Friday, July 31, 2020

Who Is YS?

TigerBlog has met YS Chi enough times to have come up with one word to best describe him.

That word?


Chi just oozes positivity in every conversation, whether it's in Jadwin Gym or on the phone from thousands of miles and a continent or two away. It's something innate for him, TB believes, and it's impossible to miss.

There are other words that describe him as well, of course.

He's generous. He's loyal. He's philanthropic. He's very, very Princetonian.

When you combine all of these things, it's not a surprise that he's made such amazing contributions to Princeton, and to Princeton Athletics. He's given in every way a person can, with his time, his donations, his enthusiasm.

Chi's latest contribution to Princeton is "The Chi Family Fund For Excellence And Inclusion," which was announced today. From the release:
Specifically, the gift will directly benefit Princeton's steadfast commitment to recruit, develop and retain coaches and administrators from broad and diverse backgrounds; create professional education programming that builds high performing employee teams that value diversity; and constantly foster a workplace in which all feel valued and supported to pursue their full potential and contribute their best.

This gift follows an earlier one that created the Chi/Ingram Endowment Fund, which "provides the Department of Athletics with supplemental funding for a team or teams whose coach or coaches demonstrate excellence in teaching and developing student-athletes not only as players but also as people"

The two gifts speak volumes about YS Chi.

They are investments in people. His commitment is to taking young people and helping them grow, giving them the foundation to reach their fullest potential. This involves mentoring them directly, something he's done countless times.

It also involves giving those who are in position to influence them - specifically Princeton's coaches and senior athletic administrators - the tools necessary to lead at the highest levels.

The fund for excellence and inclusion comes at an important time. Princeton Athletics has been taking steps and having major discussions in this area, and the department is fully committed to the work, something that YS is 100 percent behind.

So who is YS Chi?

He's a member of the Class of 1983 (the Chi/Ingram Fund is in conjunction with his classmate John Ingram). He has been very involved with the Friends of Princeton Golf, even going so far as to caddie for Tiger alum Kelly Shon in the U.S. Open.

He's also a leader in the media and technology industry.

In his primary role as Director of Corporate Affairs and Asia Strategy for RELX, he is responsible for government affairs, corporate communications and corporate responsibility. As non-executive Chairman of Elsevier, he works directly with governments, customers and in industry associations worldwide.

He has also recently served as chairman of the Association of American Publishers and is a past-president of the International Publishers' Association. He has also been a key part of dozens of charitable, educational and industry boards, beyond serving as a Princeton Trustee.

And he is as big a Princeton as there is, which begs a question: Was he an athlete during his time at Princeton?

The answer to that is that he was not.

YS stands 5-4, and, in his joking words, "was not built to be an athlete." But he's always loved sports.

He's loved the competition. He's loved the impact it's had on the people who compete. He's loved the way that sports and character and leadership are all connected.

He grew up playing sports, especially soccer, tennis, swimming and volleyball. He was good at all of them, not just great at any of them. While a Princeton student, he was in the stands for pretty much everything, any game he could attend to show support for his friends who happened to be playing.

In many ways, he reminds TB a bit of TB, who himself has always valued the athletic experience, who was very good but not great at a lot of different sports as a kid and who was never able to compete on the college level. As YS said, it's "an incredible social medium" to be part of a team, and TB has spent his career attempting to chronicle what that means to the people who are able to participate, for the people who could not.


He's made a different kind of impact, a more direct one. He's given in ways that most people cannot, and not just financially.

And the leaders and athletes at Princeton have been the beneficiaries. In a major way.

With the Chi Family Fund for Excellence and Inclusion, that legacy adds another chapter.

And the man who is making it happen is just a good old-fashioned, down-to-earth nice guy, on top of everything else.

That's what defines him. That, and his incredible positivity.

Princeton Athletics is much the better for it.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Trivia Day

TigerBlog finally got a chance to watch Season 8 of "Homeland," the final season in the series centered around an on-again, off-again CIA agent/asset/rogue warrior Carrie Matheson and her one-woman homeland security adventures.

Actually, before TB watched Season 8, he rewatched Seasons 1-7, just to remind himself of the series. If you've been reading TB for years and years, you'll remember that the show was a big part of the Sunday nights of the Princeton women's basketball team back nearly a decade ago when it started.

In fact, team manager Amanda Roman wrote a guest blog about how the team gathered to watch the season finale back in 2012. This is the how TB started his short intro of her piece:
The Princeton women's basketball team usually starts four seniors. It's another senior, one who comes off the bench, who has volunteered a guest TigerBlog to discuss the women's basketball team's obsession with "Homeland."

Not bad. Comes off the bench. The manager. Pretty good.

You can read her whole story HERE.

As he rewatched the series, TB concluded that Season 1 wasn't as incredibly great as he remembered and that Season 2-7 were much better than he remembered.

Then came Season 8, which was, he thinks, the best season start to finish. It's either that or Season 1, which while not being the best single season of anything he's ever seen is still thrilling.

"Homeland" did something that's really tough to do, and that's end a series on top of its game. If you've never seen it, you should definitely check it out.

It's one of the 10 best TB series TB has ever seen.

So now what?

It's trivia time.

Princeton basketball, between the men's and women's programs, has won the Ivy League Player of the Year award 20 times. That list of 20 includes one three-time winner and three two-time winners.

In all, there have been 15 different Princeton basketball players who have won the Ivy League Player of the Year award. How many of those can you name?

It took TigerBlog awhile to figure out the math on that one, but it adds up. There have been 11 players who on its once (so that's 11), and then a three-time winner (that takes it to 14) and the three two-time winners (which makes 20).

So the question requires 15 different names.

Oh what the heck.

TB will give you a whole day of trivia questions.

* Princeton had 11 players score a touchdown during the 2019 football season. How many can you name?

* Before the Coronavirus pandemic ended the hockey seasons, both the Princeton men and women won their last games, both in the ECAC playoffs, on overtime goals. Who scored the goals?

* Princeton has had five players between the men and women score overtime goals in NCAA championship lacrosse games. Name them.

* The two oldest individual outdoor men's track and field records were set  in 1982 and 1983 by the same athlete. Name him (extra credit for the events).

* One Princeton softball player has a career batting average of better than .400. Who is it? (Hint, she graduated in the 1980s).

* Who was the first Princeton men's soccer player to win the Ivy League Player of the Year award?

* Princeton has had 11 field hockey players who had at least 100 career points. Can you name them?

* Two Princeton women's volleyball players have reached at least 500 career kills. Name them?

* Who holds the Princeton baseball record for career home runs? Hint - it's not Mike Ford, who hit more last year with the Yankees than he did in his entire Princeton career. Second hint - the home run record holder also holds the record for most career punts by a Princeton football player, which is a relatively fascinating double.

So should TB give you the answers today? Nah, he'll give you a chance to answer them yourself.

If you can't wait, you can get all of the answers on

If you can get a perfect score on the questions, then you are a Princeton Athletics genius.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Happy 77th Birthday Bill Bradley

Today is the 29th, right?

TigerBlog has been all confused. He sent his BrotherBlog and Joe, the official TB brother-in-law, an anniversary greeting Monday. He thought it was nice of him to remember their special day.

Except Monday was the 27th. And their anniversary was the 28th, or yesterday.

TB actually realized his mistake before he heard back from either of them, so he sent a follow-up email correcting his mistake. It's from his newspaper days. You can always have a correction.

Actually, TB's favorite correction story from his own newspaper days came after the local high school tennis writer had made some sort of minor error. Hey, these things happen - and who is TB to say anything about an error when he doesn't even know what day it is?

Anyway, the editors were putting together the correction when one of them, possibly the single most cynical person TB has ever met - and 1) TB has met some cynical people and 2) this particular person is one of TB's all-time favorites - suggested this: "the paper regrets the tennis coverage."


Meanwhile, happy anniversary to BB and Joe. At least TB had the right week.

And one thing TB didn't realize is that his brother's anniversary came on the same day as the birthday of the greatest Princeton athlete of all-time.

Okay, you can make a case for a very, very small handful of others. Hobey Baker, for one, and his birthday was Jan. 15. Or Dick Kazmaier, born on Nov. 23.

In this case, TB was referring, of course, to Bill Bradley, who turned 77 years old yesterday. How did TB come to realize that it was Bradley's birthday?

He heard it on "Pardon The Interruption."

TB didn't even realize the sports talk show was back on the air until yesterday, when he saw it in the channel guide. It's his favorite sports talk show, especially with Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon together. It's not forced and there's no screaming. It's just informed discussion with some genuine humor mixed in, not the phony kind where everyone laughs at nothing.

Anyway, it's back on.

If you haven't seen it, the show starts with a list of the biggest topics of the day, and the duo spends two minutes or 90 seconds talking about them. There is one segment of that and then another, and then when the final break is over, Kornheiser says "Happy Time people" and then talks about something light, such as an anniversary or something like that.

Or, as was the case yesterday, a birthday.

TB was only half paying attention at the time, but it certainly got his attention.

The only part he didn't like was when Kornheiser said "Princeton?" with great shock when he mentioned that the Tigers reached the 1965 Final Four, led by Bradley.

Other than that, Kornheiser had great things to say about Bradley. He talked about his time with the Knicks, with whom he won two championships. He mentioned his time as a Rhodes Scholar and how he went on to become a three-term U.S. Senator from New Jersey.

He also said that he figured that one day he would have become President.

Of course Bradley is by far Princeton's all-time leading scorer in basketball with 2,503 career points. Actually he's the Ivy League's all-time leading scorer. And he has the 11 highest single-game scoring totals in Princeton history as well.

And, best of all, Kornheiser also mentioned John McPhee twice.

It was the magazine article about Bradley's senior year entitled "A Sense Of Where You Are" and the subsequent book of the same name that really launched McPhee's career. He and Bradley have stayed extremely close through the years.

And so it went from not realizing that "PTI" was back on the air to having a segment on Bill Bradley and then ultimately some quality air time for John McPhee.

How much better than that does it get?

And so happy 77th to Bill Bradley, one day later.

It is one day later, right? It's the 29th, right? So yesterday was the 28th?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Claire Thompson, Nominee

You want to see a great picture?

Check out the shot that accompanies the story on of the four Princeton women's hockey players who won the coaches' association scholar-athlete award.

Pretty artistic, right?

TB is a big fan of such pictures. He loves the pictures of helmets on the turf, looking up at the stadium behind. Or the ones of the sticks all lined up behind the bench. Or the close up of the starting block. Or the net of the goal.

Such pictures add great flavor to events, if they're done right. TB always appreciates when Princeton's photographers come back from a game with that sort of creativity, beyond just the game action itself.

By the way, the four players who were honored with the AHCA award were MacKenzie Ebel, Sharon Frankel, Claire Thompson and Sylvie Wallin. You can read the story HERE.

Also by the way, back on Dec. 3, 2018, TB wrote this after watching the Tigers defeat Quinnipiac 3-2 at Baker Rink:
TigerBlog knows very little about hockey, though he could tell from watching it that No. 4 on Princeton was very, very good. That turned out to be defenseman Claire Thompson, who was a calming influence who helped keep Quinnipiac off the board for those first 58 minutes. TB was impressed with how Thompson was playing, and that was before she scored Princeton's second and third goals of the night.

Some things are just obvious.

Thompson, by the way, turned out to be more "great" than just "very, very good," as an athlete and a student. The AHCA academic award was her third, and she's already won three ECAC academic awards, with one more to be announced. She has also been a multiple time Academic All-Ivy selection.

As a player, this is from a different release: She helped Princeton to two NCAA tournaments, the 2019 Ivy League title, and the 2020 ECAC tournament championship, and graduated as Princeton's fifth-leading all-time scorer among defensemen, with 87 points. She was a three-time All-ECAC honoree, including a first-teamer in 2019 and a 2020 ECAC all-tournament team member, and she was a three-time All-Ivy League pick, including first team in 2019. Thompson was selected for Canada's team at the 2020 IIHF World Women's Championships, though the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

That other release was the one announcing that she has been chosen as Princeton's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Throw in that she was an ecology and evolutionary biology major who graduated with high departmental honors, and it's easy to see why.

The Woman of the Year Award originated in 1991 to recognize female athletes who have an outstanding record in athletics, academics, service and leadership. There will be 30 finalists announced in August, and the winner will be chosen in the fall.

No Ivy League athlete has ever won it. The league takes all of the individual school nominees and chooses to advance one or two to the next round of evaluations. Of course, just being the institution's nominee is impressive enough, given that Princeton has about 100 or so female athletes in each class.

The award, as an aside, recognizes nominees from every NCAA school, regardless of division. Interestingly, in the last five years, the award has recognized two Power Five Conference athletes, one Division II athlete and two Division III athletes.

Award or not, Thompson had an incredible career on every level.

The last two years were among the best in the history of the women's hockey program. Princeton played in the 2019 NCAA tournament in Minnesota, and the Tigers followed that by winning the first ECAC championship in program history this past season.

The Tigers were primed to make a serious run at winning it all in this year's NCAA tournament when the championships were postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the last paragraph in the Woman of the Year nomination story:
Thompson plans on attending medical school, and she will continue training with an eye on competing for Canada in the 2022 Olympic Games while also continuing research on infectious disease in society.

As TB has said before, this is definitely the kind of person you want representing your institution.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Watching The Former Tigers

So TigerBlog had it all messed up yesterday as far as watching Princeton alums in professional sports.

He thought it was going to be the WNBA game between Princetonians Bella Alarie and Blake Dietrick at 2, and then the Princeton-heavy Archers (Tom Schreiber, Ryan Ambler, Josh Sims) versus Princeton alum Zach Currier in a Premier Lacrosse League opener at 4.

As it turns out, it wasn't the Archers against Currier's new team, the expansion Waterdogs, but instead the Atlas. TB said this last year - if you're not going to have teams represent cities, then at least make their names much different. Between Atlas and Archers and Chrome and Chaos, it's a bit confusing.

Also as it turned out, the WNBA game started at 5, not 2. So at 2 there was the Major League Lacrosse championship game, where Boston defeated Denver 13-10.

Denver would have won if Currier was still an Outlaw, as opposed to being the No. 1 pick in the entry draft by the Waterdogs in the PLL. Also, TB was still rooting for Denver and Princeton assistant coach Chris Aslanian, who scored three goals in the game.

There was also the Yankees-Nationals baseball game, in which Princeton alum David Hale pitched an inning in the 3-2 New York win. It was Hale's second appearance of the year for the Yankees, and yet another Princeton alum, Mike Ford, got a hit in his only at-bat of the weekend.

TB put on the PLL game at 4, just in time to see Currier take the ground ball off the opening face-off and go right to the goal, where he appeared to score the first goal in Waterdogs history. Instead, his goal was waved off because his foot was on the crease line (it was, as the replay showed), and he got an inadvertent shot to the head for his troubles.

By 5 TB had the lacrosse game on the TV and the women's basketball game on his computer.

Neither Alarie nor Dietrick started in the game, but both got in the game by the end of the first quarter. In fact, when the quarter ended, both players were on the court together.

Between the two, there were six first-team All-Ivy League selections, four Ivy League Player of the Year Awards, three All-American honors and 2,936 career points. There were also six Ivy League title and six NCAA tournament trips.

It was a well-played back-and-forth quarter, one that ended with Dallas ahead 28-27. Dietrick had a three-pointer, along with two assists and a rebound. She was also Atlanta's top ballhandler.

Meanwhile, back at the lacrosse game, the Waterdogs had the lead into the fourth quarter. For an expansion team, the Waterdogs have a lot of talent, and they have Currier, who is the ultimate winning player who makes every big play you need and can do absolutely anything - fearlessly - on the field.

His resume includes championships in MLL, in the indoor National Lacrosse League and the indoor World Championships with Canada. He was also on the Canadian team that lost the 2018 field World Championship 9-8 to the United States in an good a lacrosse game as has ever been played.

The Atlas scored three straight, tying the game at 10-10, as the WNBA game had some technical issues with the clock and logistics. By the time the game restarted, the Waterdogs were behind, and they'd actually lose the game 11-10.

It'll be the Archers and Atlas tonight at 9:30 on NBC Sports Network. TB is sure of that one.

He would have rather it had been Currier against the Archers yesterday, but that game will be coming up tomorrow at 7, also on NBC Sports.

As for the rest of the basketball game, Alarie didn't get much playing time. Dietrick got a ton and made the most of it, finishing with five points, five assists and three rebounds. The Dream led most of the way and always seemed to be in total control, but the Wings hung around and hung around and got within two late. The drama disappeared with an endless break to check on how many fouls a player had, and the final was Atlanta 105, Dallas 95.

And as for having the opportunity to watch some pro sports again, that alone was really good. Adding the Princeton connections made it even better.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Opening Ceremonies

You know what today was supposed to have been?

The Opening Ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

As with everything else in the athletic calendar in 2020, the Olympic Games were affected by the global pandemic. They have now been pushed back a year, with the Opening Ceremonies to be held on July 23, 2021.

The delay of one year will impact who wins certain events and who qualifies in the first place. Those who have trained to be exactly ready for the 2020 Olympic Trials and then the Games themselves might not necessarily be in the same place a year from now.

Throw in the randomness of injuries (either those who are hurt now and will be recovered in a year and those who are fine now who will be hurt in a year), and there will be no way to tell what might have been for some people.

Princeton is always well-represented at the Olympic Games.

Princeton sent 13 athletes to Rio four years ago and won three medals. Diana Matheson won her second straight bronze medal with Canada in women's soccer. Gevvie Stone won a bronze in singles rowing. Ashleigh Johnson won gold in women's water polo.

The only time Princeton was not represented at the modern Summer Olympics was in 1960 in Rome.

For TB, the best part of the Olympics is watching the Princetonians compete. He has no doubt that there would have been the usual number of Tigers to root for in Tokyo this time around.

He also enjoys watching all of the more non-mainstream sports. The competition is always so compelling.

Now that the Olympics are pushed back a year, there will be three Olympiads in a three-year span. The Summer Games next year will be in Tokyo, followed in 2022 by the Winter Games in Beijing (six months after the Summer Games) and then the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

TB has never been to the Olympics in person. BrotherBlog has, having attended the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010. He's also been to the Australian Open tennis tournament and a college football bowl game, two other events TB has not.

TB does have an insurmountable lead over his brother in Ivy League athletic events, and he's fine with that.

In fact, if you gave TB the choice between attending the Summer Olympics or the World Cup, he'd probably choose the World Cup.

With no Olympics coverage, NBC had a huge hole in its programming schedule. Into that void comes, in addition to other events, the second season of the Premier Lacrosse League. Princeton is well-represented in that league, with four players.

It's not exactly how the season was supposed to be held, with its format of rotating venues, rather than "home" cities for its franchises. This time the entire league will be playing all of its games in Utah, starting tomorrow and running through August 9 with the championship game.

As for Princeton alums, you have Tom Schreiber, Ryan Ambler and Austin Sims on the Archers and Zach Currier on the Waterdogs. Currier is in his first season in the PLL, after having played in Major League Lacrosse a year ago.

You can get the full schedule for the PLL HERE.

The Major League Baseball season has begun. The NHL and NBA seasons will be restarting soon.

The WNBA season is also about to begin, with the season to be played between this weekend and the middle of September, all in Bradenton, Fla. Each team will play 22 games, so essentially it will be one game, one day off, another game, another day off the entire way through.

The schedule Sunday includes a game between the Dallas Wings and the Atlanta Dream that is a Princeton fan's delight, as it matches Bella Alarie (Dallas, in her WNBA debut) and Blake Dietrick (Atlanta).

The game is Sunday at 4 on CBS Sports Network.

For the Summer Olympics you'll have to wait another year.

For live sports on your TV, things are starting to open up a bit. This weekend gives you some pretty strong Princeton options to enjoy.

Beyond that, have a great weekend in general. And a safe one.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

To The Prince

If you are into history, especially Princeton history, the way TigerBlog is, then you have to love THIS website.

It's the archives of "The Daily Princetonian," the student-run newspaper of Princeton University. It was founded in 1876, which makes it older than most colleges, let alone most college newspapers.

The archives actually go back further than that, all the way to February of 1842, with a link to the "Nassau Monthly." The first story there is entitled "An Hour's Talk About History," and, well, you have to see it for yourself. 

It's sort of a continuation of what TB was saying the other day about how sportswriting has evolved through the years. This is more about how writing in general has done so.

The student newspaper began as a twice-weekly publication called "The Princetonian" back in 1876. It became a daily paper, and thus "The Daily Princetonian," in 1892.

The first issue of the student paper seems to have been on Sept. 22, 1876. Among the stories was this take on hazing:

The old custom, commonly known as hazing, of initiating a freshman into the mysteries of College life, is fortunately falling out of practice. The question arises, whether this is from respect to the wishes of the Faculty, or from want of desire on the part of the students to participate in such amusements. Which of these reasons predominates is uncertain, but it is to be hoped that it is due to the latter partly at least, that the incoming class has had so few "nightly visits." That a freshman should be made to understand his position in College is undeniable; but there are numerous ways of accomplishing this end without resorting to the practice of hazing.

Because the actual student paper didn't begin until seven years after the first football game in 1869, there is no reporting on it in the archives. The only publication linked to in those years was the "Princeton Literary Magazine," and there was no issue in November or December. The January issue doesn't include anything about the first football game, though it does have a story entitled "Who Stole The President's Horse."

This is from the first entry about athletics in the history of "The Prince":

The West End Caledonian Association had a meeting at Long Branch, in July. As there were a number of Princeton men in the vicinity, this opportunity for displaying Princeton muscle and Princeton skill was not neglected. The following gentlemen entered the games: Mann, Halsted, Clarke, Karge, Moffat, Parmly, Woods ; the rest held the coats of their more active friends.

That was about a track meet. The same athletics recap talked about another track event, in Saratoga, to which Princeton was only able to afford to send three athletes due to a lack of funds. The piece also talked about the uncertainty for the coming baseball season and the need to 1) have good practices on the field and 2) have good workouts in the gym.

Maybe the wording has changed considerably, but the dynamic of sports has not.

Through the years, the staff of "The Prince" has included some huge names in the field of journalism, including Grant Wahl, who is now one of the top soccer writers/commentators in the world, and the late Frank Deford, one of the greatest American writers of any kind ever.

The list of alums of the paper includes figures throughout the journalism world and beyond, including current Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, former Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. Rockefeller and so many others.

John Stossell of ABC News is a Prince alum, something TB didn't know. For that matter, he didn't even know that Stossell was a Princeton alum.

You can see some of the other alums listed HERE, including an all-time TB favorite, Noah Trister, who remains one of the most loyal Princeton athletic fans out there. 

TB never wrote for his college newspaper, "The Daily Pennsylvanian." He has, though, kicked DP reporters out of of Jadwin Gym after basketball games because they were taking forever to get done with their stories.

During his time at Princeton, TB has seen legions of Prince reporters who have covered the Tigers and moved on in their careers. Some have stayed in writing. Most haven't, but TB is pretty sure that they have incredible memories of their time as college writers.

They should at least.

They've been part of something special.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Before yesterday, the last time TigerBlog had texted Patrick McCarthy was back on Feb. 15, when TB was in his car and Patrick was broadcasting the Princeton-Brown men's basketball game.

Princeton won 73-54, by the way. That was the game where Ethan Wright went for 21 points on 9 for 10 shooting, including 3 for 4 from three-point range. Richmond Aririguzoh and Jaelin Llewellyn had 15 each.

Anyway, it was sometime in the first half of that game. TB was listening, and he texted Patrick (when TB was at a red light) some updates of other Princeton games that day, including the two lacrosse season openers, so Patrick could get them on the air.

This is the way the conversation went:

TB: "Listening, so you need to bring your A game."
Patrick: "Oh boy. That's a lot of pressure."
TB: "Doing well so far."

Then a few moments later:

TB: "Heading into the supermarket. You can relax for a few minutes."

Of course, Patrick wasn't going to relax. Even in his mid-20s, he's already quite the pro.

And, as TB said yesterday, Patrick is a Winnipeg Jets fan. He's the only Winnipeg Jets fan he knows, and Winnipeg is 1,658 miles away from Princeton. Actually, though, it's only 1,643 miles from Patrick's house, so there is that.

Patrick's response was that as he became a hockey fan in high school, his high school baseball coach was a big Flyers fan. He didn't want to root for the Flyers, or the Rangers or Devils, so he chose the Jets.

"I decided sine they were a new team, no one could call me a front-runner and figured they'd be good eventually," he said. "Plus the fan base is so passionate. I know to TSN 1290 in Winnipeg on game days."

So there you have it.

TigerBlog mentioned yesterday why it is that people root for certain teams. Sometimes the answer is just something random like Patrick and his beloved Winnipeg Jets.

Most of the time it's driven by geography. The Princeton area is about halfway between New York and Philadelphia, so there is always a good divide between fans of both cities around here.

There are teams that are very polarizing, such as the Yankees and Cowboys. People either love them or hate them.

As for TB, he is rooting for Princeton alum Mike Ford, so if that means hoping the Yankees do well, so be it. Of course, he's also rooting for the Phillies, because Patrick's father Tom, a former Princeton football and basketball radio voice, is the Phillies' TV play-by-play man.

The Major League Baseball season hasn't started yet, but it's almost here. TB knows that Tom has been thrilled to be back at empty Citizens Bank Park, which is where he'll be doing all of the Phils' games, home or away. 

The Phils were playing an exhibition game at Yankee Stadium Monday night and were one out away from a win when Ford absolutely crushed a home run to right. The word that the Yes Network used on Twitter to describe it was "Obliterated."
TB isn't sure why they didn't play extra innings, but the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Ford is the only player ever to win the Ivy League Player of the Year Award and Pitcher of the Year Award. He is at the absolute right ballpark for him, as a lefthanded hitter with considerable power.

In his rookie season a year ago, Ford went from an emergency call-up during an injury deluge to a consistent, and clutch, power hitter. He finished the year with 12 home runs in 143 at-bats, and it seems like he could have a much bigger role with the team moving forward.

This is what manager Aaron Boone said to the New York Post about Ford:
“I think some people miss how good of an offensive player he is. He controls the zone and has power. I think he is a really good middle of the order major league hitter. That is how I view him, I think he is that good. For us it is a left-handed look, obviously. We are right-handed heavy. He is going to see some time because he is a lefty bat that can split up our righties a little bit.’’

As long as he is, TB can root for the Yankees.

Even if Ford ends up elsewhere, maybe TB will continue to root for the Yankees anyway. You know, because of how much Princeton head football coach Bob Surace loves them.

It seems to be as good a reason as any to root for a team, right?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hockey Talk

With the weather in Princeton solidly in the upper 90s most of these days, the subject for today is of course ice hockey.

TigerBlog saw a man the other day who was wearing a Minnesota North Stars hat. For those who don't remember, the Minnesota North Stars were an NHL team from their expansion in 1967 until the franchise relocated to Dallas in 1993 and dropped the "North" from the name.

The Minnesota North Stars never won a Stanley Cup, losing twice in the finals, in 1981 and 1991. It reminded TB of Princeton's men's hockey team, which won the ECAC championship in 1998, 2008 and 2018.

The North Stars had great uniforms, with a green and yellow logo. TB originally thought that Princeton alum Syl Apps had spent time with the North Stars, but it turned out that he didn't.

That Syl Apps was Syl Apps Jr., the son of a hockey Hall-of-Famer. Junior played at Princeton in the 1966-67 season before becoming a pro; Syl Apps III is one of the best players Princeton hockey has ever had.

In fact, it was Syl Apps III who scored the game-winning goal early in the second overtime of Princeton's 5-4 win over Clarkson in the 1998 ECAC championship game. Apps III played in 122 games as a Tiger, finishing with 30 goals and 41 assists.

His numbers his final two years were 23 goals and 29 assists.

His sister Gillian, by the way, played at Dartmouth and would win two gold medals with the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team. He also has another sister, Amy, who played on the Canadian women's national soccer team and a cousin who won a gold medal in Olympic rowing.

Athletic group.

When TB saw the guy with the North Stars' hat, he entered into this exchange:

TB: "Minnesota North Stars?"
Guy in hat: "Yeah. It's an old hat."
TB: "Wearing your Hartford Whalers hat next?"

The Hartford Whalers, by the way, were a team in the World Hockey Association that was absorbed into the NHL in 1979, along with the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques. The Whalers are now the Carolina Hurricanes, those Winnipeg Jets are now the Arizona Coyotes and the Nordiques are now the Colorado Avalanche.

The current Winnipeg Jets are 1) the relocated Atlanta Thrashers and 2) the favorite team of Princeton  broadcaster Patrick McCarthy, for some strange reason.

Seriously, how does a young man from Central Jersey become a Winnipeg Jets fan? TB will have to ask him.

How does anyone became a fan of any pro team for that matter? Usually it's one of three reasons: 1) they're the local team, 2) there is a family history of rooting for that team or 3) that team is a perennial favorite (like the Cowboys or Yankees).

For TB, by the way, you can add 4) because that team has Princeton alums. Even the Yankees, with Mike Ford.

Speaking of hockey, TB also came across an older gentleman while on his bike the other day. TB was dressed head-to-toe in Princeton gear, and the man asked him if he went to Princeton.

TB explained that no, he didn't, but that he's worked there for 30-plus years and that his daughter attends the school and plays on the women's lacrosse team. That explained why he was wearing a Princeton Women's Lacrosse Ivy League Tournament 2019 champion t-shirt, the man said.

TB also explained that he was a Penn alum but that he'd gotten over that long ago.

When TB asked the man where he had gone to school, he said he was a Dartmouth alum, Class of 1960. TB's first response was that he graduated one year after the great Rudy LaRusso, the Dartmouth basketball player who became a five-time NBA all-star in the 1960s (a great era of NBA basketball). He was also the first Jewish player ever to score 50 points in an NBA game.

TB asked the man if he had been an athlete, and he said he'd played hockey and lacrosse for the Big Green. TB asked him about the athletic facilities at the time, what his experience was, those kinds of questions.

They also talked about the Princeton-Dartmouth football game at Princeton in 2018 (Princeton won 14-9 in a battle of unbeatens at Princeton Stadium) and the game last fall at Yankee Stadium (Dartmouth won 27-10 in another matchup of unbeatens).

The man said he had been at both games. TB pointed out that he was the PA announcer for the 2018 game.

Then it was back off on his bike.

It's always nice to find an Ivy League athletic alum, whatever year. There's always some connection, and it's always a pleasant, mutually respectful exchange.

It's one of the special things about the Ivy League. Everyone always wants to win of course, but there is a common bond between the eight schools. TB has seen that over and over, and he really likes it.

Monday, July 20, 2020

See You Tomorrow

Congratulation to Mike Knorr, who realized that the four runners-up for the hypothetical 1924 Heisman Trophy were the fabled "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" from Notre Dame.

This is where it comes from:
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.

The writer was Grantland Rice, who when it comes to combining sportswriting and literature was rivaled probably only later on by Princeton alum Frank Deford. If you've never read anything by Deford, you're really missing out. Pick any story you like. Then you can marvel at the writing.

Rice's story appeared in the New York Herald Tribune in October 1924, after Notre Dame upset Army 13-7 at the Polo Grounds. The Notre Dame coach was Knute Rockne, and if you've never seen that movie, well, then get on it.

The list of Heisman winners from before when there was a Heisman also included George Gipp, of the "win one for the Gipper" fame. Gipp was played in the movie by Ronald Reagan, who incorporated "the Gipper" into his Presidential campaigns several decades later.

Anyway, sportswriting has changed a great deal from when Grantland Rice was doing it 100 years ago. or when Earnest Lawrence Thayer was doing it 40 years before that, when he wrote "Casey At The Bat" as a newspaper column.

TigerBlog loved his time in the newspaper business. It was the 1980s and early 1990s, which was a great time for newspapers.

He's not sure he would have been able to get away with the "Four Horsemen" style of writing back then. Maybe though.

TB has often wondered what was going through Rice's head as he watched the Notre Dame-Army game. Did he already have that idea or did it just come to him as he sat in the press box that day?

Back at the Trenton Times, TB's beloved colleague Harvey Yavener would often have his storyline in mind before the game started. It was up to the game, then, to fit his story, not the other way around.

He'd get angry when it didn't.

As for TB, he wrote a lot of stories on deadlines, and he prided himself on being able to have a story done as a game ended, needing only to plug in quotes. There were many nights in Jadwin Gym, or at Rider or Trenton State College, where he'd write two different ledes for close games, one that had the final going one way and one having it going the other.

Deadlines. Never missed one.

The key to writing a good story, Yav would always tell him, was to make sure you wrote the "right" story. In other words, each game had a story to tell, and you had to not miss what it was that the game of that particular night was about.

This, of course, is highly ironic, given that Yav himself already has his story in mind, but hey, he 1) was usually right in the end and 2) is one of the greatest who ever did it.

In fact, Princeton's athletes of the last 15-18 or so years have missed out on being interviewed by Yav. His feature stories were epics, and he would come up with a storyline from one of those interviews that the subject didn't realize was there. He would have made a great psychologist with the way he could get people to open up about themselves.

As TB has said here before, Yav was also the one who taught him that the news was the news. Your reporting the news was not news.

In that sense, this daily blog has failed miserably when it comes to Yav's rule No. 1. On the other hand, the world has evolved considerably.

Today sportswriting is more about "takes" than anything else, whether they come in the form of a column or in just 280-character bits. Game recaps are more about graphics and highlights on social media.

Yav hates it.

For TB, he hasn't done much tweeting, other than links of the blog each day. He prefers to write, either feature stories or what he brings you each day.

He's proud of the fact that since 2009, he hasn't missed a single business day. Not one.

Now there's a real challenge, with no athletic events since March and none for the fall. TB deeply hopes that the games will be able to resume come the start of 2021.

He will continue to be here each day, though. It's a way to let you know that Princeton Athletics are still here, are still working hard, are still educating, are still teaching values, are still holding true to its values, are still important.

And it seems like you like having the content. Readership is double what it was last summer at this time.

It's the connection to Princeton that's important, for writer and reader.

And with that, TB has only one more thing to say today:

See you tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Princeton's Three Other Heisman Winners

While TigerBlog is on the subject of John DeWitt, here's something else interesting about the captain of the 1903 national championship Princeton football team and the silver medalist in the hammer throw at the 1904 Summer Olympics.

As every Princeton fan knows, Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy (in a landslide, by the way). You probably also know that Kazmaier is the only Princetonian and the third (and most recent) Ivy League football player to win the Heisman Trophy.

So what does that have to do with John DeWitt?

Well, back in the summer of 2009, the National Football Foundation's newsletter included a great feature by the legendary writer Dan Jenkins. The Heisman Trophy was first awarded in 1936, and what Jenkins did was go back in time prior to that and choose the winner of the Heisman for every year there wasn't one.

That was a harder sentence to write than TB imagined, by the way. Does it make sense? He selected his pick for who would have won the Heisman prior to their being a Heisman.

As an aside, the Tewaaraton Foundation does this each year, choosing a player from before the Tewaaraton who would have won the award had there been one. The Tewaaraton people honor one winner per year of the "Legends" award, as opposed to one year-by-year list.

Jenkins didn't go all the way back to Princeton-Rutgers in 1869 and give William Gummere the trophy. He started instead in 1889 with a Yalie, Amos Alonzo Stagg, who did a lot later on in terms of shaping the rules.

Princeton was represented three times with the pre-Heisman winner of the Heisman. The first was in 1896, when Addison (King) Kelly was the choice. Interestingly, Kelly was a junior that year (did they call them juniors back then?), and he was one of the five finalists a year later, when he was a first-team All-American for the second straight time. The winner in 1897 was a Penn guy, John Outland, who has a trophy named after him these days.

Kelly was also a four-year starting first baseman at Princeton, which meant he played at a time when freshman (were they called that then?) were immediately eligible. He also spent one year as the head football coach at the University of California, going 4-2-1 in the 1900 season, before becoming a stockbroker.

The second Princeton winner was the aforementioned DeWitt in 1903.

The third came nine years later, when Hobey Baker was the winner. Baker, like Kelly, was chosen in his third year (junior year yet?). Okay, it seems that the terms date back a lot further than college football, as you can see HERE.

The winner the year before Baker in 1912 was Jim Thorpe. The winner Baker's senior year was some Harvard guy TB has never heard of, Eddie Mahan, unless he was related to the Mahans who played lacrosse at Harvard a few years ago.

John Heisman was a 1891 graduate of Penn, but he wasn't even a finalist for his own award. Princeton had one finalist that year - Phil King. In fact, Princeton had finalists in most of the early years, even two in some, including 1889, when both Knowlton Ames and Edgar Allen Poe were runner-ups to Stagg.

Ames, by the way, still technically holds the record for rushing touchdowns at Princeton with 62, though the actually recognized record is 49, by Keith Elias.

As for Edgar Allen Poe, he's not that Edgar Allen Poe. He's that Edgar Allen Poe's nephew.

Princeton's last finalist came in 1922, which is not surprising, since the Tiger "Team Of Destiny" won the national championship that year. The Princeton player selected was Herb Treat, who is listed as Charles Treat among Princeton's list of first-team All-Americans.

The coolest year, by the way, was 1924, when the winner was Red Grange of Illinois and the four runners-up were Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.

Your weekend trivia question is why was that so cool?

In the meantime, TB hopes everyone has a fun, relaxing - and safe - summer weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

John DeWitt, Silver Medalist

So TigerBlog yesterday wrote about the 1903 Princeton-Yale football game, one that the Tigers won 11-6 to finish the year unbeaten and national champion.

As an aside, Princeton has played only three games in its history where the score was 11-6. The first was that 1903 game against Yale. The second was five years later, when Princeton lost to Yale 11-6 to finish the 1908 season at 5-2-3.

The third wasn't until 1985, when Princeton defeated Harvard 11-6. TB, quite coincidentally, wrote about that game a few weeks ago, when he talked about how the sequel for "Top Gun" is coming out. That 1985 game, by the way, saw all of its points scored on special teams.

If you're wondering, there have been almost as many 11-6 men's hockey games in Princeton history as football games. Princeton lost to Michigan 11-6 in 1950 and defeated Williams 11-6 in 1984 in men's hockey; there has never been an 11-6 women's hockey game.

There have been five women's lacrosse games that ended 11-6, and Princeton is 2-3 on those games. In fact, Princeton has as many 11-6 seasons in women's lacrosse and it does wins in games that ended 11-6.

There have been 14 men's lacrosse games in history that ended 11-6, and Princeton is 11-3 in those games. Princeton went 3-0 in 11-6 men's lacrosse games in 1950, with three games by that score in a four-game stretch to end the season (against Navy, Rutgers and Army).

And that's probably enough about 11-6.

As for the 1903 game, TB mentioned yesterday that John DeWitt, the Princeton captain, was responsible for all 11 points in the game. He scored on a touchdown (five points), a PAT (one point) and a field goal (five points). The scoring system obviously has evolved since then.

DeWitt was a two-time All-American as a kicker and a guard. That's not a combination that's too common these days.

In fact, DeWitt was not only small by a today's standards for an offensive guard, as he stood 6-1 and weighed 198 pounds, but that also makes him smaller than last year's Princeton placekicker Tavish Rice (6-2, 225) and essentially the same size as last year's punter (Will Powers, 6-2, 195).

So how did DeWitt, a guard, score a touchdown in the Yale game in 1903? He picked up a blocked field goal attempt (a drop kick actually) and ran 70 yards to the end zone.

If you're wondering what a drop kick is, it's when the ball is snapped directly to the kicker, who drops it on the ground and kicks it sort of in one motion as it starts to bounce off the field.

The last player to successfully execute a drop kick, if TB recalls correctly, was Doug Flutie, who did so in 2006 for the New England Patriots. HERE is what it looked like:

As near as TB can figure, it was a 1934 rule that made the shape of the football more of the oval shape that you know it as these days that led to the rise of placekickers, as opposed to drop kickers. Also, as you probably know, kickers used to kick the ball with a straight toe until the Gogolak brothers, including Princeton's Charlie Gogolak, became the first of what was originally called "soccer style" kickers.

Meanwhile, back at John DeWitt, he was more than just a football player.

What TB didn't include yesterday is that John DeWitt was a silver medalist in the hammer throw in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.

There were six hammer throwers at those Summer Games, and all six were Americans. DeWitt's throw for silver was 50.26 meters, which left him nearly five meters ahead of the third place throw and one meter behind the world record throw of John Flanagan.

TB isn't sure if the hammer today is the same weight as it was back then, but the world record now is 86.74 meters. For that matter, Julia Ratcliffe's Princeton women's record is 70.28 meters.

DeWitt is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. He came to Princeton from Lawrenceville Prep, and he sadly passed away early, at the age of 48.

TB couldn't find an obit for him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Memories Of 1903

The Daily Princetonian of Nov. 16, 1903, had an interesting story on Page 2.

It had a headline "A Wonderful Invention," which of course got TigerBlog's attention. And what was that invention?

It was the electric comb. This wasn't just any comb of course. This was the electric comb, by Dr. White, and it could do it all.

Seriously, it could cure dandruff and hair fallout and get rid of nervous headaches. Even better, when used in connection with Dr. White's electric hair brush it "positively guaranteed to make straight hair curly in 25 days' time."

How great is that?

And how much would you pay for such a miraculous product? Did you say 35 cents? Because that's how much it cost.

By the way, 35 cents in 1903 is the equivalent of $10.20 today. Who wouldn't pay that for everything you get for it?

Alas, for TB, he didn't get it in time to prevent the hair fallout, which renders the curling feature useless. TB does have old pictures of himself with long, wavy hair, so maybe if he could have found one of these back in the 1970s or ’80s, he might have had something.

In fact, his long-time friend Corey recently texted TB his high school graduation photo. Yes, once upon a time TB did have a lot of hair. Where was Dr. White when he needed him.

The electric comb story was on Page 2, as TB said. The big story on Page 1 of the Daily Princetonian that day was about the 11-6 win over Yale in football that clinched a perfect season and national championship.

Princeton went 11-0 in 1903, and the six points that Yale scored that day in New Haven (this was before the Yale Bowl opened) were the only six points Princeton allowed all season. The 1903 Tigers played six of the same teams the 2019 team did - Bucknell, Lafayette, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth and Yale.

This was in the middle of a long stretch where Princeton and Harvard did not play each other in any sports due to a major brawl at the 1895 game; the teams would not play again until 1911.

As for the game against Yale in 1903, Princeton scored 11 points, all by captain John R. DeWitt. How'd Princeton get to 11?

Back then, touchdowns were worth five points, as were field goals, which were drop-kicked. A conversion after a touchdown and a safety were already worth the totals they're still worth today.

As a result, Princeton had a touchdown, a PAT and a field goal. Yale had a touchdown and a PAT.

There were 30,000 fans in attendance at the 1903 Princeton-Yale game. Here is how the Daily Princetonian described things:

In as hard and as well fought a game as has ever been played between the two Universities, Princeton defeated Yale last Saturday on Yale field by the score of 11 to 6. Replete throughout with clean tackles, wonderful kicking and excellent team work, the game was at the same time stubbornly contested by both teams, and it was only the brilliant head work and unwavering determination of the Princeton captain and players that landed the championship for Princeton. DeWitt, in his wonderful playing, was backed from start to finish by the other men on the team, and credit is due not only to the captain but to the team that stood by him. At the same time, the support, of the Princeton undergraduates, unsurpassed on any other occasion, was a great factor in winning the game.

Why bring this up now?

Well, TB saw something on Twitter from a handle called "Old Football Film," and it had a clip from that 1903 game:

That's pretty cool stuff, no?

Lastly, for today at least, there was also this from Twitter and Princeton Football. It's a piece of an interview that head coach Bob Surace recently did, where he talks about Detroit Lions' head coach Matt Patricia's wedding in Aruba, how he attended - and the interaction he had with another particular NFL coach.

It's pretty good as well.

Yes it is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

No. 22, Mollie Marcoux Samaan

Happy Bastille Day.

It was on this day in 1789 that the revolutionaries of France stormed the Bastille, a fortress/prison that was, more symbolically than actually, the epitome of the power of the Monarchy. Bastille Day was the turning point of the French Revolution, and now it's the major French national holiday.

For those who are wondering where "Les Miserables" comes into all of this French history, it was part of a different, and not nearly as successful, French Revolution. This one happened in 1832, when, just as in the musical, a bunch of young French revolutionaries tried to fight the entire French army, figuring that the rest of Paris and their fellow citizens would rise up and join them.

Unfortunately for them, that's not how it worked out. It was over in two days.

Victor Hugo wrote "Les Mis," the original novel, after he happened to be sitting at a cafe located between the French army and the students who were trying to topple the establishment.

This had nothing to do with Bastille Day, of course, but anytime TB can talk about "Les Mis" he'll try to take advantage of it.

"Les Mis" is one of his very favorite musicals ever. If he had to do a ranking of his top 10 of all-time, he'd probably have it no lower than three, and probably two.

Nobody is ever beating "Fiddler On The Roof."

Making lists of your favorites is always a fun exercise. People love to ask the question - "what's your favorite movie of all-time?" - and then respond as if you are either a genius because you said one they agreed with or more likely a fool for saying you liked THAT movie, whatever that movie happens to be.

In reality, such lists mean very little. You might hate TB's list of favorites. It's all individual choice.

TB has a good friend who doesn't like when people talk in terms of their favorites, and especially when they talk about their "top five whatevers of all time." He gets downright angry when he sees sportscasters on TV talk about who deserves to be in the "Mount Rushmore" of a certain category.

Obviously any list of superlatives needs to be taken with a grain of salt. TB laughs when he thinks of how many times he swore by the accuracy of a recruiting list when Princeton was highly ranked and scoffed at the silliness of such rankings when Princeton wasn't.

Then there's the idea of comparing generational things. Was that game in the 1960s better than the one in the 1920s or 1990s? That's sort of impossible to compare, right? But it's done all the time.

And then there's the whole element of ranking something eighth vs. ninth or 15th vs. 16th.

Back in TB's newspaper days, his old friend and mentor Harvey Yavener (like Pete Carril, Yav is still going strong at 90). Yav used to take every men's basketball team in every conference in Division I in the East and ranking them, top to bottom, about 65 teams worth. Then he'd get into heated debates over why he listed one random team above another random team.

With all that as a backdrop, TB got an email the other day from men's soccer coach Jim Barlow, with a link to a story on that ranked the 25 most influential people in New Jersey sports. No. 1 was a tie between Governor Murphy and Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano.

And there at No. 22 was Princeton's Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan. Here's what it said about Mollie:

22. Mollie Marcoux Samaan

Princeton led the way in New Jersey and nationally when it shut down its campus as the coronavirus took hold of the region in mid March. Will Princeton athletics set the tone in the state this fall? The Tigers remain a powerhouse under the athletic director, winning 65 Ivy League championships during her first six seasons at the helm -- a total that is 14 more than the next-highest school in the prestigious league. Last year: 24

In fact, for all of the success that Princeton has had on the field in Mollie's now six full year tenure, it's been what's happened since the COVID-19 situation came up that really has helped to define her leadership. In many ways, this is the toughest thing any Princeton AD has ever had to deal with, and it has not been easy for her.

TB can tell you that she aches for every Princeton athlete whose college experience has been disrupted, and she has worked as hard as she could to try to figure out what to do, how to do it, what the best course is. And even when there really is no best course, she has fallen back on the departmental values that she has always embraced to make the best of the situation and to provide vital life lessons to all of those involved.

Does that make her 22nd on the list?

To prove TB's point about the subjectivity of such rankings, No. 21 is one of the top high school football coaches in New Jersey. No. 23 is the GM of the New Jersey Devils.

Still, it's nice to see that Mollie's efforts are being recognized, and deservedly so (TB doesn't just say this because she's the boss).

Monday, July 13, 2020

Happy 90th Coach

Hey, here's some pretty good writing:

Carril has long been the conscience of Princeton basketball (and to a larger extreme, Princeton athletics), and by that he means that Carril was never one to let anyone get away with anything less than full effort, full commitment. He couldn't be conned as head coach, and he cared little about what a person's background was. Nobody had a free pass on his teams.

Not bad, right?

Who was the writer? TigerBlog of course.

TB wrote that almost exactly 10 years ago, on the occasion of Pete Carril's 80th birthday. Now it's 10 years later, and the man known simply as "Coach" to so many people is 10 years older.

Carril's 90th birthday was this past Friday. One of his former players sent TB a picture of Carril, in the player's yard, with a beer can.

What more appropriate way is there for him to have turned 90?

Here is more of what TB wrote 10 years ago:

When Pete Carril turned 40, he was three years into his tenure as Princeton men's basketball coach. His record stood at 55-22, and he had won two Ivy League championships and played in one NCAA tournament.

Among his 22 losses was a one-point defeat, 76-75, at UCLA against one of John Wooden's best teams, a game the Tigers lost when Sidney Wicks hit a jump shot in the final seconds. It would be one of the three most excruciating losses (all by one point) of Carril's Princeton career, along with a game when he was in his 40s (against Rutgers in the 1976 NCAA tournament) and one in his 50s (against Georgetown in the 1989 NCAA tournament).

When Carril turned 10, he was living in Bethlehem, Pa., where his father worked in the steel mills. When he turned 20, he was playing basketball at Lafayette.

By 30, he was a high school teacher and basketball coach at Reading High in Pennsylvania. Gary Walters was between his freshman and sophomore years at Reading at the time, just beginning a relationship with Carril that would see him play for him at Reading, coach with him at Princeton and ultimately become his boss as Director of Athletics at Princeton.

Carril would lead Princeton to the NCAA tournament 11 times, once in his 30s, twice in his 40s and then four times each in his 50s and 60s. When he left Princeton after the 1996 season, he was 65 years old.

At 70 he was still in basketball, working with the Sacramento Kings, an affiliation that continued into his 80s.

Carril is a Princeton University icon, someone who long ago elevated himself beyond just the normal status of even the most successful coach. He was as much a sociologist as a basketball coach, someone with an innate sense of human behavior and an ability to see right through to a person's core in moments.

TB has seen nothing as Coach has turned 90 to make him think that such a statement no longer holds true.

When TB thinks back to all the years he spent around Carril and his teams, he doesn't really think of the basketball pieces as much as the human pieces. It was always fascinating to see him at practice, or on the bus, or in an airport, or after a press event, or walking around some random town before a game - any time he was around a group of people, large or small.

It's those situations that TB will always remember about Carril. The games themselves were big, and he was obviously the head coach for some of the greatest moments in the history of Princeton Athletics.

But during games, he was wincing and squirming as much as anything, since his work was mostly done by gametime. He won his games in those practices, preparing his teams so they were ready for anything and able to handle whatever situation came along, to be able to, in one of his favorite terms, "see it."

He always said that he never wanted to be one of those guys who hung around all the time after he retired, and his years in the NBA kept him away from Jadwin long enough that it's never felt like he was always there. Now when he comes around it's a special moment for everyone, even now, 24 years after that retirement, when there are fewer and fewer people who still work at Princeton who were there for his amazing final week as head coach, with the win over Penn in the 1996 Ivy playoff game to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Quakers and then the 43-41 win over UCLA in the opening round of the NCAA tournament five days later in Indianapolis, for his 514th and final win as Tiger head coach.

When TB wrote about Carril's 80th, he ended it his way:
He's a more mellow person. He's still the conscience of Princeton basketball, but he does so from the perspective of your wise old uncle that you see a few times a year.

And yet, he hasn't slowed a step. He still has the quick wit, the dominating persona, the ability to sniff out the BS immediately.

There has never been anyone to walk into Jadwin Gym quite like Pete Carril. Now that he's 80, there still isn't, and TB suspects it will forever be this way.

He sees no need to change a word of that now, 10 years later.

Happy 90th Coach.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Guest TigerBlog - Sam Shweisky Talks About Racial Justice In Advance Of Tomorrow's Rally

TigerBlog has a standing invitation to anyone who has something to say. The floor is yours.

Today he turns the conversation over to men's volleyball coach Sam Shweisky, in advance of tomorrow's march and rally in Princeton for racial equality that Shweisky is helping organize.

Black lives matter. Can we start there?

Of course “all men are created equal”. But what happens when that premise is proven to be false? As America has come to recognize that sentiment should have read: “all humankind is created equal,” we recognize that we are still falling short.

Systemic racism exists in education, housing, healthcare, employment, wealth accumulation, surveillance, and in the criminal justice system. It’s not as obvious as a segregated drinking fountain or bathroom and for many people of privilege we can’t see it in our day-to-day lives. But it is there, even if we can’t see it.

If injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, then the systemic racism experienced by the Black community shows that all lives do not truly matter in the same way. Therein lies the call to affirm that Black Lives Matter. Not matter more, just matter. Matter enough to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Matter enough to not be knelt on the neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

The killing of George Floyd was a national and global tipping point because the world saw with our own eyes that his life, in that moment, did not seem to matter. That moment was inescapable. It was so raw, so callous, so calculated, and so inexcusable. I was brought to tears watching it. It was so painful to watch. And then I wondered what it must feel like to watch that video if you’re Black.

I searched deep in my soul to find empathy. The closest parallel for me was the feeling I had in the summer of 2000 when I visited Auschwitz. I remember standing there, a 21 year old college kid, overcome with the ghastly realization that my grandmother’s family was murdered by Nazis simply because they were Jewish.

What would it feel like if I had to see images of that on the TV and social media daily? If I had to see Nazi flags at NASCAR races or monuments of Hitler in the state capitol? What would that do to my psyche and my soul? I couldn’t answer that question.

So I took to the streets. I spent the last several weeks attending local Black Lives Matter protests, assembling in support of the Black community who was hurting and in pain. I wanted to let them know I stood with them and supported them. I feel like that’s what being an ally is about. Seeing a friend in pain and saying, I am here for you, I will stand with you, and I will fight with you. Injustice to you is an injustice to me.

This Saturday we are hosting a Black Lives Matter equality march. We’ll have speakers and performers from the LGBTQIA+ community as well as local politicians. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to attend and support the simple statement that Black Lives Matter. But life is never simple, never cut and dry, never black and white.

Recently, a friend asked me if I was aware of the perceived anti-Semitic rhetoric within the ranks of the BLM movement. Completely unaware of this, I started reading up on how the BLM movement, in its inception had criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The first thing I realized is that the BLM movement is not a one size fits all monolithic umbrella encapsulating a unified viewpoint. Just because the domain has something written in their manifesto doesn’t mean that everyone fighting for Black lives will share every extrapolated viewpoint.

Second, did I really need to resolve my position on the Middle East to support the Black American community and how they were being treated by law enforcement?

And while we are heading into difficult territory lets talk about law enforcement. I love law enforcement. Every interaction I have ever had with local or federal law enforcement (albeit a very small sample size) has been incredibly courteous, kind and professional. Could this be due to my white privilege and my compulsion to drive under the speed limit? Certainly.

And while it does not excuse the poor behavior of many police and law enforcement it does shine a light onto the good cops and what they might be going through right now. I’ve spoken to several friends of mine in law enforcement and they are hurting in a different way.

They vehemently condemn what happened to George Floyd. They also feel personally attacked when they see communities painting all cops as violent and racist. Good cops and public safety officers who have spent their careers trying to protect and serve the community. Career law enforcement agents who are working to correct for implicit bias, add body cameras, focusing on de-escalation techniques, increasing inclusion and transparency, and working to help make policing better for every citizen in their community.

So…as it turns out I can’t fix the Middle East or even come up with an intellectually coherent argument for the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I don’t have an answer for what other statues or monuments should come down and which ones should not. I don’t know how to heal society, cure covid-19, fix systemic racism, or how to bring law enforcement and the community together on the same page.

I do know however, that nothing happens without conversation. Nothing happens without getting out into the community and talking to one another. So that is where I am going to start.

I will be at the Princeton YMCA at 59 Paul Robeson place tomorrow from 2pm-5pm, marching, singing, dancing, kneeling, and supporting the Black community. I want to be there to let them know I hear them, and I stand with them. They matter. Black Lives Matter. I think if we can all start there, at least we can start the conversation.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Answer No. 2

TigerBlog has more experience that he'd like to have around Princeton Athletes who have just suffered season-ending injuries, like torn ACLs and broken legs and dislocated shoulders.

He's never really known what to say in those moments, other than a simple "I'm sorry."

As for the athletes themselves, the tears they've shed haven't all been about the pain. In many cases, those tears have been about the fact that through the pain they are processing the fact that the season is gone, just like that.

And TB hasn't really known what to say. He has been always been empathetic, and he's wanted to convey that in those moments.

At the very least, he's tried not to make it worse.

Maybe it's just been best to smile, nod and say nothing.

To that end, maybe that would be best today. A smile. A nod. Maybe an "I'm sorry."

And then nothing.

The Ivy League announcement last night that fall sports had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic was more anticlimax than drama. It seemed that pretty much everyone knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Is there anything to say?

It's all so incredible, or, even better, to use the word TB has used all spring - surreal.

As TB said earlier this week, when the spring season was abruptly cancelled in March, there was the idea that at least things would be fine come the fall. Now that is clearly not the case.

And so the Ivy League had to start with where its main responsibility always is, with student safety. In this case, it's student-athlete safety.

TigerBlog is always an optimist. He likes to see the bright side of everything.

He's confident that things will get back to normal at some point. There will be Ivy League athletics again.

It just won't be this fall.

It's not easy for that message to comfort the current group of athletes, in much the same way that the idea that there would be another season would comfort an injured athlete. It's not easy to have to pivot from the routine that athletics usually lends itself to in a normal season.

Think about it. Athletes train year-round knowing where they need to be in April, July and September. And now it's all up in the air.

Of course, this isn't easy for anyone. It's certainly not easy for the administrators who had to make the decisions, or anyone else affected by it.

The last time there was a fall without Princeton football was 1871. And even in that year, there was still football, only the team played informal games against the Seminary.

Every year since, Princeton has played at least one football game against an outside opponent. The only time anything came close to having a season cancelled were the seasons of 1917 and 1918 (World War I) and 1944 (World War II).

In the World War I years, Princeton played opponents like Fort Dix and Camp Upton, with two games in 1917 and three games in 1918.

In the 1944 season Princeton played Muhlenberg and Swarthmore, as well as the Atlantic City Naval Air Station.

And now there is this.

When TB left Franklin Field last November after Princeton's 28-7 win over Penn to finish an 8-2 season, he would in no way have guessed that 2020 would be the year that Princeton football - and fall sports - would pause.

Nobody would have.

Not the players or coaches. Certainly not the people who had to make the really tough choices that were announced yesterday.

Things will get back to normal. For now, though, that doesn't make it any easier.

This is one of those times where it's best to say nothing.

What is there to say?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


TigerBlog wonders sometimes how many people he's worked with in all of his time at Princeton.

He's not counting athletes here or even people from the other side of campus. In fact, when he first started at Princeton, the Office of Athletic Communications wasn't even a part of the athletic department.

Nope, the OAC was part of University communications and reported directly to the University Vice President for Communications.

It wasn't until 1995 or so that the OAC first moved actually into the athletic department. TB isn't counting the people he worked with tangentially in University communications though.

So anyway, this is the kind of stuff he thinks about.

There is an actual number, though he's not sure how he'd actually calculate it exactly. The short answer is "a lot." Heck, there have been nearly 40 in the OAC alone.

The overall number has to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,200 or so, he'd guess. How much turnover is there every year? How many years? That's a lot of people.

That's a lot of coaches. That's a lot support staff.

That's a lot of kids right out of college who were there for a year or maybe two and then went on their ways. Some have stayed in coaching or college athletic administration. Many have not.

Some of those people will remain among TB's best friends forever. It's sort of the same as what the athletes experience, where four years together leads to a lifetime of friendship.

TB hasn't sat on his Princeton rocking chair much. To him, it's more a symbol than an actual piece of furniture.

It represents, as he said when he first got it, all of his years at Princeton. All of the experiences. And, more than anything else, the people.

More than all the games, the chair represents all of the different people he's worked with at Princeton.

As he said, some of them are his his friends for life. Others are people he liked a great deal when he worked with them, and then they moved on to their next phases.

There are a handful who, for various reasons, just stand out, all these years later.

One of those people passed away last week.

Cap Crossland was a big piece of the fabric of Princeton Athletics when TB arrived, and for many years before that. He died last week at the age of 82.

Cap worked in the equipment room, alongside the legendary Hank Towns, the head equipment manager, and two other legends, Gary Mosley and Furman Witherspoon.

Cap was a gentle man, a quiet man, a funny man, a caring man, a dedicated man. He smiled and laughed easily and often, spoke softly, helped whenever he could and generally made Princeton Athletics a better place to be each day.

TB wrote a story about Hank and Cap a long time ago, and he can't find it anywhere. It's probably in an old football game program, but he can't remember the year.

He remembers that Cap grew up in Mercer County and went to Trenton High School, where he was the first black quarterback in program history. Either he or Hank - TB actually thinks both - went to Grambling and played for Eddie Robinson.

TB can't remember what Cap did before he started in the equipment room. He just knows that for a lot of years, Cap was there, day after day, game after game.

And it was always great to see him.

When TB did a search for Cap, he came up with this story from the Alumni Weekly. It's really well done, beyond the parts about Cap - it's sort of a week in the life of the football team prior to the 1988 Yale football game.

It's long, but you definitely want to invest the time. Click HERE to see it.

As for Cap, TB can still see him, sitting in the Caldwell Field House, laughing, talking with whoever happens to walking by at that given moment.

He did a lot for an untold number of Princeton athletes, all of whom appreciated everything he did to help them have the best possible experience they could.

TB received an email Monday night saying that Cap had passed away. It made him sad.

Cap Crossland was a really, really good man.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Answer No. 1

TigerBlog finally got his glasses back.

Sort of.

He has his new frames and his old lenses, which is better than nothing, since his old frames pretty much disintegrated and he was basically getting by with no glasses at all. It's amazing how little he could actually see when he didn't have his glasses at all.

The other amazing thing was how many times he reached to adjust his glasses out of habit, since he wasn't actually wearing any. This was especially true when he was riding his bike. It always felt like his glasses were falling off, when in fact they were actually nowhere near his face.

He was struggling along with the idea that he had more than a week to go before he was going to be able to see again when the eye doctor called to say that his frames were available and did he want his old lenses put into them? The answer was a simple "yes."

He got his glasses back just in time to see the first entry in a new series on It's called "Today's Top Tigers," and it will feature one athlete, from each team, who has been making a presence known in the record book.

The first subject is Lucy Rickerson of the women's soccer team. You can see the story on her HERE.

The story about Rickerson was the No. 2 story on yesterday. It got TB to wondering what the top stories on the website were a year ago.

When you go back through the archives, you see that the top story was new women's basketball coach Carla Berube's hire of Lauren Battista and Dalila Eshe as her assistant coaches. The story did not mention that Princeton would go 26-1 in their first season together.

The other stories were about the recruiting classes and academic awards. It's the stuff of normal summer content.

The lead story yesterday on GPT? No, that was not normal in any way at all.

The lead story was the story about Princeton's plans to reopen for the fall semester. If you missed it, Princeton will have freshmen and juniors on campus in the fall and then sophomores and seniors in the spring. All classes will be taught online, whether you're on campus or not.

This is not the story TB ever would have imagined a year ago. Or 30 years ago. Or 20 years ago. Or ever.

You can read more about it HERE.

It's also the story that addresses the first half of the questions that TB has been asked for the last few months. What's going to happen in the fall?

TB remembers when the spring seasons came to a sudden halt and the spring semester went to an online format. He had this sense that by the start of the new school year that everything would be back to normal, or maybe he just really wanted it to be the case.

For as many times as he has been asked about what the University was going to do, he's wondered it himself equally as much.

Now that the academic schedule has been announced, there's the other question that has dominated conversations as well. What will athletics look like in the fall?

The Ivy League will be making its announcement tomorrow on that front. TB has heard every possible scenario, and everyone is sure that whatever they heard from someone somewhere is exactly how it's going to play out.

TB has no idea. He'll just wait and learn it tomorrow with everyone else.

He's hoping for the best, as he always does.

In the meantime, Answer No. 1 has been announced. These are times unlike any other that TB can relate to, and none of this has been easy for anyone involved, especially the decision makers and the students affected.

TB feels for all of them.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Happy Birthday To One Of The Good Guys

When TigerBlog posted the tweet with the video of Brock Harvey's 92-yard touchdown run against Yale in 1995 last week, he should have mentioned that the radio call of the play was done by Tom McCarthy.

That's the same Tom McCarthy who has been a Major League Baseball broadcaster for the last 20 years, most of that with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he serves as the lead play-by-play man for the team's television broadcasts.

If and when Major League Baseball starts to play this year, Tom will be in the broadcast booth at Citizens' Bank Park for every game, whether the Phils are there or not. It appears that team productions will use their own announcers, except they'll call away games from their home stadiums via monitors.

It's not as easy as you think to watch a game on a monitor and broadcast at the same time. From his considerable experience doing radio broadcasting for Princeton games, TB can tell you that it definitely adds to the product to be able to focus on things away from the play, on the field and off.

TB isn't sure how many monitors there will be and what they'll be focused on, but it will be a tougher task for all of the broadcasters. Also, with empty stadiums, it'll be weirder as well.

Tom is a pro's pro when it comes to broadcasting. TB can't imagine how many games he's done in his long career, which includes six seasons with the Princeton football team and nine seasons doing Tiger men's basketball. Included in that run was the 1995 Ivy League football title and the Ivy title and NCAA tournaments in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001 with men's basketball, as well as the 1999 NIT run and the 2000 and 2002 NITs as well.

TB's favorite call of Tom's during his time at Princeton was the end of the UCLA game in the 1996 NCAA tournament - "there'll be a new champion."

His second favorite? It was probably the time that Tom was doing a game in Palmer Stadium with Walter Perez, who was then the Princeton football color commentator and who now is an anchor/reporter on Channel 6 news in Philadelphia.

Back in Palmer Stadium, the press box was two levels, and TB had to run stats up the old rickety wooden stairs to get to the broadcast booths on the top, which seemed like a hundred miles from the field. Also in Palmer Stadium, the media food consisted of bag lunches.

One day he got up there just in time to hear Tom say "Marc Washington on the carry, gain of three, it brings up second and seven and Walt, don't even think about eating my cookie."

TB and Tom did a lot of traveling together for Princeton men's basketball, either driving late nights back from whatever Ivy League venue the Tigers had just played in or on airplanes heading off to in-season tournaments. Usually back then, the team would travel a day or two before the game, but TigerBlog and Tom would go the day of, flying just the two of them and then coming back with the team.

TB remembers heading to a game in December 1999 at Kansas, where he and McCarthy flew the Kansas City, rented a car and drove an hour to Lawrence - arriving at the team hotel while the breakfast buffet was still being served. That's how you can tell you got up early.

They also flew to Hawaii together on Christmas 1998. And to a lot of destinations that weren't quite as warm.

If TigerBlog had to list his 100 favorite moments with Princeton, Tom McCarthy would have been there for at least a quarter of them.

The two worked together in the newspaper business as well, but it was clear that Tom's dream was to be a broadcaster. His first professional game was Trenton High-Atlantic City High boys' basketball one day, and he was part of the original broadcast team - and front office - for the Minor League Baseball Trenton Thunder.

It's been awhile since Tom has been the regular play-by-play guy for Princeton, but he and TB have remained close all these years. Tom's oldest son, Patrick, has taken his place at Princeton, as the football and men's basketball radio voice for home games and some road games and some other events on ESPN+. Patrick, who is the next outstanding Princeton broadcaster, is also a minor league broadcaster (he does the Phils' Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley, the Iron Pigs, though there will sadly be no minor league games this year).

Anyway, yesterday was Tom McCarthy's birthday.

Anyone who ever met Tom during his Princeton days immediately liked him and has been extremely happy about the success he's gone on to have. TB obviously has been as well - though, you know, he has missed having him around all the time.

TB got to see Tom yesterday for a bit, Tom and his wife Meg. And Patrick. And even some others in his family who have never actually broadcast a Princeton athletic event.

It was great to see him. It was all a reminder of why he's been one of TB's favorite people for more than 30 years now.

Happy birthday buddy. He's definitely one of the good guys.