Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Fairman, Flippen And Myslik

So what is there to talk about today? 

TigerBlog's mistake yesterday?

He referred to the guest room in Princeton Stadium as the Class of 1952 Lounge, when it's actually the Class of 1956 Lounge. It's Class of 1952 Stadium. 

TB apologies to all members of the great class of 1956, including the one-time Princeton Director of Athletics Royce Flippen.

There have been only five people who have held the title of Director of Athletics at Princeton. That's it. Five.

And that's since there first was an AD, back in 1941. So that's five people in 79 years. 

The first was Ken Fairman, from 1941-1970. Flippen was next, from 1973-1979. 

The third was Robert Myslik, who was the AD from 1979-1994. Gary Walters, whose birthday was yesterday, was the AD from 1994-2014. Since then, Mollie Marcoux Samaan as been the Ford Family Director of Athletics. 

For today, TB will share some more about the first three on that list. 

Before 1941, the person who oversaw the athletic department worked for the Dean of the College and was called the Graduate Manager of Athletics. When Asa S. Bushnell left that position at Princeton to become the first commissioner of the ECAC in 1938, Ken Fairman took over as the Graduate Manager. 

The actual Department of Intercollegiate Athletics was formed three years later. Fairman became its first director.

Ken Fairman was certainly an interesting guy. 

Fairman grew up in Syracuse. At Princeton he won eight varsity letters between football, basketball and lacrosse, and he won numerous honors in all three, especially being an All-American in football and basketball.

In addition, Fairman is the one of only three people who have ever won the Poe-Kazmaier Trophy (then just the Poe Trophy) as the top Princeton football player and the B.F. Bunn Award as the top Princeton basketball player. The other two are Neil Zundel (Class of 1948) and George Sella (Class of 1950).

Fairman was an assistant coach at Princeton the year after he graduated, and the one year later he became the head basketball coach. When he moved on three years later to take over for Bushnell, the position of basketball coach went to none other than Franklin C. (Cappy) Cappon.

As TB said, in 1941 Fairman became the AD. In 1942? He left Princeton to become a tank commander in World War II, even earning the French Croix de Guerre.

He came back to Princeton in 1946, and he retired in 1970. 

Other Fairman facts: 1) he was also the mayor of Princeton at one point, 2) he is credited with developing the circular wrestling mat and the circular crease in lacrosse, 3) he was the AD when Princeton started women's athletics, 4) he hired Charlie Caldwell, Dick Colman, Butch van Breda Koll and Pete Carril.

Meanwhile, back at Royce Flippen, did you know that while he was at Montclair High School, Royce lettered 12 times in his final three years, winning four letters each year. He played football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, and he'd go from baseball to track and field to practice and compete. 

In fact, he was so good at track and field that he was the New Jersey Group IV long champ champion his senior year. He went on to captain the Princeton football team in 1955 to a 7-2 record that included a 6-1 run against teams that one year later would officially be called the Ivy League for the first time.

Other Royce facts: 1) he proposed to his wife on the night before his final Princeton football game, 2) he went to the Harvard Business School after graduation, 3) he was a United States Marine, 4) there is still one coach at Princeton whom he hired - men's track and field coach Fred Samara.

Myslik replaced Flippen in 1979. He also grew up in North Jersey, and he went to Trinity-Pawling before coming to Princeton, where he was a baseball player and a member of the Class of 1961.

Other Myslik facts: 1) he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London School of Economics, 2) he also went to the Harvard Business School, 3) he spent nine years working for a chemical company in Europe (six in Italy, three in England), 4) he hired two Hall of Fame lacrosse coaches (Chris Sailer and Bill Tierney).

And there you have it, today's conversation. 

What will tomorrow have in store? Come back and find out. 

TB will think of something to say. 

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