Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 1

TigerBlog was thinking back to all the bosses he's had in his life.

There haven't been many. Fewer than 10 at least. That's what happens when you basically have two jobs in the last 31 years.

Most of his career has been spent reporting to one of two bosses, actually. One was Jim Gauger, the former sports editor of the Trenton Times. TigerBlog would describe Gauger has amiable and lanky.

Actually, he'd say that Gauger did a lot for TB, giving him an opportunity to cover high school football a long, long time ago when TB had never written a story before and then sending him out on the college beat six years later, a move that first brought TB to Princeton.

For the last 20 years, of course, TigerBlog's boss has been Gary Walters. Well, that's not actually true. It depends on how your define the boss.

For the first eight of those years, TB reported directly to Kurt Kehl, who oversaw the Office of Athletic Communications back then. After that, when he became the head of the OAC, TB reported to Inge Radice, the Senior Associate AD for Finance and Administration before eventually reporting directly to Gary.

Speaking of Inge's position, its current inhabitant, Chris Brock,  and his wife Alexis celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter, over the weekend. Mazel tov to the Brock family.

Meanwhile, the main boss here had been Gary for all the time that TigerBlog worked here, from his first day until this past June 30, when he officially stepped aside.

TigerBlog adds a new boss today. Here at Princeton, today is Day 1 of the Mollie Marcoux era, as the 1991 Princeton grad - a former hockey and soccer player and student-worker in the OAC - takes over as the new Ford Family Director of Athletics.

Mollie becomes the first boss TB has had who is younger than he is, which says something about the nature of the way the world works, sort of like when you realize that you're older than a few professional athletes and then half of them and then eventually all of them.

Mollie becomes the fifth person to hold the title of Director of Athletics since the position was formalized in 1941. It wasn't until 1937 that the athletic department existed as a University entity; prior to that, it was an independent association with a separate board to oversee its functions. Going way back, there were no coaches, just team captains who ran each sport's show.

Asa Bushnell was the head of the last head of the board of the athletic association and the first person to oversee athletics when it became absorbed by the University, but his title was never actually "Director of Athletics."

The first person to hold that distinction was Ken Fairman, who served as actual Director of Athletics from 1941 through 1973, a 32-year tenure that was interrupted by Fairman's service in World War II (during which time Howard Stepp was acting AD).

Royce Flippen was AD from 1973-79 for the shortest tenure by an AD here, and the Robert Myslik took over from 1979 until Gary arrived in 1994.

That makes the average tenure of Mollie's four predecessors 18.3 years, with the shortest stay of six years and the longest of 34. History, at least, suggests that Mollie has a very good chance to be TB's last boss.

So now that it is Day 1, the question is what happens now?

Mollie's hiring was announced on April 15, or 3.5 months ago. Since then, she's transitioned into the role, but now she's here full time.

It's a time of great excitement and uncertainty here. What will her direction be? What will her management style be? What will her priorities be?

For her part, Mollie is stepping into the leadership role of an organization with a great legacy of success and a fairly well-established staff on the administrative and coaching end. One thing TB always said about Gary was that he came into the same type of situation and didn't just adopt a "don't rock the boat" philosophy. Instead, he basically tore it all down and built it back up in his image.

Is that what Mollie will do?

There are many unknowns right now, and they won't be answered today. Not in the least. Today is Day 1, the first day in what TB hopes is a long and successful tenure here.

Princeton is getting an AD with energy, personality, drive, competitiveness, creativity, intelligence.

What, you expected TigerBlog to rip his new boss? Not on her first day.

Besides, everything TB says about her is true.

He wishes her luck. 

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