Friday, July 29, 2022

Alessia Russo? Sounds Familiar

TigerBlog has a few things for you for your Friday.

* This Sunday, England and Germany will play in the UEFA Women's Euro final. If you missed England's 4-0 win over Sweden in the semifinal during the week, you missed a simply incredible goal.

It came when England was up 2-0 in the second half. Alessia Russo took a pass and found herself alone in front, but her shot was right at the goalkeeper, who knocked it away. The ball then squirted to Russo's right, and as she chased it down, her back was to the goal. 

With almost no way to play the ball, she back-heeled it. Shockingly, it went in. You can see for yourself if you start at the 2:30 mark here:


Russo plays for Manchester United's women's team. Were that it, then TB still would have shared it with you, simply because of how stunning a goal it was. He actually had the game on for a few seconds and saw it as it unfolded, and he couldn't believe it. 

Ah, but as he did a little research, he found something even more amazing. 

Russo, it turns out, played at the University of North Carolina, earning first-team All-American honors in 2018 as a sophomore. She was the ACC Freshman of the Year the year before, in 2017.

Hmmm. UNC women's soccer and 2017? Why does that sound familiar? 

It's because that was the year that Princeton defeated top-seeded UNC 2-1 in overtime in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in one of the greatest wins any Princeton women's team has ever had in any sport. In that game, Russo did not score, despite taking six shots, three of which were on goal. 

Perhaps she should have tried to back-heel one? 

At the very least, her goal against Sweden could be known as "The Tar Heel Back Heel."

* Next, there's this photo that Howard Levy sent to TB last week, included in his pictures from the Maccabiah Games.

Yes, that's former Princeton men's basketball player and head coach John Thompson III and his wife Monica with the Levy's (Howard and Riva) and with John's college roommate Jimmy Simmons and his wife. 

The picture was not taken in Israel. It was in Greece, in Santorini, to be exact. Howard said it was a bit of a coincidence that they met up there.

As you know, Thompson took over as Princeton head coach in September 2000, after Bill Carmody left for Northwestern and Joe Scott left for Air Force. With very little time to prepare and with a roster that was depleted by a variety of reasons, including when center Chris Young signed a professional baseball contract.

Despite that, Thompson led his team to the 2000-01 Ivy League championship in what might just be the best coaching job TB has seen in his time here. Thompson would then win two more after that in his four years with the Tigers, before he left to take over at Georgetown. He'd lead the Hoyas to the 2007 Final Four.

Levy and Thompson were teammates at Princeton in 1984-85, Levy's senior year and Thompson's freshman year. Levy was also a member of Thompson's coaching staff. 

Once again, lifelong friendships are born with the Princeton Athletics experience.

* The Princeton rowing program is having, as the headline on said, a "wonderful" showing at the U19/U23 World Championships in Italy. Or, more accurately, on the Italy/Switzerland border on an incredibly scenic lake.

Princeton's rowers represent a variety of nations, including the U.S., Great Britain, the Netherlands, Estonia and New Zealand. TB apologizes if he missed any.

You can read all about how it's going HERE and HERE. Check the website this weekend to see how many medals the Princeton rowers bring back with them. 

* Speaking of Princeton and international events, the Commonwealth Games began with the opening ceremonies in Birmingham, England, yesterday. Princeton is represented in track and field by British record holder Lizzy Bird in the women's steeplechase, Australian Ed Trippas in the men's steeplechase and New Zealand's Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer throw. Their events begin next week.

The Commonwealth Games feature more than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Track And Field, Interrupted

TigerBlog is writing about track and field today. 

In fact, he was 348 words into it when he saw this tweet, which stopped him cold:

When Billie Jean King chimes in on something related to Princeton Athletics, then you have to drop everything and mention it. There is nobody, anywhere, in any sport,  in any capacity, in any way, who has ever done more to advance the cause of women's athletics than Billie Jean King.

That's just a fact. There is no current Princeton female athlete who wouldn't be forgiven for not knowing that, but it's 100 percent true. Without her, women's athletics would never have advanced the way they did, even with Title IX.

So yes, when she wants to compliment Princeton on something, of course TB will start with that.

Meanwhile, back at track and field:

If this was an Olympic summer, then TigerBlog would have made sure he didn't miss out on the equestrian events.

They are among his favorites. He loves the dressage, which he calls "horse dancing." And he loves the show-jumping. It looks so fluid when the horses clear the barriers and reverse position and cover the course, and yet it has to be a really complicated and delicate relationship between rider and horse.

The horse-jumping was called "steeplechase" in Ireland, where it originated as a sport that saw riders go from one town's steeple to another. The distance running sport of cross-country grew out of that, as did the track and field event that shares its name.

Were this the Olympics, TigerBlog would have again made sure to watch the steeplechase, which has been his favorite event ever since he saw Donn Cabral run in it as a Princeton undergrad. Back in his senior year of 2012, Cabral won the NCAA championship and then went on to make the Olympic final, something he repeated four years later in 2016.

Watching Cabral, and then getting to know him, made the steeplechase a can't-miss event for TB. He's loved to see how Princeton track and field has continued to excel in the event, sending one man (Ed Trippas) and one woman (Lizzie Bird) to the Olympics last summer.

They were both on the track at the recently completed World Athletics Championships, which used to be the World Track and Field Championships until now. In fact, both Trippas and Bird finished 20th in the steeplechase events.

Think about that. They're both in the top 20 in the world in their event. That's incredible. 

What makes it even cooler is that they are continuing to build on Cabral's legacy. And, even cooler, they weren't the only Princeton athletes to make a mark at the World Championships. 

Sondre Guttormsen has certainly enjoyed his time at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. First, last month, he won the NCAA men's pole vault title on that field, repeating his indoor pole vault championship.

(note - this is where TB was when he saw the Billie Jean King tweet).

Guttormsen followed up his NCAA titles with a 10th place finish at the World Championships, also at Hayward Field. What's more impressive, an NCAA title or a 10th-place at the World Championships? 

TB might suggest finishing 10th in the world.

Guttormsen's brother Simen, who finished fourth in the NCAA indoor and outdoor meet, barely missed the top 12 in qualifying and settled for 15th place. Still, that's also amazing.

Also finishing 16th was Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer. Again, that's amazing stuff.

The other Princeton competitor at the championships was Nathan Crumpton, who was a Summer (100 meters) and Winter (Skeleton) Olympian within the last 12 months. Crumpton ran an 11.71 in Oregon.

That's your track and field update. 

And your Jamea Jackson update. TB wrote yesterday that there seems to be a lot to like about Jackson.

When Billie Jean King concurs, then you're probably on the right path.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Welcome Jamea

Jamea Jackson is smiling.

In every picture of her on, she is grinning ear-to-ear. If you do a search for her and click on the images, she is basically smiling in all of them, even the ones where she is playing tennis.

Here. See for yourself:

Those pictures reminded TigerBlog a bit of Princeton alum Chris Young, who always had the same expression on his face in every picture of him as he threw a pitch in his 13-year Major League career. Young wasn't exactly smiling, but the look on his face never changed.

Jamea Jackson is the latest addition to the Princeton coaching staff, as she has been named the new head coach of women's tennis. She comes to Princeton after spending the last nine years as a coach with the USTA national program.

She is a former professional player herself, and she reached the second round of all four Grand Slam events in 2006. This is from the GPT release:

Before entering the coaching ranks, Jackson played full time on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour from March 2003 until August 2009, and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2006. Along with playing in all four Grand Slams, she represented the United States in Fed Cup Competition in 2006, and notched wins over Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Amy Frazier, Maria Kirilenko, and Jelena Jankovic, all former top-20 players. 

By the way, if you clicked on the link to read the release, you saw exactly what TB meant about how Jackson's smile.

Jamea Jackson isn't the only one in her family who has accomplished a great deal. 

Her father Ernest was an NFL cornerback with the Saints, Falcons and Lions in the 1970s after being the ACC Player of the Year in 1971 at Duke. As for her mother, Ruby, she is an author, having written the book "Flying High, Diary of a Flight Attendant," which is a fictionalized account of her 30 years in the profession. If you're interested, you can find that book HERE.

Perhaps TB and Ruby can compare writing styles at some point. That would be great. Her book got great reviews on Amazon.

As for Jamea, she turned to coaching after her professional career was over, working as an assistant at Oklahoma State from 2009-13. She also earned her bachelor's degree from OSU in 2014.

Jackson is the ninth coach of the Princeton women's tennis program, which was the first varsity sport for women, making its debut in April of 1971. Louise Gengler coached the team for 25 years, or basically half of its existence.

The coach that Jackson replaces is Laura Granville, whose 10-year tenure ranks only behind Gengler's in length. Granville won six Ivy League championships during her time at Princeton, and she brought the Tigers routinely into the national top 20.

TigerBlog is pretty sure that Jackson is following in the same footsteps as her predecessors in that none of them had previous college head coaching experience. This is definitely true of the first coach - Eve Kraft - and then Gengler and the three who followed her: Kathy Sell, Megan Bradley and Granville.

There were three other coaches in the 1970s about whom TB knows very little: Anne Marie Hicks, Carla Gaiser and Maree McCallum, but there is nothing to suggest that they were head coaches before taking over the Tiger program.

One prediction that TB will make is that Jackson does not finish her career with the highest winning percentage in program history. The best she could do is tie, since Kraft (26-0) and Hicks (5-0) never lost a match.

Of course, Jackson will be forgiven if she doesn't match that accomplishment. There is a great deal to be excited about from the record she brings to Princeton. 

She clearly knows what it means to be a great player, which she was in her own right, reaching a world ranking in the top 50 (43 to be exact). She knows what it means to identify talented young players and develop them, since that was her job at the USTA. 

She has coaching experience on the collegiate level with one of the powerhouse programs.

And she clearly values education, since she made it a point to finish her own college education once her professional playing career.

All of this was not lost on Ford Family Director of Athletics John Mack, who had this to say about her:

“I’m thrilled to welcome Jamea to the Princeton Athletics family. From our very first conversation, Jamea blew me away with her passion for helping young women develop as athletes, students and, most importantly, as people. Jamea will be a tremendous addition to our department and the University, and she will be a fantastic leader for our Women’s Tennis program.”

So welcome to Princeton, Jamea. 

TB looks forward to meeting you. And to reading your mother's book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Celebrations In Israel

Hey, it looks like it'll be cooling off a bit in Princeton the next few days.

The high temperature is only expected to be 85 today and 88 tomorrow. That's downright chilly compared to how it's been. 

In the 14-day forecast that TigerBlog looked at, there were only four days listed that were less than 90 for the high, and today and tomorrow are two of them. 

As Mark Twain once said: Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.

Speaking of places that are hot in the summer, today TigerBlog has some updates from the recently completed Maccabiah Games in Israel. 

He starts today with his congratulations to Noa Levy.

The daughter of former Princeton men's basketball center and longtime assistant coach Howard Levy won two medals in track and field at the Games, taking bronze in the high jump and then silver with the 4x400 relay United States team. Noa was a track and field athlete at Lehigh, where she earned All-Patriot League honors.

Howard, as you may recall, won gold in the Maccabiah Games with the U.S. in basketball in the 1980s.

Now this is a great picture. That's Noa, with her parents Howard and Riva. There's nothing like a great family celebration shot.

There were some other great celebration shots involving Princeton athletes in Israel.

In women's basketball, Abby Meyers led the United States team to a gold medal, averaging 18.4 points per game and having 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Americans' 88-55 win over Israel in the championship game.

The U.S. team dominated the field, winning each game by at least 25 points and winning three of five by at least 30. Meyers, of course, is no stranger to leading teams to championships and winning games by wide margins. She did both this past winter for the Tigers, leading them to the Ivy title and winning all 14 league games by double figures. 

She also had 29 points in a 69-62 NCAA tournament win over Kentucky in the first round. She graduated this spring with a year of eligibility left, and she'll use that eligibility to play at Maryland. TB is guessing she is headed to the WNBA after that. 

On the men's side of the basketball tournament, TB learned that Princeton alum Scott Greenman did not coach the American team after getting a new job as an assistant at Chattanooga. Princeton assistant coach Skye Ettin was on the U.S. bench, with former Oklahoma State guard and current broadcaster Doug Gottleib also on the bench.

Like the women, the American men also won gold.

Princeton was represented by Blake Peters as well, and the rising sophomore played a key role in the American championship, including with a 24-point game that included seven threes in a win over Israel. Also like Meyers, Ettin and Peters are used to winning as well; Princeton's men's were also Ivy League champion this past season.

Here's another great celebration shot:

Unlike the women, the men were pushed, at least by one opponent. The U.S. team went 6-0, with four of those wins by at least 20 points. The two that weren't were both against France, with a 90-77 win in the round-robin portion and then an 81-70 win in the final.

The championship game win did not come easily, as the U.S. trailed at halftime 37-35. Would there be a major upset? No, as the U.S. outscored the French 44-35 in the second half to win. 

It's not always easy to find yourself down at the half in a tournament in which you've basically cruised and then turn it up after intermission. Actually, it's never really easy to do so, and it's a real testament to a team's character when it can turn it on at that point, when things aren't going easily. That's exactly what the U.S. team had to do, and did.

Peters finished the championship game with 10 points, including three more made threes, and three rebounds. For the tournament he averaged 15.2 points per game. 

Congratulations to the Princetonians who won medals in Israel. And to Noa Levy, who might as well be a Princetonian too.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Princeton-Penn 1946

Remember last week when TigerBlog wrote about Apollo 11 and Apollo 12? 

Of course you do. He mentioned that Pete Conrad was the third man on the moon, as the commander of Apollo 12. Conrad was a member of the Princeton Class of 1953.

When TB went back to the Daily Princetonian archives to see if there was anything about the Apollo 11 mission on the first issue of the new academic year, he found no mention of the moon. As he wrote last week, he saw a lot of coverage of the first women at Princeton (women's athletics in September 1969 was still a little more than a year away, and Merrily Dean Baker was in her one year at Franklin & Marshall before coming to Princeton).

That issue of the Prince did have something very interesting though, and TB is glad he stumbled on it. 

As you might know, 1969 was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of college football, which began with a game between Princeton and Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869. Princeton celebrated the 150th anniversary in 2019, including its game at Yankee Stadium against Dartmouth.

Beginning with that Sept. 8 issue, the Prince ran a series on the five best Princeton football game in the first 100 years. For the first issue, the 1922 "Team of Destiny" win over Chicago was featured.

The next day, the game featured was a 1966 win over Harvard that then-coach Dick Colman called the most thrilling game in his time with the Tigers. 

The other three games on the list were the 1933 Columbia game, the 1951 game against Cornell that essentially sealed the Heisman Trophy for Dick Kazmaier and the 1946 win over a Penn team that was a four-touchdown favorite. 

Of course, the game that TB named as Princeton's best of the 20th century hadn't been played yet. In 1969, it was still 20 years until Princeton ended its 14-game losing streak to Yale with a 35-31 win on a Bob Holly touchdown on the final play, after he threw for 501 yards and four other TDs.

Of the five games that the Prince mentioned, the one that TB knew the least about was the 1946 game against Penn. The story in the Prince was pretty in-depth and really gave a good feel of what was going on in Princeton football and also in the immediate year after World War II on campus in general:

In 1946 the post-World War II boom hit Princeton. The polo field was used to house married students. Athletic teams resembled more the Fighting 69th than the graduates of Exeter. The Class of 1950 defied once precious tradition and demanded an end to wearing the "freshman dink and black tie." The traditional enforcers, the sophomore class of 1949, found itself outnumbered two-to-one, and the frosh had their way.

As TB said, the Quakers were huge favorites. It started with the fact that Penn on average had a 25-pound edge on Princeton on line, and that was when 25 pounds was a huge amount. 

Again, quoting the story: "Never," wrote one partisan writer for the Princeton Alumni Weekly, "had the cards been stacked so heavily against us.'' 

The 1946 season was the first for Charles Caldwell as the Princeton head coach. Caldwell, a 1925 graduate, had played on that 1922 Team of Destiny. He was strictly devoted to his single-wing offense, even as most teams started to move to a T-formation with a quarterback under center. 

In 1946, Princeton was still 23 years away from doing so. 

Penn came into the 1946 game at 4-0 and ranked third nationally after having crushed Lafayette, Dartmouth, Virginia and Navy. Princeton was 2-2, with wins over Brown and Rutgers and losses to Harvard and Cornell.

From a more contemporary story:

A near-capacity crowd of 72,000, including a large portion of Princeton undergraduates who later became mixed up in a post-game scramble involving Tigers, Quakers and Philadelphia foot and mounted gendarmerie, witnessed the contest. Bewildered and amazed by a light and green Princeton team that managed, with the help of a couple of "lucky breaks" to hold Perm to a 14-14 score at the half, the crowd as well as the Red and Blue eleven, was completely taken aback when the Tigers rose to unprecedented heights in the second half to literally run roughshod over a much heavier, and supposedly much stronger Quaker team.

The winning points came in the final minute, when Ken Keuffel kicked a short field goal. Keuffel would go on to be a longtime high school football coach, including at Lawrenceville School, who used the single-wing as well. 

As for the riot, well, two Princeton students and one Penn student were arrested afterwards, when a skirmish arose after Princeton fans tried tearing down the goal posts. The Prince referred to it as "The Fifth Quarter."

Hey, the current Fifth Quarter at Princeton football is much more family friendly.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Tracking Heat

It is hot in Princeton.

Really, really hot.

When TigerBlog looked up the definition of a heat wave, he saw that it is five consecutive days where the temperature is more than nine degrees above normal. That means you could have a winter heat wave quite easily, no? 

A little more investigating suggested that in the Northeast United States, a heat wave is defined as five straight days of temperatures above 90. 

Welcome to the heat wave.

If you look at the 10-day forecast, there's only one day where the temp won't hit 90 — and that's when it will be 89 Tuesday. Today's high of 96 will be the lowest high temperature of the weekend, when it might hit 100 degrees both tomorrow and Sunday.

Whatever the definition, that's very hot. 

Here's what Shelley Szwast, the Princeton Athletics' men's and women's hockey photographer among other sports, had to say on the matter:

If you like Princeton sports and Princeton sports photos, you definitely need to be following Shelley on Twitter. 

By the way, the men's hockey home opener is still more than four months away, but it's a good one. Cornell will be at Baker Rink on Nov. 4 in the first home hockey game for the men's team.

Also, if you're looking ahead for the men's hockey season, this year will mark the the 100th anniversary of the opening of Hobey Baker Rink. You can circle Jan. 6 and 7, when Harvard and Dartmouth are at Princeton for Hobey 100 Weekend.

Back here in the summer, if the six Princeton athletes who are competing at the World Athletics Championships thought that they'd be beating the heat, well, no, that doesn't look like it'll be the case. The World Championships, the second-most important track and field event in the world behind only the Olympic Games, will be held at Hayward Stadium at the University of Oregon, where temps will also be pushing 90.

As TB said, there will be six Princetonians there, four men and two women. Of those six, there were five who competed in the Olympics last summer.

The women both had extraordinary Olympic showings. Julia Ratcliffe of New Zealand, who won an NCAA hammer throw championship in 2014 as a Tiger sophomore, placed ninth in Tokyo in the event. Lizzie Bird of Great Britain also finished ninth in her event, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, setting a British record in the process.

There haven't been too many Princeton athletes who have ever dominated something the way that Ratcliffe dominated the hammer throw. Every single throw she attempted at Princeton, from her best to her worst, is better than any other Ivy athlete has done even once. TB knows he's written that before, but it's extraordinary each time. 

As for the men, the Guttormsen brothers will both be competing in the pole vault for Norway. Sondre, the older brother, was also an Olympian a year ago, and he went on from there to win both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships. 

Simen, his younger brother, finished fourth at the NCAA championships both indoors and outdoors. As you may recall, TB watched the entire NCAA outdoor pole vault competition with no commentary and was riveted by it for four hours. 

The other two Princetonians are Ed Trippas in the steeplechase, because what an Olympics or World Championships be without a Princeton men's steeplechaser, and Nathan Crumpton in the 100 meters. Both Trippas and Crumpton were Olympians last year.

Actually, Crumpton was an Olympian last year and this year, since he also did the skeleton in the Winter Olympics. He competes internationally for American Samoa.

For more information and for broadcasting information, you can click HERE for the women and HERE for the men. The women's link includes just an incredible picture of Ratcliffe.

The track and field championships are inviting TV due to the heat. Whatever it is you do this weekend, stay hydrated and be careful. 

So have a great weekend. 

And, like Shelley says, keep in mind that it'll be hockey season soon enough. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Farewell, And Ciao

James Caan? Wimpy? 

Where have those two ever been in the same sentence? How about in a review in the Daily Princetonian of the movie "The Program?" Seriously. Here is the sentence:

The actor is just too wimpy to be believable as a coach who has earned the respect of the 300-pound players and the entire university community.

That is from the Oct. 7, 1993, edition of the Prince. What the heck?

Maybe James Caan wouldn't have made a good don, but wimpy? Hardly. Sonny Corleone from "The Godfather" wimpy?

Forget "The Godfather." Watch "Rollerball" and then see if Caan is wimpy.

Tony Sirico is someone else who can't be described as "wimpy." Sirico spent nearly two years in prison in his early 20s before finding acting, and he went on to play either a gangster (about 90 percent of the time) or a police officer (about 10 percent of the time). There doesn't seem to be much else on his resume. 

His most famous role, of course, was that of Paulie Walnuts on "The Sopranos." He was the most lovable of all the sociopaths on the show. 

Both actors were born in the early 1940s in New York City. Caan was lucky that his Jewish parents decided to emigrate from Germany before he was born, otherwise they likely would not have survived. 

Caan briefly attended Michigan State and then transferred to Hofstra. Sirico's brother became a priest.

The two actors passed away recently. They were two of TigerBlog's all-time favorites who played two of TB's all-time favorite characters, and he would be remiss if he didn't mention them and say that he was saddened to hear of their passing.

One of the best episodes of "The Sopranos" is the one where Tony, Christopher and Paulie go to Italy, to Naples specifically. In "The Godfather" Michael goes to Sicily on something of an extended vacation to unwind after a business meeting, though his brother Sonny does not make the trip.  

Naples is in the middle of the country. Sicily is an island all the way to the south of the country. 

By contrast, Varese is in the northern part of the country, in the Alps. There is a lake there called, aptly enough, Lake Varese, and it will be the home of the World U23 Rowing Championships, which begin next week.

It also appears to be a place of incredible natural beauty, since TB is pretty sure this is it:

That's pretty incredible, right? You'd love to row there, with Switzerland on one side and Italy on the other and the Alps all around you.

Princeton Rowing will be well-represented at the championships. Of course, it's a bit redundant to say that Princeton Rowing will be well-represented at a major international event, because that is always the case.

Princeton has a long history of success at the World Championship and Olympic level. Most recently there were nine Princetonians at last summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The U23 championships are a precursor to Olympic competition.

Princeton will have eight rowers who are competing, which ties with Texas for the most of any college team. All eight of Princeton's rowers will be rowing for the United States.

Two of Princeton's rowers will be rowing single sculls, women's open rower Ella Barry and men's lightweight rower Nick Aronow. 

Sculls, TB learned last year, means that the rower has two oars. Both of Princeton's scullers are from Long Island, by the way.

The other Tigers are women's open rower Camille Vandermeer, who will row in the women's eights. She is from upstate New York.

Nick Taylor and Floyd Benedikter will row together in the U.S. pairs, which means they will both have one oar. Nathan Phelps, Zach Vachal and Erik Spinka make up three-quarters of the men's heavyweight fours. 

For more on the event, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Moon Shots

TigerBlog was a kid at Camp Toledo, a sleepaway camp near New Paltz, N.Y., where he'd spend eight weeks a summer for five summers, when the Apollo 11 mission took place.

He can't remember watching the landing on the news, though he's certain he remembers being told of the fact that men had landed and then walked on the moon by the head counselor at the camp. As he thinks about it, back then, there probably wasn't a TV at the camp.

The first lunar landing took place on this day in 1969, which is 53 years ago already. The two astronauts who were the first humans on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and they spent two-and-a-half hours exploring the lunar surface early in the morning of July 21.

The fact that this happened in 1969 is important, as is the fact that it was done by American astronauts and not Soviet cosmonauts. The space race was a big thing in the 1950s and 1960s, and it became imperative for the Americans to get there first.

Also, back in 1961, President John F. Kennedy had said that it should be America's goal to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade. After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, that goal drove NASA to get it done by the end of the 1960s.

TB went back through Town Topics from that week to see what the coverage was like of the lunar landing, and it was as you might have expected. It was wall-to-wall coverage, and it was very clear how overwhelming it was to those who watched it live.

Mostly, the consensus among those in Princeton who were interviewed was that it was 1) the greatest achievement human beings had ever done and 2) something they didn't think they'd see in their lifetimes. 

It would have been better, for this purpose at least, if it had happened a few months earlier. TB would have been interested in seeing what the Daily Princetonian coverage would have been like.

As it turned out, the next issue of the student paper wasn't until Sept. 8., and there was no mention of the lunar landing. What took the wall-to-wall coverage of the first issue of the 1969-70 academic year? It was the arrival of women students.

The second moon landing, which was the Apollo 12 mission, was led by a Princeton alum, Pete Conrad, Class of 1953. The Prince had a headline that said "Tiger On The Moon" when he got there, in November of 1969.

Elsewhere, it wasn't quite a moon shot, but it was a long shot with a great splashdown at the end. 

What is TigerBlog speaking of now? It's a shot from Princeton's Blake Peters from the Maccabiah Games earlier this week that TB didn't see until yesterday.

By the way, Peters had a 24-point game against Israel Tuesday that included seven threes.

He thought about adding it to yesterday's entry, but by then it was too late, since he's guessing a large part of his audience had already seen it. As such, he includes it for today:

Of course, all such "moon shots" in Princeton will be compared to the one Ed Persia nailed in December 2002 at Monmouth. On that night, Princeton rallied from 10 down to seemingly force overtime before Persia, a former Texas high school quarterback, threw one in from about 80 feet or so to beat the buzzer and give the Tigers a 60-57 win. 

Maybe, though, it depends on what you consider a "moon shot." If you're referring to names, or nicknames, then maybe any basket ever scored by Chris Mooney or Kevin (Moon) Mullin might count as well.  

Speaking of Moon Mullin, how's this for a stat line: 12 for 15 from the field, 14 for 16 from the foul line, 38 points, seven rebounds. That was Mullin's line in a 65-56 NCAA tournament win over San Diego in 1984 at the Palestra. Other than Bill Bradley, no Princeton player has ever scored more points in an NCAA game.

Also, as TB looked back at that box score, he noticed a familiar name who played one minute and had one assist for San Diego. Who was that? Eric Musselman, who is now the head coach at the University of Arkansas. In fact, Musselman has taken Arkansas to the Elite Eight the last two years and earlier in his career took Nevada to the Sweet 16.

Anyway, as for July 20, it'll always be a special day in the history of America and the world. Landing people on the moon and returning them to Earth was science fiction not that long before. 

It came true on this day 53 years ago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Maccabiah Madness

Way back when, TigerBlog's close friend Ed Zucker won a gold medal with the United States team at the Maccabiah Games in basketball.

Ed Zucker played college basketball at Rutgers. One of his teammates on that Maccabiah team was a name more familiar to Princeton basketball fans - Howard Levy, who was an All-Ivy center for the Tigers and then a longtime assistant coach under Bill Carmody, John Thompson III and Joe Scott before becoming the head coach at Mercer County Community College.

Howard is also Princeton's career leader in field goal percentage, having made a remarkable 64.7 percent of his shots (269 for 416). Had he made the required 400 field goals for his career, Howard would be ranked 18th in Division I history for career percentage, or pretty much right between Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor (who became Kareen Abdul-Jabbar).

As TB recalls, the U.S. team had a one-point win over Israel in the final. It was a game that Ed talked about for years as being an incredible experience.

Today in Israel, Noa Levy gets to try to match her father's Maccabiah medal when she competes in the women's high jump. Noa Levy was an All-Patriot League high jumper at Lehigh.

As for some updates on Princeton basketball at the Maccabiah Games, here is the least shocking news you'll read today:

Guess who is the leading scorer in women's basketball in the round-robin portion at the Maccabiah Games in Israel?

That would be Princeton alum Abby Meyers. As TigerBlog said, this is not surprising at all.

Meyers has scored 21 points in each of the U.S. team's first two games, both of which were easy wins. She is the only player so far who has had a 20-point game.

The Americans play the Australians tomorrow in the third of their four preliminary games. There are only three teams in the women's basketball tournament, along with Israel, whom the U.S. swept.

The championship game will match the top two teams and will be held Sunday. 

On the men's side, the U.S. team is also unbeaten, having beaten Argentina, France and Australia so far. The men's team is a six-team field, with those four, plus Israel and Canada.

The Americans finish the round-robin portion against those two, and then the final games will match the 5 vs. 6, 3 vs. 4 and 1 vs. 2 (this for the gold medal). Barring something major, the championship figures to be a U.S.-France rematch of a game the U.S. won 90-77.

The U.S. team has a strong Princeton presence as well. 

The head coach is former Princeton guard Scott Greenman, who is now on the staff at Chattanooga after working for nine years under another Princeton guard, Mike Brennan, at American. Current Princeton assistant Skye Ettin is an assistant at the Maccabiah Games for the United States team.

Princeton sophomore Blake Peters is a player for the U.S., and he's averaging 10.3 points per game. He had a tournament-best 18 in the win over France.

Peters played in 14 games as a freshman a year ago for the Ivy League champion Tigers. He came to Princeton from Evanston High School outside Chicago. Today's trivia: What former Princeton star and longtime pro player in Europe also went to Evanston High?

Greenman attempted the second-highest number of three-point shots in Princeton men's basketball history. Trivia question No. 2: Who has taken the most? 

As an aside, three of the top nine on the list were part of the men's basketball team a year ago: Drew Frieberg (third), Ethan Wright (seventh) and head coach Mitch Henderson (ninth).

Greenman was also a great foul shooter, and he sits in ninth place all-time at Princeton with a career percentage of .809 (140 for 173).

Trivia question No. 3: Who is Princeton's career leader in free throw percentage?

If you'd asked TB all three of these trivia questions about 30 minutes ago, he would have gone 1 for 3 by the way. He'd have gotten the first one right, but not the other two.

Trivia answer No. 1: Mason Rocca. 

Trivia answer No. 2: C.J. Chapman.

Trivia answer No. 3: Devin Cannady.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Hockey's Summer Season

TigerBlog read a story that said that the United Kingdom is likely to have its highest-ever recorded temperature either today or tomorrow.

The forecast for London for today and tomorrow is for 40 degrees on the Celsius scale, which translates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. That is, as TB's grandmother would have said, a "scorcher." The current record for the U.K. is 38.7 degrees, or 101.7.

The story went on to say that, unlike the United States, almost no houses in Great Britain have air conditioning. This, of course, is not ideal.

It did not say if Buckingham Palace has air conditioning, though TB assumes it does. Do the guards who famously stand perfectly emotionless outside the palace get to wear shorts?

As for Princeton, it'll be hot all week, though not quite as hot as it will be in England. Of course it'll be hot. It's July.

With summer at its peak, what else is there to talk about today other than ice hockey? 

Princeton women's hockey was represented by alum Kelsey Koelzer and head coach Cara Morey last week at NHL development camps. Koelzer worked with the Arizona Coyotes, while Morey was with the Philadelphia Flyers.

You may remember Koelzer as a first-team All-American defenseman while she was a Tiger. She has gone of from Princeton to play professionally and to become the head coach of the women's team at Arcadia University, outside of Philadelphia.

Koelzer actually started the program from scratch, delayed by a year due to Covid. Her inaugural team skated last winter, and her Knights went a respectable 10-15-1, including 9-10-1 in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference while reaching the league playoffs.

That was clearly an impressive performance for a rookie coach with a rookie team.

As for Morey, she has worked with the Flyers during their developmental camp before. If you see her smiling in the pictures from last week, it's partly because she clearly loves what she's doing and partly because she will have Sarah Fillier back on her team this year. 

Fillier was one of two players (along with Claire Thompson) who have played for Morey who won Olympic gold medals last winter with Canada. Fillier established herself as a great collegiate player in her first two years at Princeton, when she earned second-team All-American honors twice and helped Princeton to the 2020 ECAC championship.

She upped that in the Olympics, when she emerged as one of the elite goal scorers in the world. When Fillier steps on the ice for the first time this year, she will join Bill Bradley and Ashleigh Johnson as the only Tigers to earn Olympic gold and then return to compete for Princeton.

Speaking of Princeton women's hockey, Rachel McQuigge signed a contract with the Metropolitan Riveters of the Premier Hockey Federation. This was her quote after signing:

"I chose to sign a contract with the Rivs at this time of rapid growth in the pro women's game because I want to be a part of a concerted effort to increase visibility and opportunity for women in sports. I believe that sports are a vehicle for life skills and social change, and women have been under appreciated and left out of this arena for too long."

That's pretty much perfect. TB has never met McQuigge, but he's heard her speak and has been very, very impressed with her each time.

The Princeton men's hockey team had four players represented at the NHL development camps, though none of them were on teams coached by Koelzer or Morey. 

Corey Andonovski, who graduated this past spring, skated with the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he signed a free agent contract. In the interest of full disclosure, TB originally typed Pittsburgh Pirates.

The other three Princeton men's players are all returning this season: Senior Liam Gorman (Chicago Blackhawks), junior Ian Murphy (Vancouver Canucks) and sophomore Noah de la Durantaye (Vegas Golden Knights).

Vegas, by the way, is now TB's favorite team, as its communications director is former Princeton Office of Athletics student-worker extraordinaire Nate Ewell.

And that's your hockey update for now. 

Maybe that'll help you keep cool as the temps soar.

Friday, July 15, 2022

You're Busy On Dec. 8

TigerBlog used to watch a lot of Atlanta Braves games back when they were on WTBS, the Superstation.

This was also when the Braves started to get really good, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lest you think he was a bandwagon jumper, he started watching because where he lived at the time didn't allow him to get Mets' games on his cable system and MotherBlog was living in Atlanta. 

In fact, in 1990, the year before the Braves started their long, highly successful run, he and MB went to a game at old Fulton County Stadium and saw the Dodgers shellac the Braves in front of about 6,000 fans. 

Skip Carey was the play-by-play man for the Braves on TBS. When a game would be out of reach in the seventh inning or so, he'd say something along the lines of "you can turn off the game if you promise to support our sponsors."

In honor of the late Skip Carey, who passed away at only 68 in 2008, and because it is a Friday in the summer and you probably have more exciting things to do, TigerBlog will tell you that you can skip the rest of today's entry if you look this sentence: "You're busy on Dec. 8" and this video:

To the folks jumping off here, have a great weekend.

For those of you toughing it out for another 450 words or so, how pumped are you from that video? 

The Princeton women's basketball team released yesterday that the Tigers will be playing at UConn on Dec. 8. Princeton is coached by Carla Berube, whom you probably know is one of the all-time greats from the greatest program in women's basketball history, though she would never actually admit that she should be held in that company.

Berube put up 1,381 career points as a collegiate player. Her teams went 132-8 in her four years, including a perfect 35-0 record and NCAA championship in 1995, her sophomore year. 

If you're wondering what her all-time record is as a college player and head coach, well, here's a little math:

player: 132-8
head coach at Tufts: 384-96
head coach at Princeton: 51-6

If you add those together, you get 567-110. There cannot be too many people who have ever put up better numbers.

Princeton went 25-5 a year ago, winning the Ivy League and Ivy tournament without dropping a game. The Tigers then defeated a Kentucky team led by the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft, Ryhne Howard, by a 69-62 score in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. 

The season ended with a 56-55 loss to Indiana on the Hoosiers' home court in the second round. Had Princeton won that game, it would have played UConn in the Sweet 16.

Instead, that game will now be played in Storrs on Dec. 8. It has to be pretty exciting for Berube, who will be going up against her college coach, the legendary Geno Auriemma. Actually, it has to be pretty exciting for any Princeton women's basketball fan. 

The Huskies went 30-6 last season and did what the team has often done under Auriemma, which is to say that it played on the final night of the season.

This time, UConn fell to South Carolina in the NCAA championship game. Auriemma has led UConn to 11 NCAA titles, the most in history. 

The Huskies will be led by perhaps the best player in the country, Paige Bueckers, as well as the usual deep cast of greats who have followed Berube to play for UConn.

Princeton had two seniors in 2021-22, Abby Meyers and Neenah Young. Interestingly, Meyers, the Ivy Player of the Year, will be playing as a grad transfer at Maryland, and UConn plays Maryland three days after it plays Princeton. The Huskies also are at Notre Dame four days before taking on Princeton.

And there you have it for today. 

If you made it to the end, enjoy your summer weekend too.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

More Gold For Currier

One of these days, TigerBlog will be able to look back at the Princeton-Michigan State men's basketball second round NCAA tournament game of 1998 and not think "grrrr."

It's only been 24-plus years. You can't rush these things.

TB has been asked several times what the toughest loss he's been around for a Princeton team in all his time here, and he usually answers with that game. 

It's not so much that Princeton "should" have won that game. It's more that Princeton "could" have won that game, and considering that Michigan State had four players on that team who started two years later on a team that won the NCAA title, that's saying something.

The 1997-98 Princeton men's basketball team went 26-1 in the regular season and then easily defeated UNLV in the first round of the tournament (in Hartford). Michigan State jumped out to a big lead in the second round game, but the Tigers came back to tie it late before Mateen Cleaves, who would have a long NBA career, drained a long three to put the Spartans back on top. After that, Michigan State made some foul shots and won 63-56.

Cleaves was the only Spartan in double figures. He finished with 27. Steve Goodrich, who would also play in the NBA, had 18 to lead the Tigers.

Had Princeton won, it would have advanced to the Sweet 16 and would have played North Carolina in Greensboro. North Carolina was the only other team to defeat Princeton that season, and TB would have loved to see the rematch on that stage. 

North Carolina reached the Final Four that year, losing to Utah. Kentucky beat Stanford in the other semifinal and then Utah to win the championship.

It was a great year for the Tigers, one of the best by any Princeton team ever. It's just that it ended with a bit of a "what-if?" feel to it.

TigerBlog isn't really annoyed by that Michigan State loss. It's just that he'd have loved to see what Princeton would have done in the next round. Plus, it would have been really cool.

When it comes to being flat out annoyed by something he's seen at Princeton, there's a certain five-year-old matter that will always bother him. That would be the fact that Zach Currier was not a USILA first-team All-American in 2017.

In reality, he should have won the Tewaaraton Award that year as the nation's best player. Instead, he was a second-team All-American. 

These were Currier's numbers in 2017: 24 goals, 34 assists, 58 points (tops among all Division I midfielders that year), 130 ground balls (that's 94 more than the four first-team All-Americans that year combined) and 56.2 percent face-off winning percentage on 202 face-off attempts. He also led the team in caused turnovers. 

Sorry, but it might be that no midfielder in college ever puts up those numbers again. For all of the great players that the program has had and for all of the gaudy numbers they have put up, TB maintains that Currier's senior year was the best single-season he's seen by a Princeton men's lacrosse player. He was dominant in every way.

And it bothers him still.

Currier, a Canadian, has gone on from Princeton to establish clearly that he is one of the best players in the world right now. He has as good an all-around skill set as any player anywhere, and the results have been championships on the professional outdoor (Major League Lacrosse), professional indoor (National Lacrosse League) and international (indoor World Championships), with a runner-up finish at the most recent outdoor World Championships.

To all of that he can now add a World Games Sixes championship. The new international Sixes game is played on a smaller field with no face-offs after goals, fewer players (the name sort of gives it away), no long poles and more offense. 

It's almost as if a game was designed to best highlight was Currier can do.

It's not shock that Canada rumbled through the tournament this past week unbeaten, defeating the U.S. 23-9 in the final. Currier had a game-high five goals, including the first two, and he took only six shots to do so.

TB has written this a lot, but Currier is as competitive as any athlete he's ever seen. He's relentless. He's the kind of guy you love when he's your guy and can't stand when you have to play against him.

Fortunately for Princeton, he'll always be a Tiger.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

General Managing

Nolan Jones made a big splash in his Major League debut with the Cleveland Guardians.

Called up last week, he had two hits in his first game and then his first home run in his second game. He went seven for his first 13 with eight RBIs, making him the fastest Guardian to reach eight career RBIs in nearly 100 years.

It's always good to see a young player have that kind of success right off the bat. Jones' brother is Peyton Jones, who is a hockey goalie. He played for four years at Penn State, including multiple times against Princeton, and his coach at Penn State was obviously former Tiger coach Guy Gadowsky. These days, Peyton Jones, in the Colorado Avalanche system, is right on the verge of being called up to the NHL.

Ah, but he's not quite there yet.

After Nolan had his big debut, Peyton tweeted out this:

 Now that's pretty good stuff.

TigerBlog is rooting extra hard for these two brothers. Why? It's because they both went to high school with TigerBlog Jr. TB has never met either one, but hey, some connections lead to a lifetime of rooting, correct?

Nolan was the second-round pick of the Guardians a few years back, signing instead of playing at the University of Virginia, and he probably would have made the Majors sooner had it not been for injuries and Covid. Now that he's there, the goal is to stick.

One of the people who will be deciding Jones' future is Cleveland general manager Mike Chernoff. If that name is familiar, it's because he is a former Princeton shortstop, someone who played on Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament teams in 2000, 2001 and, as a senior, in 2003. 

Chernoff is not alone among Princeton alums who are currently in decision-making roles for Major League Baseball teams. In fact, he's one of three Princetonians who are Major League GMs right now, while a fourth is a team president and CEO.

Chris Young is the GM of the Texas Rangers. He grew up in Highland Park, near Dallas, and he was a basketball/baseball star while at Princeton. Do most Princeton fans still remember his story, or has it been 22 years since he competed here and that has caused memories to fade or a new generation of fans to not really know?

Young was a dominant center and pitcher as a Tiger. Unfortunately for Princeton fans, he turned 21 a few days before the Major League draft after his sophomore year, and when he signed his first pro contract, he was therefore ineligible in the Ivy League in both sports.

It certainly left Princeton fans to wonder what might have been has he played two more seasons of basketball. He was already being spoken about as an NBA draft choice, and he certainly looked the part when he went against a few players who ultimately did play in the league.

His baseball career, though, was extraordinary. He won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals, winning Game 1 with three incredibly clutch innings in a game the Royals won in the 14th. He was a Comeback Player of the Year and an All-Star, and he pitched for 13 years in the Majors.

Still, it would have been great to see how he would have done with his last two years in basketball at Princeton.

Princeton alum Mike Hazen is the General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mark Shapiro is the one who is the president and CEO, in his case for the Toronto Blue Jays.

This is all a pretty good achievement for the baseball program. It speaks volumes about the impact that Scott Bradley has had on his players as Princeton's coach all these years.

As TB wrote last week and Monday, there is a host of former men's basketball players who have gone into coaching and basketball management. It makes TB wonder how many of them would have said when they were Princeton undergrads or before they came to Princeton that they'd want to make their sport their career.

Bradley is a baseball guy through and through. His love for the sport is obvious and infectious.  

He has clearly had an impact with more than just his wins and championships.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

No. 22 Strikes Again

Of all the great quotes that appear in TigerBlog's book on the first 50 years of women's athletics at Princeton (purchaseable HERE), one of the best is this one:

"It's cool that Mike Bossy wore my number."

If you were a hockey fan in the 1970s and 1980s, then you know who Mike Bossy was. If you weren't, Bossy was a key member of the great New York Islanders teams back then, the ones that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83, before Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers took over and started winning them.

Bossy played 10 NHL seasons and scored at least 50 goals in nine of them. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and he was also named one of the 100 greatest players of all time in 2017. 

Sadly, he passed away in April this year at the young age of 65. 

Olivia Hompe came along a little past Bossy's time, but she grew up in a family of Islanders fans, including her parents John and Amanda, both of whom are Princeton alums. Hompe wore the No. 22 as a high school hockey and lacrosse player.

For Hompe's part, she was a great hockey player in high school, and she took awhile to decide which sport to play in college. She ultimately chose lacrosse, and she'd wear No. 22 for her final three years as a Tiger.

Because Amanda was born in England, Olivia has been eligible to play for the English national team. This week, at the World Championships in Baltimore, she did what she does best, and what Princeton fans saw her do a lot, when her team needed her the most.

It was Hompe's goal on a free position shot in the third overtime that gave England an 8-7 win over Australia for the bronze medal. Hompe's final goal finished a day that saw her score four goals and have one assist, giving her a point on five of the team's eight goals.

For the tournament, England went 2-2 in the round robin part and then fell 11-9 to Canada in the semifinals. Home finished with 21 goals and eight assists in six games.

As TB said, this is nothing new for Hompe, who is second all-time at Princeton in career goals and points and third in career assists. Her senior year of 2017 saw her put up 75 goals and 110 points, which are two records that withstood the Kyla Sears onslaught that scooped up the career marks that Hompe had previously held.

Hompe is also one of Princeton's great student-athletes of the last decade. Her time at Princeton included three first-team All-Ivy selections, an Ivy Attacker of the Year Award winner, an Ivy tournament MVP trophy and three Academic All-Ivy selections. She was also a first-team All-American and Tewaaraton Award finalist, as well as a Princeton Scholar in the Nation's Service Initiative winner. That's a pretty full resume. 

Another of her quotes in the book was about how she chose Princeton because she wanted a well-rounded experience, and not just a lacrosse experience. She certainly fulfilled that.

Hompe broke the career points record that had been held for 18 years by Crista Samaras, who is now a motivational speaker and great lacrosse commentator and podcaster. Before Samaras, the record was 220 points by Lisa Rebane, who graduated in 1996. Then Samaras pushed it to 270, which was a remarkable number beyond what anyone else had done.

When Hompe chased that record down with 285, it seemed like it might stand for awhile, but Sears has now set the standard at 307. That takes nothing away from how great a player Hompe was, and how clutch a player she was at Princeton.

She appears to still be both. And because she is, England can celebrate with a bronze medal.

The story on and on the women's lacrosse social media showed her with her arms raised after scoring the game-winner. It may have said "England" instead of "Princeton" on her jersey, but the number was familiar.

No. 22 had struck again.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Carril-less Tigers

TigerBlog needs to start with a few corrections from Friday's entry.

First, Rafael Nadal had to withdraw from his Wimbledon semifinal match due to injury, something he had already done before TB published Friday's entry. When TB saw the news Friday morning, he was bummed because he wanted to see how Nadal would have done and because he wasn't sure if he had obligation to update what he'd written.

TB was asked if he thought Nadal was the best tennis player he's ever seen. That's a pretty interesting question, actually, since he considers Nadal one of the very greatest athletes of all time. Where does he rank as a tennis player? 

Well, he does still have the most wins at the majors even after Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon yesterday, so that's a good indicator. TB isn't sure, though Nadal has proven himself to be more than just a great clay court player.

So that's one correction from Friday.

Then there is the tweet TB put out Friday with the link to the blog where he wrote "wishing a happy 92nd birthday to the great Pete Carril." As he posted it, he realized it was Friday and that Carril's birthday was still two days away, but he figured that it was a general birthday wish and that he the entry itself referenced the correct day.

Who would notice, he thought? Carril's son Pete, that's who. He commented that by basically saying he'd forgotten to call his dad that day, which actually was pretty funny. 

So that's another correction.

The last one has to do with the list of coaches who played for or coached with Pete Carril. Somehow he left out people like Armond Hill, Craig Robinson and even his great friend Howard Levy. How did he do that? He did go back and add them. 

Is he forgetting anyone else? That's what TB hates about listing people like that. He always forgets someone.

Also, without getting into details, TigerBlog will always remember the kindness that Armond Hill showed him after an unfortunate incident when Hill was an assistant coach in the 1990s. TB remains grateful to Hill for that moment, and for being an extraordinarily good person in general. He's very glad he had the chance to get to know him.

Speaking of Carril and coaching, and speaking of Armond Hill, TB's list does not include Pete Molloy, who was part of what maybe TB's favorite Carril story as the Tiger head coach. Or at least his favorite that he can repeat here.

Back on Feb. 25, 1975, late in the regular season, Princeton had a game at Virginia. TB has no idea why the game was played when it was, following a weekend trip to Columbia and Cornell and then a home weekend with Brown and Yale to follow. 

Regardless, there Princeton was, on a Tuesday night in Charlottesville. Because his assistants were out recruiting and scouting, Carril was the only coach on the bench that night. Then, with 15 minutes to go, Carril was ejected after a non-call on a play where Hill was taken down and then a call a few seconds later when Hill was whistled for something that Carril considered to be "a travesty of justice," as he called it.

This left Princeton with two problems. First, Hill now had four fouls. Second, the Tigers, you know, had no coach.

Princeton was ahead 35-29 at the time. Carril chose Molloy to be a player-coach. The first thing Molloy did was ignore Carril's instructions and switch into a zone defense to protect Hill. From there, Princeton went on to win 55-50.

The Daily Princetonian story the next day had the headline "Carril-less Tigers Surprise Virginia." The 1975 Tigers lost the Ivy League by a game to Penn, with whom they'd split, only to be done in by a 62-61 loss to Brown on Feb. 1.

It might be just as well that Princeton didn't win the league that year. Those Tigers wouldn't lose again after the Brown game, winning out in the league, beating Virginia in the non-league game and then sweeping Holy Cross, South Carolina, Oregon and Providence to win the NIT, which was a much more prestigious event back then. 

That win counts as one of Carril's 514 at Princeton. Molloy gets no credit for a win, but he does have the honor of knowing that there can't be many other similar examples of a college player-coach.

As Carril tells the story, the team was in the locker room afterwards celebrating when Carril asked, rhetorically, how his guys had won that game. As he has always told it:

"So I'm asking them how did we win this game. How in the hell did we win this game? And then someone yells out: 'we finally got ourselves a coach.'"

That's a great story. 

Happy birthday, Coach. 

Oh wait, that was yesterday.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Happy 92nd

If Rafael Nadal is able to win his next two matches at Wimbledon, he will accomplish two things.

First, he will be three-quarters of the way to winning the Grand Slam, as he's already won the Australian and French Opens. Second, he will vault himself into the conservation as one of the absolute greatest athletes TigerBlog has ever seen. 

If he can bounce back on two days from the physical toll that his quarterfinal win over American Taylor Fritz, which took five sets and more than four hours, and do so against the massive challenges that he faces if he gets to the finish line Sunday.

Just watching Nadal play in that match was impressive enough. At the age of 36. he powered through everything Hicks brought, which was a lot. He did that while battling an abdominal injury that forced him to get treatment during the second set.

His performance was almost superhuman. What does he have left for today's match against Australian Nick Kyrgios — nine years younger and winner in straight sets in his quarterfinal — and then for the winner of the other semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, which makes him the crowd favorite? 

TB is fascinated by how well Nadal and Djokovic do when they get behind by a set or two and how they have such a mental edge against players much younger as the matches make it into the fifth set. There was no point of the first-to-10 fifth-set tiebreaker between Nadal and Fritz where TB thought Fritz would win, just because of how hard it is to win the most important points. 

Djokovic did the same thing in his quarterfinal, coming from down two sets to none to win, also against a much younger opponent. Just as with Nadal, the longer the match went, the better the chances for the veteran. If Nadal loses today, it'll be in straight sets, is TB's prediction.

Speaking of Spaniards and tennis, Sunday marks the 92nd birthday of Pete Carril, a longtime tennis player in his own right. And one of his best quotes ever, maybe his best (and that's saying a lot), is this:

"What good is being Spanish if you can't chase after windmills."

Does TB really need to point out that Carril was the men's basketball coach at Princeton for 29 years? It's astonishing to TB that there's almost nobody left at Princeton who worked here when Carril retired in 1996 (though Mitch Henderson, the current head coach, was a player on Carril's last team).

It's even more astonishing to TB that he is older now than Carril was the first time he wrote about him. That's just insane.

Carril won 514 games as the Princeton head coach, with 13 Ivy titles, 11 NCAA appearances, the 1975 NIT title and some of the greatest moments the NCAA tournament has seen, with the 50-49 loss to No. 1 Georgetown in 1989 and the 43-41 win over UCLA in 1996, shortly after Princeton defeated Penn in the Ivy playoff on the night Carril announced his retirement.

It was two years after he retired that Carril was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, joining Bill Bradley as Princeton's representatives in Springfield.

Carril grew up in Bethlehem, Pa., the son of a Spanish immigrant who worked in the steel mills for 40 years. He played college basketball at Lafayette, where his coach in his senior year of 1952 was Butch van Breda Kolff, the man he replaced in 1967 as the Tiger head coach.

Among those who have been part of his orbit are Gary Walters, who played for Carril when he coached at Reading High and then was an assistant under Carril before becoming the last athletic director at Princeton Carril worked for, and future coaches Bill Carmody, John Thompson III, Joe Scott, Sydney Johnson, Mike Brennan, Brian Earl, Chris Mooney, Armond Hill, Craig Robinson, Howard Levy and now Henderson.

Carril became more than just a basketball coach, though. Almost all conversations with Carril have  resulted in a better understanding of the deeper meanings of people, sports and their intersection. If TB had to describe him, he'd say he's more of a sociologist than anything else.

And now he's 92. 

To those who played for him, worked with him or watched his teams play, Pete Carril remains as legendary a figure as Princeton Athletics has ever had, in any capacity. To those who didn't, you'll have to take TB's word for it. 

Happy birthday to the legend.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Guest TigerBlog - Henry Von Kohorn ’66

As you know, TigerBlog has a standing offer to anyone who wants to write a guest entry. 

Some have taken him up on it through the years and contributed more than once. Today he offers a guest debut, this time from Henry Von Kohorn of the Class of 1966.

Henry is one of TB's favorite Princeton fans. He's a loyal Tiger through and through, but his contributions to Princeton run to more than just the athletic. 

He is a former head of the Alumni Council. In addition, it was Henry who back in 2003 founded the Princeton Prize on Race Relations. This is from the award website:

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations (PPRR) was founded in the fall of 2003. Founder Henry Von Kohorn '66 recognized the need to support and encourage young high school students committed to fostering positive race relations within their communities. Henry's vision was founded on the notion that early encouragement, reward and support for these students would motivate them to continue this critical work in college and beyond. Further, that these students would create a virtuous cycle that would continue to foster positive race relations well beyond the scope of their initial projects.

After TB wrote about "Yankee Doodle Dandy" earlier this week, he received this from Henry on his own love of the movie. TB thanks Henry for this, and for everything he's done for Princeton, and he hopes you enjoy: 

I’m patriotic, and I love the 4th of July – the parades, the picnics, and the fireworks. But, to me, the holiday isn’t complete without a viewing of Yankee Doodle Dandy, the film biography of George M. Cohan, composer of such American standards as You’re a Grand Old Flag, Over There, Give My Regards to Broadway, I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy (formally, The Yankee Doodle Boy), and Over There – the unofficial anthem of World War I. The movie tracks Cohan’s life and career from his days as a child member of his family’s vaudeville act, The Four Cohans, to the very pinnacle of Broadway success. Yankee Doodle Dandy opened on Memorial Day, 1942. Its hokey, patriotic, flag-waving enthusiasm was the perfect vehicle for a country then mobilizing for war.


As is often the case with older films, to those with a modern sensibility the movie contains a couple of cringe-inducing moments, neither vital to the plot. The first, a short clip that depicts The Four Cohans singing and dancing in blackface; the second, an interlude with former slaves paying obeisance to the Great Emancipator by singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet despite these awkward segments, I can’t help it; I love the movie.


Where to begin? Perhaps in the mid-to-late 1950s. I’m at home watching TV. The program is “Million Dollar Movie on WOR, channel 9 in New York. Million Dollar Movie’s formula was to show the same film twice a day, every day, for a week. It presented Yankee Doodle Dandy annually during 4th of July week. I watched it time and again, year-after-year.


There was something about the movie that I found simply mesmerizing – the songs, the unabashed patriotism, the energy, and the Oscar-winning, against-type performance by noted tough-guy, James Cagney. Who knew that Cagney could dance so brilliantly? I now find it fascinating that the director, a Hungarian Jew named Michael Curtiz, directed the quintessentially American Yankee Doodle Dandy, which he immediately followed up with Casablanca, another beloved wartime classic.


After years of watching it on TV, when I first saw Yankee Doodle Dandy on the big screen, I was utterly shocked to discover that the red, white, and bluest of all movies was in black and white. Yet I can’t help it; I love the movie.


The film is full of memorable scenes that have me either smiling or tearing up, sometimes simultaneously.


Between acts of the play in which she’s currently starring, George M. Cohan attempts to attract a skeptical Fay Templeton (Irene Manning) to star in his next production. Leaving to go on stage, she mentions that her refuge from the theater is only 45 minutes away, at her home in New Rochelle. Cohan writes Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway between acts of the play and presents it to her afterwards. Cue the smiles.


Cohan later visits his girlfriend, Mary (Joan Leslie). He brings her an enormous bouquet of flowers and an equally large box of candy.  Then he proposes marriage – all before revealing that he has given the song written for her, Mary’s a Grand Old Name, to Fay Templeton, who has agreed to star in his next show. Mary says, “I knew you did when you brought the candy and flowers.” Cue the smiles, cue the tears.


After their vaudeville performance, The Four Cohans, are taking a curtain call. George’s father (Walter Huston) asks his son to say a few words. In what becomes his signature speech, Cohan says, “My mother thanks you; my father thanks you; my sister thanks you; and I thank you.” Cue the smiles. Many years later, George’s father, delirious on his deathbed, asks how that evening’s show had been received, Cohan tells him that it had gone very well and that he had closed by saying, “My mother thanks you; my father thanks you; my sister thanks you; and I thank you.” Cue the tears.


The most iconic scene in the movie occurs towards the end. Cohan is sitting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to whom he has recounted his life story in flashback. Roosevelt then presents Cohan with the Congressional Gold Medal for writing Over There and It’s a Grand Old Flag, examples of his many patriotic contributions to the American spirit. As Cohan takes his leave, his footfalls echo in the marble stairway while I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy plays in the background. Without warning, Cohan begins to tap dance his way down the stairs before slowing to a walk at the bottom. Cue the smiles.


As Cohan exits the White House, there is a military parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. A band is playing and soldiers are singing Over There. He silently joins the line of march and is asked by a soldier, “What’s the matter old-timer, don’t you know the words?” Cohan grins and starts to sing along. Cue the smiles, cue the tears.


I’m far from alone in my devotion to this movie. Some years ago, the Times ran a series entitled “Watching Movies With/” in which filmmakers talked about their favorite pictures. In November 2001 just after the 9/11 attacks, John Travolta, another notable actor/dancer, raved about Yankee Doodle Dandy. “How often does a movie really evoke that level of emotion, you know? --- and continually, throughout the piece, unabashedly so. I just love it --- Jimmy Cagney made you feel patriotic in that movie --- I get chills just thinking about it.”


Princeton is fortunate to have the Garrden theater that shows classic films, mostly in the summer. In 2018, I convinced the management to screen Yankee Doodle Dandy on the 4th of July. The theater was close to full, and the audience was enthusiastic. What a treat to see it again on the big screen, if only in black and white. I can’t help it; I love the movie.


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Director of Athletics Allison Rich


There have been six Directors of Athletics at Princeton since the position was first held by Ken Fairman, back in 1941.

That's it. Just six.

Those six people grew the athletic program from where it was in the 1940s, when it was an all male school and where the Ivy League was still a decade away, to where it is now, which is to say a model for what college athletics should be. As TigerBlog wrote yesterday, Princeton had an incredible 2021-22 athletic year, winning 16 league championships and finishing 18th — by far the best by a non-Power Five school — in the Learfield Directors' Cup.

The culture of an athletic program is set by the athletic director. The expectations, the values, the policies — those all start with the person at the top. To that end, all six deserve the credit for what Princeton Athletics is today. From Fairman on, their efforts are all still being felt today in one or another.

At the same time, the ability to have a functioning athletic department requires a great deal of people, and it requires them to be pulling in the same direction. There has been an army of people who have worked to achieve the path the ADs have put forward, and all of those people deserve their credit as well.

There have been way more than six people who have worked on the Princeton Athletics senior staff through the decades. These men and women have complemented the ADs as they have gone about their tasks in areas such as business and finance, compliance, fundraising, external relations, events, programming, facilities and everything else that has needed to be done.

To work at Princeton on that level, you need a few things. First, you need to check your ego at the door. As TB said, these people deserve credit, but they also rarely get publicly recognized. 

Second, you have to buy into what is going on at Princeton and in the Ivy League, especially with the concept of broad-based athletic participation, which translates for the Tigers into 38 varsity teams and 1,000 athletes a year. If you don't, you won't last.

When you have a program as successful as Princeton's, others notice. They also look to bring your people into their own programs.

Look at Ivy League women's basketball, for instance, where three of the other seven schools in the league now have a former Princeton assistant coach as their head coach. 

This extends to the administrative side as well. Princeton Athletics has a long history of having its senior staff members go on to become ADs elsewhere. 

To that list you can now add Allison Rich, who was announced yesterday as the new Director of Athletics at the University of New Hampshire.

Allison is a 1991 Princeton graduate who has spent the last nine years on the department's senior staff, as the head of the compliance efforts and as the Senior Woman Administrator. Her role in the department and the University was much more than just that, though, and she was especially involved in the extensive efforts in Jadwin and across the campus related to student-athlete welfare. 

She has also been a leader on many issues on the national level.

TB can't begin to count the number of games Allison was at during her nine years, and, much like TB, Allison is very much a hybrid between administrator and fan, which took her to a ton of games because she simply wanted to watch.

Allison fits to a "T" what TB said above. There aren't too many others whom TB has worked with who more closely bought into the department vision and values, and she definitely was content to be in the background doing the important work she did, with direct results on the two most important areas there are in an athletic department: student-athlete experience and student-athlete wellness.

Now she heads to New Hampshire, a member of the America East Conference for most of its 18 sports, though also a member of Hockey East.

TB knows that Allison never looked at her time at Princeton as a prerequisite for moving on to her next job, and he's pretty sure she's cherished the last nine years and always will.

She made a real impact on the department, and more importantly, on the student-athletes themselves. TB wishes Allison all of the best as she moves from being a Tiger to a Wildcat.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Finishing 18th

2021-22 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings

TigerBlog hopes you had a fun and safe Fourth of July weekend.

Did you see any fireworks? Beach? Barbecue? 

Did you watch "Yankee Doodle Dandy?" If you missed the latter, here it is again:

That clip is TB's favorite part of the Fourth of July. Here's one thing that TB just can't get into: the hot dog eating contest. Just the thought of it makes him queasy.  

Now that the Fourth is over, today is more about the 18th. Not the date of the 18th. The 18th, as in an 18th-place finish.

The official final standings for the 2021-22 Learfield Directors' Cup were announced at the end of last week, and Princeton finished in 18th place (not to brag or anything, but TB said Princeton would finish 18th after the baseball points were awarded when he wrote about the Cup two weeks ago). 

By the way, this is Princeton's best finish ever, beating the 21st-place finish of the 2001-02 academic year. 

In case you're wondering what the Directors' Cup is, it's a competition to determine the best overall collegiate athletic programs in all of the divisions. Schools are assigned points based on NCAA championship qualification and success, and the team with the most points wins.

The Division I winner this year was Texas, which was nearly 100 points ahead of Stanford, who has won the Cup all but three times. If you look at the 17 schools ahead of Princeton, the breakdown by conference is this:

* five SEC
* five ACC
* three Pac 12
* two Big 12
* two Big Ten

Those affiliations are, as an aside, where the schools are today. In the current climate, who knows where they will be tomorrow.

The schools who finished directly behind Princeton are Georgia, Ole Miss, Duke, Alabama and Oklahoma State. You have to go down to BYU in 29th place to find another non-Power Five school other than Princeton.

And remember, Princeton only scored points in 16 sports, as opposed to the maximum 19, because points are scored in men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball and then your next 15 best finishes.

It's even more extraordinary to do this one year after having only a handful of competitions due to the pandemic. What it really speaks to is the remarkable job that Princeton's coaches and athletes did of maintaining their team chemistries and cultures during the year away. It speaks to the self-motivation of the athletes, who were literally spread around the country and the world and yet still managed to train and practice as much as possible.

Once everyone reconvened back on campus, there were two full classes of athletes who had never played as Tigers and another class for spring sports that had barely any experience. With all of these newcomers and all of this uncertainty, it would have been easy to excuse the teams for not being at their best for the 2021-22 season.

But nope. Princeton came storming back, and the Directors' Cup results prove that. 

Think about it. You're a coach of a team that has been sidelined for more than a year. You have some players who were on campus in the spring of 2021. You have others who withdrew for a year. Then you have a whole contingent who are brand-new to what you're doing on a day-to-day basis, how practices are run, what expectations there are. In addition, they hardly know anyone and you hardly know them.

You can debate all you want about whether or not the 2021-22 athletic year at Princeton was its greatest ever.  It's not debatable that the challenges that were faced by coaches and athletes this year were so unique that there was no precedent to draw from. Everyone had to figure it out as they went along. Despite that, it was a year of incredible success.

Also, this is all about points from NCAA competition. It's not about how many conference championships you won (Princeton won 16 of those, with 13 Ivy titles and three from non-Ivy sports). 

In other words, you have to get to the postseason and then compete with all of the best, most fully funded athletic programs there are. To finish 18th? It's simply extraordinary.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Happy First Of July

It's the First of July, soon to be followed by the Fourth of July weekend.

In honor of such, TigerBlog offers you one of his absolute favorite songs by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (a song with "Fourth of July" in the title):

Is that enough for the Friday before the big summer holiday weekend? Not quite. There's also these little snippets:

* TigerBlog walked into Jadwin Gym Wednesday afternoon and heard the sound of a bouncing basketball. When he looked, he saw the person doing the bouncing is a former Princeton two-sport athlete and Roper Trophy winner who is in two Halls of Fame.

Who is it? Hint - basketball wasn't one of the sports he played. 

The answer is Matt Striebel, who played soccer and lacrosse at Princeton (and if TB is remembering correctly, Striebel scored a goal in the NCAA tournament for both sports). He was a member of the 1998 and 2001 NCAA championship men's lacrosse teams at Princeton, and he then went on to a long career as a professional and international player that resulted in multiple championships.

In fact, Striebel is widely considered to be one of the best midfielders of all time. He's in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and recently was part of the 11-member inaugural Premier Lacrosse League Hall of Fame for professional lacrosse.

Striebel is in his 40s now, but he's still very much the same big kid he was when he played at Princeton. He has the same velocity to his life, in which he speaks quickly and loudly, with a lot of laughing mixed in, and TB means that in the best way possible.

He's one of those people you meet in life where every time you see him, you're reminded of why you liked him in the first place.

* Speaking of basketball, Princeton alum Devin Cannady will be playing for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, beginning this coming Thursday against the Rockets. You can see Orlando's first four games on either ESPN or NBA TV, with the fifth game to be determined.

HERE is more information.

If you recall, Cannady first made it to the NBA in 2020-21 season and had a 17-point night before suffering a major leg injury. He made it all the way back from that to win MVP honors of the G-League postseason in 2021 and then averaged 10 points a game for Orlando while shooting 40 percent from three in five games to end last season.

* Women's lacrosse head coach Jenn Cook has added another member to her staff with the hiring of Molly Dougherty, a goalie who won an NCAA championship at the only school other than Princeton, Northwestern, Virginia, Maryland, Boston College or North Carolina to win one this century.

What was the school? James Madison, in 2018.

* When TB saw yesterday that USC and UCLA were planning on joining the Big Ten, the first thing he did was text the news to his colleague Andrew Borders, a UCLA grad, whose response was "wow." To that TB said "nothing screams Big Ten like UCLA vs. Rutgers."

The seismic shifts in the college athletics landscape probably dates to when Penn State first joined the Big Ten, back in 1993. TB was at the newspaper back then, and the conversation there was "how does an Eastern team join a Midwestern conference?" That was a long time ago.

The Ivy League has been fortunate through all of this craziness in that its eight members are set. Nobody is getting in. Nobody wants to leave. When it all plays out, though, it could have an impact on how NCAA championships work, what non-league opponents are available and who knows what else. These are wild times in college sports.

* TB saw this tweet from another of his colleagues, Elliott Carr:

As with the games themselves, the ability for those who work in college athletics to again gather in person has returned. Princeton was well-represented at both CoSIDA and NACDA, which held their conventions in Las Vegas this week.

Congratulations to Jen Babik, the former softball/field hockey great, who was inducted officially into the CoSIDA Academic All-American Hall of Fame. 

And congratulations to yet another colleague, Chas Dorman, who picked up his CoSIDA "Rising Star" award. 

* Have a great Fourth of July weekend. Stay safe.