Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Rooting Interests

If you're looking for good career advancement opportunities, you could do worse than be the offensive coordinator under Bob Surace.

Consider the first two who have held that position at Princeton. First, there was James Perry, who went from being Princeton's OC to being the head coach at Bryant and now at Brown, his alma mater.

TigerBlog saw Perry at the Ivy Football Association dinner last week and said congratulations. He'll be an easy guy to root for - unless he's either playing against Princeton or if Princeton needs Brown to lose. Otherwise, it'll be easy to root for him.

Then there's Perry's replacement, Sean Gleeson. After helping Surace build the highest scoring offense in Ivy history and going 10-0 this year, Gleeson is off to Oklahoma State as the offensive coordinator.

This is a pretty wild accomplishment. That's Oklahoma State, as in the Big 12, as in the Power Five. As in recently beat Missouri 38-33 in the Liberty Bowl.

That's a big jump from the Ivy League. And it shows you a few things. First, it shows that the Princeton offensive explosion in recent years hasn't gone unnoticed on the national landscape. Second, it shows the respect that Surace has as well.

Princeton football has won three Ivy League titles in the last six years, and the Tigers have averaged 37 points per game in that time, which also corresponds to the six years that Gleeson was on the staff. That's pretty good stuff.

If you want to read the Oklahoma State website story on the Gleeson hire, you can read it HERE.

TigerBlog wishes Gleeson luck. He'll root for OSU in the Big 12 now.

It's either interesting or understandable how many of TigerBlog's allegiances to teams are driven by former Princetonians who play or coach there and then how they change when that Princeton connection changes. The most obvious example of this is Georgetown men's basketball, with whom TB lived and died while John Thompson III was the coach and now whom TB roots against every time the Hoyas play.

There's also the Ottawa Senators, who were TB's favorite team until they got rid of former Princeton goalie Mike Condon. If, say, Max Veronneau or Ryan Kuffner or Josh Teves is in the NHL next year, TB would root for that team, regardless of who it is.

TigerBlog can also root for the Penn State women's hockey team, coached by Princeton alum and former women's head coach Jeff Kampersal. Except for tonight of course.

Kampersal and the Nittany Lions are in Princeton tonight (puck drops at 6) to take on the Tigers at Hobey Baker Rink. That's the fourth-ranked Princeton Tigers by the way.

TB tried to think of the last time a former Princeton head coach came back to Princeton to coach against the Tigers in any sport. Guy Gadowsky has coached the Penn State men against Princeton in State College and at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia but never at Baker Rink.

There has to be someone obvious that TB is overlooking, right? Not women's basketball. Not men's basketball.

He can tell you the next time it'll happen. That would be March 26, when Bill Tierney and Denver come back to Princeton in men's lacrosse. TB presumes he'll mention that game again at some point before it's played.

Princeton hasn't played since Jan. 12, when it tied Colgate 4-4 one night after beating Cornell 5-0. Princeton hasn't lost since October, when it dropped a pair of games to No. 1 Wisconsin to open the season. Since then Princeton is 13-0-5, a program-record for longest unbeaten streak.

When TB last looked at the ECAC women's hockey standings, Princeton was 10 points up on second-place Cornell. Since then, Cornell has gone 4-0-0, adding eight points and pulling within two of the Tigers.

After tonight's Union-RPI game, every team in the ECAC will have played 14 league games, with four weekends of two games each remaining. The top four teams will host an opening round series, and the highest remaining seed will host the league's semifinals and championship game.

Princeton has never hosted the championship weekend, and it's hardly a certainty that the Tigers will this year. Still, Princeton enters the stretch drive in first place.

Princeton is 11-0-3 in the league, for 25 points. Cornell is next with 23, followed by Clarkson at 22 and then Colgate with 18. The fifth place team is now St. Lawrence, with 16, which means that no team hasn't clinched a home first-round series yet.

The Tigers get back into the league race this weekend at home against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and then there is a trip to Brown/Yale, a home weekend against Union/RPI and then a trip to Clarkson/St. Lawrence.

The close race means that every game is huge. 

The game tonight doesn't impact the ECAC standings. It's a chance for the Tigers to get back on the ice - and for an old friend to come back to the rink in which he played and coached.

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