We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Penn is next because once upon a time, Donald Trump was just another ego-driven Whartonite.
Pete Carril is a hoops genius. (At least that’s what the folks up north say.) With a 514-261 overall coaching record and the chief architect of the most boring brand of basketball ever conceived by the human brain, Carril does have his merits. His on-the-court antics, I found, were also a constant source of entertainment for generations of Penn students giving birth to the time-honored chant, “Sit Down Pete!” So what does he have to do with Penn basketball? Well, as Penn coaches came and went (some on to the Hall of Fame), Carril was a constant for more than 30 years in the Penn-Princeton rivalry. For better or worse, he helped build the enmity between the two institutions into one of the most passionate in all of college basketball.
However, despite his elite winning pedigree, Carril possesses a losing record against the Quakers, 27-34. In fact, so frustrated and befuddled was he by the potent run-and-gun Penn offense that after losing a game in 1974, he was heard to utter, “Nature is indifferent to plight of man.” He also saved a few choice words for 1979 Final Four hero Tony Price by remarking that he “belonged in prison, not on a basketball court.”
Stifling orange and black “genius”: For a Penn fan, there is indeed nothing better.