Friday, May 20, 2016

High Honors, For Kim And Others

TigerBlog stepped back in time yesterday.

There he was, at the last of the department staff meetings for 2015-16, and there was Gary Walters, Ford Family Director of Athletics emeritus at the podium speaking.

It was like the scene in the wildly underrated "Godfather Part III." You know. "Just when I thought I was out ... they pull me back in."

And yeah, TigerBlog called the movie "wildly underrated." If there had only been "III" and not "I" or "II," then people would consider "III" one of the greatest movies ever made.

That's TigerBlog's thought anyway. It is a great movie on its own.

Meanwhile, back at Gary, he was at the staff meeting yesterday to help the current AD, Mollie Marcoux, announce the Lorin Maurer Award for 2016.

Lorin, for those who don't know, was killed in a plane crash outside of Buffalo back in 2009, when she was the Athletic Friends' group coordinator here. She was just past her 30th birthday when she died.

The award that bears her name is given to a member of the Department of Athletics who "best reflects the passion, dedication and infectious enthusiasm that defined Lorin Maurer's character and her inspiring impact on colleagues and friends."

This year's winner was Kim Meszaros, whose title is, well, TigerBlog doesn't really know what her title is. He does know that it doesn't matter what her title is or job description says.

She does basically everything around here to keep the place - and its AD - running smoothly. First with Gary. Now with Mollie.

And that's why it was so nice to have both of them - and Kim's husband Greg - there yesterday to salute Kim, who was probably embarrassed by the whole thing. The entire department gave her a standing ovation.

It wasn't the first award for Kim, who previously won the University's prestigious President's Award. That award goes "to recognize members of the support and administrative staffs with five or more years of service whose dedication, excellent work and special efforts have contributed significantly to the success of their departments and the University."

TigerBlog wanted to start out today by offering his congratulations to Kim.

Also part of yesterday's meeting was a salute to the Princeton coaches who were named Ivy League Coach of the Year this spring. There were three names on the list - women's open rowing coach Lori Dauphiny, women's tennis coach Laura Granville and women's track and field coach Peter Farrell.

During the meeting, TB sent a text to Mollie telling her that while the meeting was in progress, two other coaches had also been named Ivy Coach of the Year. Only one of them was at the mandatory meeting.

That one was Scott Bradley, the baseball coach. Bradley took his team from the worst record in the Ivy League a year ago to the Ivy League championship this year.

Princeton had five first-team All-Ivy League baseball players as well. That's the most the team has had since 2000.

You can read all about HERE.

The other Coach of the Year was Lisa Van Ackeren, the softball coach. Her team, which also won the Ivy League championship, had two first-team All-Ivy League selections, including Kaylee Grant, the first Princeton freshman softball player in 10 years to be first-team All-Ivy.

You can read all about that HERE.

Van Ackeren wasn't at the meeting, even though, as TB said, it's mandatory. She had an excused absence though.

Van Ackeren and the rest of the softball team is in Harrisonburg, Va., to open the NCAA tournament today at 4:30 against James Madison. The other two teams in the regional are Longwood and North Carolina.

You can read all about it HERE.

If you don't want to click on the link, TigerBlog can tell you that James Madison is 46-4. That's a pretty good record. That's the same record the Golden State Warriors had after 50 games this year.

The note that leaped off the page at TigerBlog is that James Madison has two pitchers who account for 235 2/3 innings - all but 12 the team played this year - and both have an ERA below 1.00.

Still, it's the NCAA tournament. Anything can happen in a short regional, and, in baseball and softball, it's double elimination.

The baseball selection show, when Princeton will find out where it's going in that tournament, will be on Memorial Day. When the show comes on,  TigerBlog will be at Lincoln Financial Field, for the NCAA men's lacrosse championship game.

This weekend is the lax quarterfinals. TigerBlog's pick a week ago to win it all, Denver, went out in Round 1 to Towson. His other three Final Four teams - Syracuse, Brown and North Carolina - all won, and he'll stay with them.

He'll also stay with what he's been saying. In fact, he'll quote himself from last week:
The team best built for a championship run is probably Brown, with the face-off man (Will Gural), goalie (Jack Kelly) and superstar (Dylan Molloy), as well as an outstanding, deep, veteran supporting cast and a somewhat unique style of play.

Certainly Brown looked the part of a champion last week against Hopkins. Next up for the Bears is Navy, who with its defense and goalie has as good a chance as anyone to slow Brown down.

The quarterfinal is a tough round in the tournament, with the reward of the Final Four trip out there. Navy cannot play from behind against Brown, so the first quarter of this one will be important.

The Towson-Loyola game is a toss up, and both have looked really good of late. And maybe TB is selling Maryland a little short, since the Terps are No. 1 and haven't lost since March 5. TB just thinks Syracuse matches up well with Maryland, with its face-off man and settled goalie position. He'll be surprised if this game isn't a one- or two-goal game.

Whatever happens, TB will be there to see it up close, as he'll be in Providence for the doubleheader tomorrow.

With an eye on how Princeton is doing in softball.

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