Friday, September 23, 2022

Two Retirements, One Home Opener

TigerBlog has never heard anyone say "I can't stand that guy OJ."

Okay, maybe he needs to clarify. He's talking about Tom Odjakjian. 

This OJ is one of the most well-liked people TB has met in the entire world of college athletics. Don't believe TB? This is the text he got from Kurt Kehl (the person who hired TB to work in the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications way back when):

"OJ - one of the nice people you will ever meet."

Kurt sent that Wednesday night, after the release went out announcing that OJ is finally retiring after spending the last 27 years with the American Athletic Conference. His most recent title was Senior Associate Commissioner for Broadcasting and Digital Content. 

Before he worked at the AAC, he spent nearly 15 years at ESPN. This is from his bio on the AAC website:

Odjakjian served in various executive roles at ESPN from 1981-94, including as the director of college sports. He was responsible for negotiation, acquisition, scheduling and budget supervision for the network’s collegiate sports programming. Odjakjian was the architect behind the creation of ESPN’s basketball Championship Week and football Bowl Week and had a hand in the network’s NFL, NBA, NHL and Olympic sports programming.

That's pretty good stuff to have in your bio. 

Going back before then, OJ was a football and baseball player at Lafayette. He began his career in, of all places, the Princeton OAC back in the 1970s. 

Wherever he has gone in his career, OJ has stayed a huge Princeton fan. TB has seen and spoke with him many times through the years, and he has always been dialed in to what's been going on with the Tigers. 

TB sends his best to OJ. He's far from the only one to do so.

Read the comments. You'll see what he means.

In other retirement news, how about a shoutout for TigerBlog. He too is retiring. And why not? He has reached the usual retirement age of ... 87. 

FB graduated from Boys' High in Brooklyn and spent a few days at Hunter College before deciding that wasn't for him. He'd take the subway in from Brooklyn to Manhattan to go to his classes and eat the lunch he packed before he ever got there. Maybe that's what was the tipping point.

He'd spend two years in the Army and then bounce around a few jobs until he settled in the insurance industry in 1960. He's closing up his office in Manhattan this week, ending a 62-year run as a highly successful businessman. 

FatherBlog was bursting with pride when he saw his granddaughter graduate from Princeton last May. He long ago became a Princeton fan when TB started working here. 

In fact, one of the most charming things that FB has done through the years is call TB up on a Monday morning to tell him the score of whatever Princeton game he'd checked up on, with a detail or two thrown in as well. It's always been hard for TB to figure out if his father either 1) was trying to show he was following the Tigers or 2) didn't quite grasp that TB was at the game, but either way it's always been endearing.

Perhaps Monday he'll tell TB about how the Princeton-Lehigh football game went. 

The Tigers open their home football schedule Saturday (kickoff is at 3) against the Mountain Hawks, who come in with a record of 1-2, with a win over Georgetown sandwiched around losses to Villanova and Richmond.

 Princeton won its opener last weekend in Florida, defeating Stetson 39-14. The Tigers trailed 14-7 before overwhelming the Hatters over the final three quarters.

The Ivy League itself got off to a 7-1 start last weekend. Princeton's league opener is a week from tomorrow, when the team heads to New York to take on a Columbia team that was very impressive in a 38-3 win over Marist last week. It'll be Columbia at Georgetown tomorrow.

The Ivy League as a whole looks very strong across the board this year. The three teams who went 1-6 in the league last year — Penn, Cornell and Brown — all won their games last week. Every game this year will be tough.

In the meantime, though, there's the home opener against a Patriot League foe. To help get you ready, you can read THIS FEATURE on one of Princeton's captains, linebacker Matthew Jester, written by Craig Sachson for 

Remember, kickoff is at 3. Hopefully you'll be able to be there.

If not, TB can give you his dad's number to let you know how it goes.

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