Martha and the Vandellas asked for “Jimmy Mack” to come back to Motown in the winter of 1967, but Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber and the Tigers got their Mack to return to Old Nassau in the summer of 2021.
John Mack, a 2000 Princeton graduate, was announced as the school’s sixth director of athletics on Wednesday. Mack will replace Mollie Marcoux Samaan, Class of 1991, who will become the next commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Mack starts his new position on Sept. 1.
Just three months shy of the announcement that Grace Calhoun would be leaving Penn for Brown, her alma mater, Dr. Alanna Shanahan, a 1996 Penn graduate, was named Calhoun’s replacement on June 2. Shanahan, a one-time captain and MVP of the lacrosse team, began a nineteen year association with the department as an assistant and interim head coach for her former program.
The 2019-20 Princeton women’s basketball team was by no means a “one-hit wonder.”
It was the product of a process begun more than a dozen years ago. Successful coaches do more than win games; they build a program, an organization that can produce highly competitive teams year after year. Successful programs are designed to withstand graduations, injuries, and the inevitable clash of egos and personalities in groups of a dozen or more highly competitive and talented individuals. To achieve success in college basketball over time is incredibly difficult. To achieve credibility on the national scene with a mid-major program and no athletic scholarships defies belief. Princeton has done that.
In 1970, the 225th year of Princeton’s existence, school administrators decided to adopt the revolutionary idea of coeducation, not coincidentally, I have always believed, in the year following my graduation. One year later, varsity basketball was introduced as a women’s intercollegiate sport. The Tigers enjoyed early success, winning the first four Ivy titles following the launching of a women’s postseason tournament in 1975. (The women played a postseason tournament until 1982. In 2017, the present tournament format was adopted. The top four men’s and women’s teams compete at the same site over the same weekend to determine the league’s NCAA representatives.)
Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated published a longform article Thursday on former Penn head coach Jerome Allen and his part in a recruitment scandal that saw the Ivy great accept money from a parent to place an unqualified student-athlete onto the school’s recruited athlete list. The author wrote his article, which is available online and in the print edition, “with the aid of court transcripts and exhibits, financial records, news reports and interviews with three dozen of his friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, players, mentors and coworkers, many speaking anonymously for fear of personal and professional ramifications.”
The article provided the following new information: During his playing career, Allen faced a series of civil suits over unpaid debts—$5,000 owed to a car-leasing company, $13,000 to a bank, $6,700 to a landlord.
– While Allen was coaching Penn, the school sued him for nearly $25,000 for failing to pay off two decades of accrued interest on a loan he had taken out as a student
Although Princeton Athletics named Carla Berube as the Tigers’ new coach all the way back on May 29, it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that Princeton’s Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan formally introduced new head coach Berube to the Tigers community and media.
Berube, a national champion with UConn in 1995, said she called her college coach, Geno Auriemma, immediately after the Tigers’ job was posted.
“That’s perfect,” said the Hall of Famer. “You’re ready for it.” He then reached out to Marcoux Samaan that same day to offer his support for his former point guard.
At the end of April, Courtney Banghart left Princeton to take the open position at North Carolina. Over her 12 years at Princeton’s helm, she built the Tigers program into a conference power with national relevance. In order to continue the forward progress of the program, the AD knew that this was a very important hire.
Following the sudden departure of Liz Feeley to Smith College in the summer of 2000, then-athletic director Gary Walters hired Kevin Morris as the interim coach of the Princeton women’s basketball team. A 2-25 record ensured that Morris would not stick around Jadwin Gymnasium permanently. The job would eventually go to Richard Barron, who had just built a strong Division III program at Sewanee (The University of the South).
Barron would last six seasons at Princeton, before resigning on May 6, 2007 to become the associate head coach for Kim Mulkey at Baylor. While he only managed a 74-91 record (37-47 Ivy) in his tenure, the 2005-2006 team went 21-7 and tied for first in the Ivy League with a 12-2 record. After the 2006-07 team fell to 13-15 and 7-7 in conference play, Walters was tasked with finding a replacement that would get the program to consistently compete for a league title.
Twenty-nine days after former Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart took the same position at North Carolina and with just two full days left until June, Princeton named Banghart’s successor Wednesday evening.
Carla Berube has been named the 10th head coach in Princeton women’s basketball history, succeeding Banghart after serving the past 17 seasons as head coach at Tufts, a Division III university.
Berube led Tufts to the NCAA Final Four in four consecutive seasons from 2014 through 2017, reaching the championship game in 2016 and 2017. Berube was the 2015 United States Marine Corps / Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year.
Courtney Banghart took over as head coach at Princeton in 2007 aged just 29 with only four years as an assistant coach at her alma mater Dartmouth.
She leaves Princeton with 254 career victories and seven Ivy League championships, leading Princeton to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and then seven more en route to notching more than 36% of the program’s wins in its 48-year history herself.
North Carolina named Banghart its head coach Tuesday, seeing her as the key to a refreshing program restart after the messy exit of predecessor Sylvia Hatchell, who resigned earlier this month after 33 years at the helm in Chapel Hill, including a national championship in 1994, following an independent investigation finding that she made racially insensitive remarks to her players and pressured some to play through injury.
In its announcement of the Banghart hire, North Carolina Athletics led off by touting Banghart’s leadership credentials.