Answering the Call
Gadowsky ready to fight the perception that you can’t
win at Princeton
knows that he faces a bit of a learning curve at Princeton. You
don’t need him to tell you that – in fact, when you
called on his first full day in the Tiger hockey office, you got
a pretty good sense that the moving process is ongoing:
disclosure: the author of this piece is a Princeton alum.
aside, there is reason to believe Guy Gadowsky's incredulous
response when confronted with the thinking that no one can
win at Princeton. Here are three:
outsider's energy: In any Ivy League coaching opening, people
assume another Ivy Leaguer will have the best shot. But
an outsider – like, say, Don Cahoon, can bring an
energy and an appreciation to the place that an insider
might take for granted. You can definitely feel that excitement
them in: Admissions is a crucial hurdle at Princeton, or
anywhere in the Ivy League. Tiger athletics lost a great
ally when Dean of Admissions Fred Hargadon retired last
spring, but early impressions of new dean Janet Rapelye
are favorable in the athletic department.
management: Nobody expects Princeton to win the ECAC every
year. They never won the regular season title under Cahoon
– in fact, they never finished higher than fourth.
But contending for a top-four finish, the way Brown and
Dartmouth have recently, seems reasonable, and would be
considered a success at Old Nassau.
UAF Turns to MacMillan
call has been forwarded to an automatic voice message center.
[Blank pause] is not available.”
In short order,
Gadowsky's voicemail was set up, and by midweek several other
pieces that make up this jigsaw puzzle of a move – across
the continent, and from an obscure, primarily Division II school
to the Ivy League – were coming into place. Other pieces,
like hiring assistants, await, but the groundwork has been laid,
and so far Gadowsky likes what he sees.
He had the
chance to gather the returning players last Friday afternoon,
a meeting he gushes about. “I loved that,” he said.
“Of all the things you do in a move like this, that’s
not all he was excited about. A Colorado College alumnus, he had
never been to Princeton’s campus before. “You always
hear how beautiful it is,” he said. “Even that doesn’t
prepare you for it. It’s the most beautiful campus I’ve
Rink – a place befitting John Updike’s “lyric
little bandbox” line used to describe Fenway Park –
blew Gadowsky away as well. “I think it could rock. I like
it. It’s got seating on all four sides, and it’s got
a lot of character. Our guys really like it, and it could be great.”
For all that
excitement, he knows there are no quick fixes. Princeton’s
recruiting class was picked apart in the last two months, with
commitments Nick Dodge and Jean-Francois Boucher turning instead
to Clarkson and Yale, respectively. And bringing in reinforcements
for this fall isn’t an option at this point for Princeton,
Gadowsky concedes, like it might be at another school.
not enough to dampen his enthusiasm. It may be an obvious question,
but you can’t even finish asking Gadowsky what he thinks
of the theory that Princeton is a place where you can’t
be here if I believed that,” he interrupts. “I don’t
understand why you can’t win here – it’s Princeton.
You’re selling the best. I don’t buy that at all.”