Monday, August 14, 2017

More Fred And Chris

The World Championships of Track and Field in London didn't end the way TigerBlog would have hoped for his two favorite athletes.

Usain Bolt and Robby Andrews, that is. Both the nine-time Olympic gold medalist and the Princeton assistant coach came up injured in their last races in London this past week.

TigerBlog isn't 100 percent sure what happened to Bolt. He just saw pictures of the Jamaican unable to finish the relay. If that's the way his career ends, so be it. He's still the greatest sprinter ever, and one of the most entertaining athletes TB has seen in any sport.

As for Andrews, he was running in the semifinals of the 1,500 when he pulled his calf. Had he kept going, he said, it would have torn completely.

TigerBlog very much hopes that this is just a small bump in the road for Andrews, who will be 29 in 2020, when hopefully he'll run again in the Olympics.

While on the subject of track and field, there was the story last week about how Princeton men's head coach Fred Samara will be inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2017. The ceremony will be in December in Phoenix.

Did you have the same reaction TigerBlog did, because this is what his original thought was: Wait, Fred Samara wasn't already in the U.S. track and field coaches hall of fame?

Samara has coached Princeton to 41 Ivy League Heptagonal championships. He's coached 200 outdoor Heps champions and 229 indoor Heps champs, not to mention NCAA champions and Olympians.

He has coached Princeton to seven - seven - Heps "Triple Crowns," winning the cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field championships in the same year. You know who besides Fred has done it even once?


A former Olympic decathlete himself, Samara has run a program that has won big on the track, while also producing an army of loyal, dedicated, successful alums. He does all this with humility and class, with a philosophy of recruiting the right kinds of young men and then working hard to achieve the high goals that he sets.

Actually, the same is true of another Princeton coaching icon, Chris Sailer, the women's lacrosse coach. Also like Fred, Chris Sailer has recently learned of a major career honor.

Chris is already a U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame member, the result of a career that has seen her lead Princeton to three NCAA championships, 11 Final Fours, 24 NCAA tournaments and 13 Ivy League championships.

She has guided the team to three NCAA championships, 11 national semifinal appearances, 23 NCAA tournament appearances and 12 Ivy League titles.

The U.S. Lacrosse national headquarters is located outside of Baltimore. It is already the home of William G. Tierney Field, named for Bill Tierney, the men's coach at Princeton for 22 of the 32 years that Sailer has been the women's coach.

Late last week, U.S. Lacrosse announced that the walking path at the national headquarters will be named Chris Sailer Trail. The dedication ceremony will be held Oct. 21, when Princeton plays on Tierney Field as part of a four-team fall event.

From the story:
"In addition to leading her teams to great success on the field, Chris Sailer has been a tremendous advocate and representative of the sport during her career," said Steve Stenersen, CEO of US Lacrosse. "We're delighted and proud to recognize her at our facility."

The Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association will also be honoring 11 former women's lacrosse coaches "to celebrate as trailblazers of the game for their exceptional work advancing women's lacrosse and the coaching profession during the Title IX era."

When TigerBlog first met Chris Sailer, she was the head women's lacrosse coach and the assistant field hockey coach. Games were played on Gulick Field, if TB remembers correctly, a grass field with almost no stands there. It was elevated above Lourie-Love Field, the old soccer facility.

Sailer has been exactly what U.S. Lacrosse says - a tremendous advocate and representative of her sport. And she has the same for Princeton Athletics as well.

In a year of great moments in Princeton Athletics, you could make a very strong case that the best was the women's lacrosse NCAA tournament game against Cornell on Sherrerd Field. Princeton pulled out the game at the end, shortly after the skies opened up for a massive rainstorm. It made for a great on-field contest.

The other part that was great about it was the turnout of Princeton students, way more male than female, cheering wildly through the rain. That only added to the moment, and was a testament to Chris Sailer for the way she has built her program and helped to build her sport.

Any list of the greatest coaches in Princeton history has to include Fred Samara and Chris Sailer. Oh, and if you think they're slowing down at all, or losing any of their intensity?

Princeton won 11 Ivy titles the last academic year. Fred Samara and Chris Sailer brought home three of them.

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