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.


Unknown said...

TB thank you for the kind words and thoughtful tribute to my Dad, Cap Crossland. He and that incomparable Caldwell Field House crew were "the essential workers" in Princeton Athletics for decades and it's wonderful to know that they were appreciated and are fondly remembered.
Dawn Crossland

Anonymous said...

Dawn — your father was a wonderful man. He was great at his job, and cared deeply about those with whom he worked. Every player who played at Princeton while your dad was there remembers him fondly.

Isaac D Carter said...

When I arrived at PU from the inner city of Chi-town,the environment was different from what I experienced...however, as a member of the PU hoop squad, I had the pleasure of meeting Cap and Hank who turned out to be two of the best people Ive ever met. Job well done Cap! Rest in Power!!