to make him the only person to work at three of the eight sprint football playing schools.
Two of those three, Princeton and Navy, meet Saturday on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, with kickoff at 2.
It's a rare Saturday afternoon game for the sprint team, which almost always plays on Friday nights, something made impossible this week by the Princeton-Georgetown game, which will be Friday at 7 on ESPNU.
Princeton opened the season with a 23-16 loss to Mansfield Friday night. TB was at the men's soccer game and on his way to Princeton Stadium when Mansfield intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to clinch it.
As for Navy, well, TB went back to some of the recent scores in the series and noticed an interesting stat, though not a very good one.
Princeton has not scored a point against Navy since 2004. The Tigers have been outscored 400-0 in that time.
Why bring this up?
Well, because the Tigers appear to be a bit more competitive. Maybe hoping for a win Saturday might be a bit much, but measuring improvement might be possible based on the final score, especially if it doesn't end in "-0."
TB gives Steve Everette and his team a great deal of credit, for the optimism if nothing else.
One day, the Tigers will get a win. Hopefully it'll be this year. Maybe it won't be.
But there's no denying the courage it takes to keep trying, every week, for this team.