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Princeton Football

Princeton Football

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Princeton Football

238 pagine
59 minuti
Sep 14, 2009


Princeton played the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 and, since then, has gone on to win 28 national championships and nine Ivy League titles. Over the last 140 years, Princeton s Tigers have produced a Heisman Trophy winner, scores of All-Americans, and some of the game s greatest legends. From soldier of fortune Johnny Poe to tragic hero Hobey Baker to Charlie Gogolak, one of the first soccer-style kickers, Princeton Football captures the players, coaches, games, and stadiums that have made the Tigers one of the most storied programs in all of college football.
Sep 14, 2009

Informazioni sull'autore

Mark F. Bernstein has written for several national magazines and is the author of four books, including Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession. He also coproduced and wrote the feature-length documentary film 8: Ivy League Football and America.

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Princeton Football - Mark F. Bernstein



Every Princeton football fan knows about Dick Kazmaier ’52. He was one of the greatest players ever to wear the orange and black, was the last Ivy League player and the only Princetonian to win the Heisman Trophy, and was named the Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1951, beating out such legends as Stan Musial, Ben Hogan, and Otto Graham. In 2008, the university retired Kazmaier’s No. 42—not just in football, but in all sports (another Princeton icon, basketball star Bill Bradley, also wore it). It is the only jersey number Princeton has ever retired.

Kazmaier was drafted by the Chicago Bears, who were then led by George Halas, a legend in his own right. But Kazmaier never played in the National Football League; in fact, he never even went to training camp. Instead, he enrolled in Harvard Business School. I could probably sign a pro contract and make a lot of quick cash, he told the New York Times. That’s not for me. . . . I’m going to get some more schooling. The decision turned out pretty well for Kazmaier, who went on to become a successful businessman and president of the National Football Foundation.

Half a century later, another Princeton back, Cameron Atkinson ’03, faced a similar decision about his future. He graduated as Princeton’s third-leading rusher and accounted for 3,939 all-purpose yards during his career. Possibly the fastest player Princeton has ever produced, Atkinson ripped off 233 yards in a game against Dartmouth during his senior season, not much behind the 262 yards Kazmaier had amassed against Brown in 1951.

Atkinson was also an Academic All-American, only the seventh Tiger to earn that distinction. He had chosen to major in chemistry (not traditionally a popular major for football players) and had tutored his teammates in math. Like Kazmaier, Atkinson also passed up a chance to try out for the NFL and chose instead to enroll in Vanderbilt’s medical school, where he is currently a resident in orthopedics. Ironically, when Atkinson arrived in Nashville, one of the first people he heard from was Josh Billings ’33, who had been captain of the 1932 Princeton team and was a longtime member of the Vanderbilt medical school faculty.

Then, too, take Jonathan Edwards Schultheis ’83, an All-Ivy guard and team captain in 1982. The Philadelphia Eagles, who were then two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, selected Schultheis in the 1983 NFL draft and offered him a contract, but, as might be expected of someone named Jonathan Edwards Schultheis, he had his heart set on attending seminary instead and did not believe in playing football on the Sabbath. Schultheis is now an ordained minister and teaches at a prep school in New Jersey.

The point is not that Princeton players think themselves too good for the NFL. Several Tigers have had proud professional careers. Bob Holly ’82 and Jason Garrett ’89 both won Super Bowl rings. Zak Keasey ’05 started for the San Francisco 49ers and Charlie Gogolak ’66 was drafted in the first round by the Washington Redskins. There have been many others. But they had a breadth of talent and opportunity that enabled them to excel off the field, as well as on it. Charlie Gogolak, by the way, earned a law degree from George Washington University while playing for the Redskins.

If one tries to identify what makes Princeton football special, it might be that extra dimension. The examples are nearly endless. George Shultz ’42 is one of them. He had been penciled in as a starter for his senior year but injured his knee in practice and ended up helping to coach the freshmen instead. That instilled a love of teaching that led him to the faculty at MIT and Stanford University and a long, distinguished career in government. There is also Bill Roper ’02, who coached the Tigers to four undefeated seasons while holding down a job as a Philadelphia city councilman. Or Stas Maliszewski ’66, who turned down the University of Notre Dame to become a consensus All-American linebacker at Princeton while majoring in philosophy and writing his thesis on the nature of God in the works of David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

The Tigers are hard to pigeonhole and their influence has pervaded every aspect of the game, from its earliest days to today. Maybe it is fitting that Princeton is the oldest college football team, with a tradition dating back to 1869, yet they play their games in the Ivy League’s newest stadium. When they moved into that new stadium in 1998, they also resurrected the old helmet design that Fritz Crisler introduced at Princeton in the 1930s, before taking it with him to the University of Michigan.

This book attempts to capture some of the traditions of Princeton football and give at least a hint of that extra dimension. Many of the players and coaches will be familiar to the casual fan but there are many others who were famous in their day but now are largely forgotten. They deserve to be remembered too.

Princeton football is more than what has taken place on the gridiron at Palmer Stadium or the new Princeton Stadium. It is also a pregame tailgate party in an eating club parking lot, a locomotive cheer and a rousing chorus of Going Back to Nassau Hall, a sometimes scruffy tiger mascot cavorting alongside an equally scruffy marching band, and, every once in a while, a championship bonfire blazing on Cannon Green.

For 140 years, the men who have played and coached Princeton football have thrilled their many fans. Theirs is a long and proud history, boasting more national championships (28) than any other school. On an increasingly diverse and busy campus, no other activity can induce 20,000 people to put on their school colors and cheer together for a few hours. Princeton football will surely continue to do that for decades more

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