Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ford Family Director Of Athletics Mollie Marcoux

The Office of Athletic Communications in Jadwin Gym used to extend further back then it does now, into a back room that is now the office of men's basketball coach Mitch Henderson.

It's the OAC that TigerBlog first walked into a quarter century ago, the one with the little office to the side, behind the printer, which itself sat back by in spot off to the right, wedged in along with shelves loaded with binders, old photos, paper, cardstock and anything else that people couldn't figure out where to put.

Straight ahead as you entered the back room were desks that snaked around the area. To the left were file cabinets, old green ones, probably purchased in the 1940s.

That back room was part office, part playroom. He can still see Kurt Kehl, then the OAC's director, arms raised in triumph, as he hit a nerf ball with a plastic club to win another round of OAC golf.

It was in that room that TigerBlog, then still in the newspaper business, used to pull out his radio shack word processor and write stories about the Trenton State College football luncheon while waiting for a Princeton game to start or a Princeton athlete to come by to be interviewed.

It was in that room that he first began to know the people - and the culture - of Princeton Athletics.

It was in that room that he first met one of his all-time favorite Princeton athletes, Mollie Marcoux.

This was back in, what, 1989. Mollie was a student-worker in the OAC, not to mention a fierce soccer and hockey player. TigerBlog is pretty sure that Bob Surace was the first Princeton athlete that he ever wrote about; Mollie Marcoux might very well have been the first female Princeton athlete he ever wrote about.

Certainly she was one of the first he got to know outside of the athletic arena, as she was a fixture back then in OAC. She was a down-to-earth, friendly, easy-going college student.

And there were the Surace and Marcoux yesterday, the two of them, one the head football coach and the other being introduced as the next Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton.

Mollie Marcoux will be the fifth person to hold the title of Director of Athletics at Princeton and like her four predecessors, she is a Princeton alum. Unlike her four predecessors, she will be the first woman to be the AD at Princeton.

And that speaks volumes about the University.

When TigerBlog's alma mater named a non-alum as its new athletic director, TB's first thought was that he couldn't imagine that the new AD at Princeton would be a non-alum. And he was right.

At her press conference yesterday, Mollie was asked one question about being the first woman AD at Princeton, and it was really a non-issue, other than the historical nature of the moment. Had she not been a Princetonian, though, TB imagines that more than one question on the subject would have been raised.

Mollie Marcoux is as Princetonian as it gets.

She came to Princeton from her hometown of Ithaca, and she made immediate impacts in soccer and hockey, earning her a place in, of all places, Rolling Stone magazine, which came to Princeton to do a feature on top women athletes of the time. Mollie's picture appeared on the page opposite then-Florida State volleyball player Gabrielle Reece.

She graduated cum laude from Princeton. She wrote her senior thesis on women's athletics. And she worked in the OAC. What could be better?

In the 24 hours leading up to today's announcement, TigerBlog heard so many people guarantee so many different people would be the next AD that it got to be comical. It's definitely him. It's definitely not him. It's a woman. It's a man. Every person swore up and down that the source was in the know.

In the end, the first TB heard of the name of his new boss was when he clicked on the release from the communications office to put on just before she was introduced on the main floor of Jadwin.

TB's reaction? He smiled, and went immediately back to the back room at Jadwin, and to the stories he'd written about her through the years. He texted the news to Kurt, who has spent 12 years working with the Washington Capitals and Wizards and who used the same word to describe her that TB had already used to a few former colleagues - awesome.

Kurt also related the story of the photo shoot from Rolling Stone, which was done on a frozen Lake Carnegie, which almost unfroze because of a generator that nearly melted the ice and sent Mollie into the water.

TigerBlog remembered writing about Mollie for the PVC News when she first had started on Chelsea Piers, in the marketing department, as he recalls. She worked her way up to executive vice president and executive director, with hundreds of people working under her.

And there she was yesterday, coming back to Princeton, much like her predecessor Gary Walters did 20 years ago.

She spoke with passion in her introductory remarks about all the things that make Princeton and Princeton Athletics so special and about how she's honored to be back to lead those efforts. She smiled and laughed. She talked about the coaches and how much she's looking forward to working with them.

She conveyed - oozed - a love of Princeton Athletics, and that's requirement No. 1 for this position. Her energy and charisma were obvious to everyone who had come to meet her, from coaches and athletics staff to student athletes to media members, and it resonated with everyone.

At one point, TigerBlog walked up to her, unsure if she'd remember him. Instead, she smiled, said his name and gave him a hug.

He took that as a sign that he hasn't changed much in 25 years.

Mollie Marcoux has. She's no longer a college student. Her job at Princeton is no longer updating records and clipping newspapers in the OAC.

It's running the athletic department, and that's not an easy task.

TigerBlog is excited to work with her. For her, actually.

It will be interesting, that's for sure. TigerBlog started at Princeton on the same day as Gary Walters, and very few people who work in the Department of Athletics have been there longer than TB, which means that very few have been through an athletic director change before.

That's still a few months away though.

Yesterday was about meeting the new AD, forming first impressions, getting a sense of who will be taking over this summer.

Or, in TigerBlog's case, remembering the first impression that was formed all those years ago, the impression that this was a young woman destined for great things, a young woman whose destiny has brought her all the way back to that same building, ready now to lead that department for the foreseeable future.


Unknown said...

Alright! Go Molly!

-Bill Petty '91

Chris Edwards said...

Great post TB... has it really been 20 years? Wishing our new AD the best. -- From a Class of 1988 Member

Unknown said...

Wonderful hire! Good luck Molly!

Steve Roberts '90

Poppy said...

Mollie - your teammates are proud, congrats!

Poppy said...

Mollie - your teammates are proud! congrats and go tigers

Unknown said...

Awesome Molly! So happy for you and Princeton.

- Eric Barnes '90

Unknown said...

Congrats Molly! So happy for you and for Princeton.

- Eric Barnes '90

Derek said...

Great hire for Princeton! Congrats Molly and best of luck in the role. Go '91 !

- Mark Donovan '90 said...

Fantastic news! Congrats Molly. Go Tigers!

- Mark Donovan '90