Thursday, December 26, 2019

Subtle, But Constant

How was your Christmas?

TigerBlog hopes it was a great one. And now that it's over, you can look ahead to the New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and the start of a brand-new decade.

It will soon be 2020. Has it really been 20 years since it seemed like the biggest care in anyone's world was whether or not computers were going to revolt at midnight of Y2K?

As TB mentioned two days ago, he read a story that asked experts in a bunch of fields to make their predictions about the coming 10 years and what might change and what might stay the same. The question was asked in all kinds of fields, from technology to food production and consumption to transportation to health and so on.

The article he read made it seem like the coming 10 years are going to convert the world from where it is now into the stuff of 1970s science fiction and how it saw the world 50 years down the line.

Is that what is really in store? 

This all got TB to thinking back to the last 10 years in Princeton Athletics, and then the 10 years to come.

At its most basic level, does Princeton Athletics as 2020 rolls around bear much resemblance to Princeton Athletics in 2010? What's changed? What's stayed the same?

On its surface, not much is different.

Princeton won 117 Ivy League titles from 2000 through 2009. No other Ivy school came close to 100.

Princeton won 116 Ivy League titles from 2010-today. No other Ivy school came close to 100.

The school colors are still orange and black. The nickname is still Tigers.

If you're looking for the biggest moments in Princeton Athletics history, you probably need to go to the 1950s, when the Ivy League was formalized, and the 1970s, when women first competed for the Tigers. Beyond that, change is subtle, but it's also constant.

When you look at history in terms of 10-year groupings, it's sometimes hard to remember how things stood a decade earlier. For instance, on Jan. 1, 2010, Princeton had never been to the NCAA women's basketball tournament and Bob Surace had never coached a game as Princeton football coach.

Today? There are eight women's NCAA tournaments hanging from the Jadwin Gym banners and Surace has won three Ivy League championships. There are all kinds of stories like that.

The biggest changes, as far as TB is concerned, have come off the field.

On Jan. 1, 2010, Mollie Marcoux Samaan was working at Chelsea Piers. She is now in her sixth year as Ford Family Director of Athletics.

During this decade, Princeton Athletics has seen major changes related to student-athlete support, fundraising (especially the advent of TAGD), communications and marketing and especially what can be termed "performance science," among many other areas.

There have been major changes in facilities, in branding, in graphic design, in staffing. On a simple level, of the 14 people who work in external relations now, only three were here on Jan. 1, 2010.

The world of athletic communications has completely evolved in the last 10 years. The Princeton Athletics Twitter feed was in its total infancy a decade ago; today social media is a driving force in reaching all of Princeton's constituencies, including alums, friends, current athletes and their families and especially recruits.

The use of video has also skyrocketed, to the point where the H.G. Levine Broadcast Center has opened this year to take multimedia to a whole different level.

These are things that were unimaginable 10 years ago. Princeton Athletics has continued to modernize, if that's a good way of putting it.

Of course, the story that TB read the other day also asked what hasn't changed.

The answer to that is simple. Princeton Athletics is still driven by the same basic core values, including giving the athletes the best possible undergraduate experience they can have, focusing on the educational and co-curricular benefits of intercollegiate athletic competition (Education Through Athletics) and impressing on the athletes who compete here that they are part of something more than just their own careers and their teams (Achieve, Serve, Lead).

So what's next? What is coming for the next 10 years?

That's trickier. That's one that TB is going to need to think about for awhile.

In the meantime, like he said, he hopes everyone had a great Christmas.

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