Thursday, March 22, 2018

Hey Coach Fogarty, What's Up With Your Tie?


The Princeton men's hockey team is in no position to dwell too long on its stunning run to the ECAC championship.

There will be plenty of time for that later. For now, there is the looming NCAA tournament, which begins for the Tigers Saturday at 3:30 against Ohio State.

Princeton is the No. 4 seed in the Midwest. Ohio State is the No. 1 seed. Daunting? Yes, though each of the last seven years, a No. 4 has beaten a No. 1.

So yes, there is way too much to be done now to worry about last weekend.

Unless you're a fan. If you're just a fan, like TigerBlog is, then you have some time to remember what Princeton did last weekend in Lake Placid.

TigerBlog's colleague John Bullis followed the men's hockey team last weekend and did a great job of letting you know what it was like to be there. He also took you inside the locker room for head coach Ron Fogarty's talks to the team.

You can see them all on the men's hockey page on HERE'S the one from the semifinal win over Cornell, complete with the mic'd up head coach, and HERE'S the one from the championship game win over Clarkson.

They're really good. The championship game one seems almost fictional - the underdog trying to hold on, only to give up the goal with less than 10 seconds left to tie it and go to overtime. And then, just when all seemed lost, there's the game-winning goal and the celebration.

Must be something about that building.

One thing TigerBlog noticed is that Fogarty, immediately after the winning goal in OT, ripped off his tie. Does he even realize he did that? Does he hate wearing a tie?

The videos capture all of the emotions of the weekend, from the fun the team had curling and visiting the Olympic museum to the seriousness of the games themselves. And the compete exuberance of the championship itself.

Bullis, if you didn't know it, was the creative talent behind the recently completed "Hard Cuts" series about a season with Princeton men's basketball.

TigerBlog recently did the final podcast of the 2017-18 women's basketball season with head coach Courtney Banghart. In all TB and Banghart did a podcast each week except for one - during first-semester exam break - since Nov. 8, for a total of 19 podcasts.

They were a lot of fun.

TigerBlog went back and listened to the beginning of the first one. He feels like he established the tone early on with his first question for Banghart, which was this: "What do you think of the name 'The Court Report?' "

Hard-hitting, no?

Her response was that she liked it, though she also would have been happy with "Off The Court."

The podcast with Courtney was the second for TigerBlog. The first was "The Princeton Laxcast," which he started last year with head coach Matt Madalon and continues to do this year as well.

The point is to allow the coach to speak directly to the team's fans and supporters. TB never prepares in advance for any of it with either coach, preferring to let the conversation just flow naturally. His biggest criticism of himself is that he sometimes talks over them; he'll try to dial that back.

He tries to ask questions that take you inside the mind, to how coaches think. They're an interesting group, coaches, and it's fascinating to try to see how their minds work compared to those who just watch the games for fun.

TB feels like the comment that was left yesterday sort of picks up on that:
TB, I was pleased to hear in "The Court Report" that Coach Banghart and you will be continuing the podcast during the offseason. The two of you have interesting thoughts to share beyond the games of the week and I'm sure that I speak for many fans when I say that I look forward to the offseason episodes. Indeed, often the details of the games of the week are the least interesting topics of any coach's radio or television show. Broader subjects such as this week's discussion about UConn's impact on the women's game are more thought-provoking. I encourage you to pursue more of these. 

With the end of the women's basketball season, the podcasts will no longer be done on a weekly basis. Instead, there will be a few episodes of "The Court Report" throughout the off-season, probably one per month. Those will be a really good opportunity to show that coaching is a year-round thing.

In fact, TigerBlog still has people who ask him if the coaches' jobs are full-time. He has to laugh at that.

Every now and then, TigerBlog goes back in his mind to when he first started out at Princeton and what it was like. And how much it has changed. He's said many times that he probably would have left a long time ago if the profession had not done a 180 degree change.

Now the challenge is to constantly find new ways to be creative, new ways to get the word out, new ways to take the people interested in Princeton Athletics inside what goes on here.

The videos and the podcasts are an example of that.

The challenge is always what's next.

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