Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nice To See You Again

TigerBlog was in a restaurant yesterday in Madison, about an hour north of Princeton.

As he put the finishing touches on his New York strip steak wrap with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese, TB happened to glance out the window onto Main Street, which, in Madison, is an old-fashioned Main Street with restaurants and old-fashioned shops.

Anyway, as TB glanced outside, he saw a man walk by who at first glance looked familiar and at second glance turned out to be Mark Panus, who was the person that TB replaced when he first started working here at Princeton.

During TB's five years of covering Princeton in his newspaper days, Panus was the sport contact for football, men's basketball and men's lacrosse. TB would take over those sports and be their contact for the next eight years, which featured between them 17 Ivy League championships during that time.

Panus' title was Director of Sports Media Relations, which would also be TigerBlog's first title here. His current title, as an aside, is the ninth different title he's had here.

TigerBlog still has Panus' old Rolodex on his shelf, and though it's been years since he's actually looked at it, he keeps it around for old times sake.

Panus worked with Kurt Kehl, who brought TB to Princeton and for whom TB took over when Kehl left to go to work for the Washington Capitals.

Steve DiGregorio, who was an assistant football coach here at the time, refers to the Kehl/Panus days as "the golden age of Princeton athletic communications." Of course, what was done here then and what is done here now are hardly the same profession, and TB much prefers the current way of doing business.

Still, Panus and Kehl ran a great office, and TB's memories of covering football, basketball and lacrosse in those days are filled with a lot of laughs and good times.

TigerBlog chased Panus up Main Street and learned that Panus was on his way to the vacuum cleaner store, which required TB to go past a Christmas store, a hair-dresser, a Carvel and a few other stores that bring up connotations of Main Streets gone by.

TB and Panus spoke for a few minutes before each had to go their separate ways, and it was great to catch up.

The meeting in the restaurant that brought TB to Madison was of the College Athletic Administrators of New Jersey and its executive board. The board made some positive decisions in the name of growing the organization a bit, and TB is excited to see how it all plays out.

In case you were wondering, there are 43 four-year and two-year colleges in the state of New Jersey, and five league offices - including the Ivy League office - are located here as well.

Speaking of the Garden State, the two best women's basketball teams in the state of New Jersey meet here at Jadwin Gym tonight, as Princeton plays host to Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights lead the all-time series 15-3, and the last meeting between the two was two years ago in Piscataway, where Princeton fell 54-53 when RU scored the game-winner with four seconds left. TigerBlog was at the game, and Rutgers should have been called for a turnover on an inbounds just before the winning hoop, but hey, that happens.

The teams meet again after their year off last year. It's a shame they didn't play in the 2011-12 season, since Princeton had the best team it's had in program history, not to mention one that would have had a strong senior class looking for payback from the 2010-11 game.

That class - 1,000-point scorers Devona Allgood and Lauren Edwards and Laura Johnson - will be back at Jadwin Gym tonight for the raising of the 2012 Ivy League championship banner.

And to see how the current blend of Tigers, who start four seniors - including Niveen Rasheed, the greatest player in program history- and get great off-the-bench support from the freshman class, can do against their in-state rivals.

Much like seeing Mark Panus yesterday, it'll be nice to see them again. And to see another edition of Princeton-Rutgers.

No comments: