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Chevy Chase, MD No, the most successful Quakers team over the winter was the underappreciated Penn wrestling squad. This year's team blitzed its way to a 10-0 dual-meet season against Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association foes, then conquered a 14-team field at the season-ending EIWA championship meet. That tournament was the climax of a metamorphosis for the ages. In the early 1980s, when now-coach Roger Reina wrestled for the Quakers, things were so bad that serious rumors swirled that the program would be dropped. The big turning point came in 1986, when Reina was hired as head coach. Penn finished with a dual-meet record of 6-14 in Reina's first season as coach. But the year after that, with his own recruits comprising a majority of the team, the Quakers leaped to 10-8-1. Talk to Reina about the improvement of the program since then and the word "pioneer" will come up multiple times. It is an apt metaphor: a few good men delving into the confused wilderness that was Ivy League wrestling and paving the way for those who would follow. That is why, when asked to talk about the heroes of this year's championship, Reina brought up three guys not even on the team anymore -- 1995 graduates Gary Baker, Brian Butler and Gonz Medina. Those were the guys who decided to come aboard in 1991, when the team was still struggling to escape from the cloud of mediocrity that had enveloped it since the mid-'70s. What a run that cast had. In 1994, they led Penn to its first Ivy League title since 1972. Last year, the senior season for the trio, the Quakers had serious notions of an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship-meet title for the first time in school history. But of the five Penn wrestlers that reached the semifinals at Easterns, only one advanced. The Quakers finished fifth. "It was a heartbreaking way for them to end their careers," Reina said. "But they certainly left their mark." The '94 team set a standard for the teams that followed in more ways than one. Of approximately 200 wrestling programs across the nations, the Quakers had the fourth-highest cumulative GPA. The team was as proud of that as it was of its first Ivy title in 20 years. More proud, maybe. It was an achievement in keeping with the philosophy Reina drills in his wrestlers from the moment he recruits them. Every wrestler will be expected to make a full commitment to academics in addition to doing everything he can to improve as an athlete. The resulting program is proof positive that success in athletics and success in academics are not entirely irreconcilable after all. It is because of all this work and sacrifice that goes into being a wrestler that the team does notice the lack of attention and appreciation on the part of the Penn community at large. Having conquered the EIWA, Penn then set its sights on the nation's elite. Seven wrestlers competed in the NCAA nation-championship tournament this season, the most they have sent in recent memory. But Penn seemed overwhelmed by the surroundings, finishing a disappointing 33rd. Now Reina wants to be a force to be reckoned with on the national level. Next year looks like it could be the year. Each of the past three seasons, Reina has brought in a top-20 recruiting class. This year's recruits are shaping up to be of similar caliber. Next year, then, the Quakers should have as talented a roster from top to bottom as they have ever had. It is the just desserts for a program that has undergone nearly two decades of misery, for all the work and sacrifice put in by Reina and the "pioneers". It could truly be a year to remember. The question is, Will anyone be watching?
If you appreciate athletic competition at its best and its purest, the Penn Relays Carnival is the event to see. Like the Masters in golf or Wimbledon in tennis, this 101-year-old event has so much tradition behind it that it transcends the competition and the competitors. People do not come to the Relays just to catch glimpses of Carl Lewis or Kevin Young or to see a particular collegiate event. They come to be part of the atmosphere, of the drama that surrounds every race from the high school level on up. If you want to know how glorious Franklin Field is when it is packed and rocking, you have two options -- the football team's bi-annual homecoming game against Princeton or the Penn Relays. And if you are one of those bemoaning this university's lack of contact with the community that surrounds us, this is also the event for you. Penn Relays is the only time each year when the city at large -- and the world at large, for that matter -- is invited to converge on this campus. It is a coming-out party for all of Philadelphia, and Penn gets to play host. For any number of reasons, the Relays is one of the crown jewels of Penn's athletic department, and it should be treated as such. That's what makes the allegations issued by former Penn Relays Director Tim Baker, when he resigned a little more than three months ago, all the more disturbing. For those who missed it, Baker's letter of resignation included a number of ominous statements about the future of the Relays. Foremost among his complaints was that the Athletic Department plans to cut money given to visiting teams by over $90,000 for the sake of increasing profits. That move could have serious repercussions for the ability of the Relays to attract top collegiate-level teams from around the country and the world. Still, the Penn Relays is too big to be seriously affected by a loss of $90,000. The worst part about this policy is not the practical implications it has, but rather the attitude it conveys. Baker put it best in his letter when he claimed that the Athletic Department "looks at Penn Relays basically as a cash cow that they can use." A cash cow is a far cry from a crown jewel. If Baker meant to imply that the Athletic Department simply does not care about the importance of the Relays for this campus and this community, he is almost certainly wrong. In all likelihood, with numerous Penn teams clamoring for a larger piece of a very limited budget, the Athletic Department truly needs the money it will get by curbing the funds going to the Relays. But keeping all that in mind does not make the situation any less troubling. The infiltration of money into sports has long been a recurring tragedy. Ever since greedy Walter O' Malley took the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, teams and events that are veritable institutions in their respective communities have succumbed to the almighty dollar. The Dodgers reference was not meant to insinuate that the Relays will be going anywhere anytime soon. A few less teams competing and a few cancelled races is no reason for all-out panic. It's just that this event could not have survived and grown for 101 years if it had not received a tremendous amount of care and nurturing from those in charge of it. In an ideal world, the Athletic Department would feel a sense of responsibility to everyone who came before it -- competitors, organizers and fans -- and who made the Penn Relays Carnival what it is today. In an ideal world, 101 years worth of tradition would be worth a few less dollars and little more red ink. As sports has proven time and again, however, this is not an ideal world.
The fact is we are not talking about one or two disgruntled players going to the coach to complain about a lack of playing time. Instead, we are talking about borderline coup d'Ztats. This past winter, the members of the women's crew team issued a joint statement accusing coach Carol Bower of being, in a word, ineffective. The team called for Bower's resignation and said it would not row if her tenure continued. The athletic department was able to work out a compromise, according to which Bower would remain as coach but would make significant changes in the program. Members of the women's and men's swimming teams, in April 1993 and September 1994, respectively, submitted petitions to the athletic department requesting the dismissal of coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert and threatening to quit if she was retained. She was, and six women's swimmers went ahead and left the team in October of 1993. The women's team has not won an Ivy League dual meet since that exodus. And while it has neither signed any petitions nor placed any formal demands with the athletic department -- at least none that has been made public -- the softball team has been plagued by discontent for at least two years now. It is known that a number of team members are extremely dissatisfied with coach Linda Carothers. Whether the above are a series of unconnected coincidences or are emblematic of a serious problem affecting today's player-coach relationships, one thing is for certain. The Penn athletic department -- dating back to the spring of 1993 when then-Athletic Director Paul Rubincam listened to the complaints of the women swimmers -- has been anything but trigger-happy toward its coaches. Despite a plethora of mediocre and poor teams on campus, the only coach fired or pressured to resign in the past four years was Steve Baumann, who stepped down from the men's soccer post before the 1993 season. Deservedly or not, the Penn athletic department has gained a reputation among athletes for being inapproachable when it comes to problems with coaches. The women swimmers were furious three years ago when no one took their complaints seriously. Happily, under Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, the athletic department has tried to be more responsive to the women's crew team, helping the team and coach to reach a compromise. It is clear from the team's comments thus far this season that it does not consider the situation ideal. But at least things are more tolerable now. To some extent, the athletic department should be commended for being so exceedingly cautious with rifts between players and coaches. It is a tragedy whenever a coach is fired without just cause. These are people's livelihoods we're talking about, and no coach should have his or her life turned upside down simply because the players are angry at him or her. But the demands of the athletes must never be dismissed offhand. Not ever. Men's basketball coach Fran Dunphy, one of the most successful coaches in any sport at any school, likes to refer to himself as a "facilitator" for his players. He may just have it right. If an entire team, or half a team, has a serious enough problem with a coach to present a unified front to the athletic department, it may just have a point. In such a scenario, the athletic department's policy should strongly encourage a coach to listen to his team and give great thought to altering his ways. If he refuses, then harsh as it sounds, a coaching change should be made. Any other policy fails to remember that collegiate sports are, by nature, of and for the student-athletes, designed to enrich and educate them. Simply, any other policy fails the student-athlete.
A 26-year coaching veteran in a high-profile collegiate sport is a rarity these days. Many get axed because of a poor season or two. Just as many burn out or lose their passion for the game. But somehow, Bob Seddon has managed to pull it off. It is with this background in mind that one can understand what has made Seddon the longest-running head coach at Penn, beginning his tenure as men's soccer coach two years before he took over the baseball program. He loves baseball not just for the sport of it, but for the camaraderie. He appreciates Penn as a school and as a community, as much as he does the six league championships he has won here. He feels as rewarded by the character of the players he works with year in and year out as he does by the All-Americans he has had an opportunity to coach. With that love for the simplicities of the game in mind, it is easy to understand why Seddon says he has as much enthusiasm for what he does right now as he did the day he started. "I get up each morning and go to my job, but I don't consider it a job," Seddon said. "Not too many people can say that, which is sad." The sheer pleasure he takes in what he does allows him to avoid the burnout that is seemingly an inherent part of the game. Ask Seddon to describe his coaching style and he replies with "easygoing." His players would certainly agree. He is a constant contender for the Ian Award, granted every season to the goofiest member of the team. Surely a coach can be too easygoing. Any sports team at any level needs to be instilled with a certain amount of discipline, or it will not succeed. A laid-back attitude will not translate into a great deal of fun if the team is losing. But for a number of years now Seddon has managed to achieve that happy medium between disciplinarian and pal. His style has helped the Quakers to a tremendous run of success of late. After winning the Ivy League last May, Penn arrived at the NCAA regionals as loose as ever and nearly shocked the pants off two clearly superior teams, Auburn and Indiana State. Early last season, when the Quakers were struggling to win league games, Seddon freely questioned the team's heart and will to win. Thus inspired, Penn won nine of its final 10 Ivy contests. But Seddon was not always able to walk that fine line. When he first started out he looked, he said, "like Steve Lappas on the bench," referring to the always-flustered Villanova men's basketball coach. Winning was what mattered most to Seddon, and not winning took its toll. Seddon's appreciation for the game itself, rather than for merely winning the game, has developed over his 26 years in the business. Now he does not mind if his players question some of his decisions. Now he makes it a point to kid around with the players sometimes, to not always remain aloof. "I've learned that it is possible to win and to care," Seddon said. "That's one of the biggest things I've learned in all the years I've been doing this." As a result, he is arguably better today at what he is doing than he has ever been. Too many times these days in coaching, as in most areas of the job market, those with the most experience are forced out of their jobs or into a lesser position because of age. Seddon, now in his sixties, is proof that sometimes older means wiser -- not more senile. And while the end may be approaching for the sure-fire future Penn Athletic Hall of Famer, it is not yet in sight. Seddon feels as energetic as he ever has and hates to think about not coaching, especially with the Quakers in excellent position to win the Ivy League once more this season. But all good things must come to an end at some point. All Seddon wants is a chance to make the decision to get out before it becomes too obvious that he has stayed past his own good. It would be a shame if he is ever forced out or pressured to resign, as seems to occur so frequently in coaching. After 28 years of service to this university, the least Bob Seddon deserves is the opportunity to go out on his terms.
Unbeknownst to a large majority of the local reading population, a team that calls the Palestra home won both the Ivy League and a regional championship this past season. Everyone knows it was not the men's basketball team, and don't even joke about the 3-23 women's hoops squad. That tournament was the climax of a metamorphosis for the ages. In the early 1980s, when now-coach Roger Reina wrestled for the Quakers, things were so bad that serious rumors swirled that the program would be dropped. The most important turning point came in 1986, when Reina was hired as head coach. Penn finished with a dual-meet record of 6-14 in Reina's first season as coach. But the year after that, with his own recruits comprising a majority of the team, the Quakers leaped to 10-8-1. Talk to Reina about the improvement of the program since then and the word "pioneer" will come up multiple times. It is an apt metaphor: a few good men delving into the confused wilderness that was the wrestling program and paving the way for those who would follow. That is why, when asked to talk about the heroes of this year's championship, Reina brought up three guys not even on the team anymore -- 1995 graduates Gary Baker, Brian Butler and Gonz Medina. Those were the guys who decided to come aboard in 1991, when the team was still struggling to escape from the cloud of mediocrity that had enveloped it since the mid-'70s. What a run that cast had. In 1994, they led Penn to its first Ivy League title since 1972. Last year, the senior season for Baker, Butler and Medina, the Quakers had serious notions of an EIWA championship-meet title for the first time in school history. But of the five Penn wrestlers that reached the semifinals, only one was able to advance. The Quakers finished fifth. "It was a heartbreaking way for them to end their careers," Reina said. "But they certainly left their mark." The '94 team set a standard for the teams that followed in more ways than one. Of approximately 200 wrestling programs across the nations, the Quakers had the fourth-highest cumulative GPA. The team was as proud of that as it was of its first Ivy title in 20 years. More proud, maybe. It was an achievement in keeping with the philosophy Reina drills in his wrestlers from the moment he recruits them. Every wrestler will be expected to make a full commitment to academics in addition to doing everything he can to improve as an athlete. The resulting program is proof positive that success in athletics and success in academics are not entirely irreconcilable after all. But the program has not reached this level without an immense sacrifice on the part of all the wrestlers. The amount of conditioning and technique work required to be a Division I college wrestler is almost overwhelming. Plus there are the demands of an Ivy League-quality classload. Add all that up, and you are not left with a great deal of time to just kick back and be a regular college student. It is because of all this work and sacrifice that goes into being a wrestler that the team does notice the lack of attention and appreciation on the part of the Penn community at large. To say the Quakers are disgruntled would not be accurate. But they do notice. All they can really do about it, though, is keep improving the program to the point where people have to start paying attention, according to Reina. Having conquered the EIWA, Penn is now setting its sights on the nation's elite. The Quakers sent seven wrestlers to the NCAA nation-championship tournament this season, the most they have sent in recent memory. But Penn seemed overwhelmed by the surroundings, finishing a disappointing 33rd. Now Reina wants to be a force to be reckoned with on the national level. Next year looks like it could be the year. Each of the past three seasons Reina has brought in a top-20 recruiting class. This year's recruits are shaping up to be of similar caliber. Next year, then, the Quakers should have as talented a roster from top to bottom as they have ever had. It is the just desserts for a program that has undergone nearly two decades of misery, for all the work and sacrifice put in by Reina and the "pioneers". It could truly be a year to remember. The question is, Will anyone be watching?
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Two Ivy League institutions came to a valiant close 10 days ago in Bethlehem, Pa. One crumbled to the ground, finally beaten after putting up the fight of a lifetime. The other rode off into the NCAA sunset in a blaze of glory. Recently he has come to be known to one and all as Yoda. Too many fans these days think the moniker refers to Carril's goofy looking features, funny voice and age. Too many times of late, Carril the character has overshadowed Carril the coach. Part of Carril's charm is, without a doubt, the senile manner in which he carries himself. Without the trademark sweaters and the my-team-is-hopeless scowls, without that unmatched ability to find the most random topics to converse about with reporters, Carril would not be Carril. But Carril really earned the name Yoda because he is the closest thing to a Jedi Master that college basketball has had in recent memory. He performed the same wonders with his players that Yoda did with Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars trilogy. How else could a bunch of slow stiffs come within a botched no-call by an official of upsetting one of the all-time college basketball powerhouses in that 1989 Georgetown squad in the '89 NCAA tournament. Ten nights ago the Quakers were the victims of a little Jedi magic. In both regular-season games between the two teams, Penn forward Donald Moxley appeared to have taken the mantle of designated Princeton killer away from center Tim Krug. As the Tigers keyed on guard Ira Bowman and Krug, they seemed helpless to also stop Moxley, who led all Penn scorers in both games. So what does Carril do? He removes freshman phenom Brian Earl from the starting lineup and puts in fellow rookie Gabe Lewellus. He does it not as part of some grand plan, but on, he says, a hunch. Call it Jedi intuition. And what does Lewellus do in his first career start? He helps hold Moxley to an 0-for-14 performance from the field. Five days later, making another start, Lewellus backdoors UCLA's Charles O'Bannon into oblivion, scoring the winning basket on a layup in the final seconds of Princeton's first-round upset over the fourth-seeded Bruins. When the 65-year-old coach sensed the game was passing him by just a little too much, he stepped down without any prodding. But he still had a little bit of magic left in him, enough to dethrone the three-time defending Ivy League champions and the defending national champions all in one week. And what about those three-time defending Ivy League champs? They were an institution themselves, dominating the Ancient Eight as no school ever has and doing the league every bit as proud in the NCAAs as Carril's squad did this year. But after Sydney Johnson's shot-put style three-pointer touched nothing but net in the waning moments of overtime, the Quakers were just another runner-up. Or were they? That Penn failed in its task last Saturday is obvious. The Quakers came out inexcusably flat, scoring a horrid 17 points in the first half and digging themselves a hole they couldn't quite get out of. But when you think about what the Quakers endured this year, coming within a minute or so of a fourth-straight Ivy title is simply incredible. First five starters from the 1995 team graduated. That in itself could have been an insurmountable obstacle. Then George Zaninovich, thought to be a potential starter going into the season, left the team in the preseason. Then former Indiana Hoosier Rob Hodgson decided no, he didn't want to transfer to Penn after all. Four games into the year starting point guard Jamie Lyren went down with a season-ending ankle injury. Then Vigor Kapetanovic and Bill Guthrie, a key sub and a starter respectively, had to quit because of academics. Then starting forward Nat Graham quit for personal reasons. In this light, coach Fran Dunphy and senior co-captains Bowman and Krug deserve all the credit in the world for taking this team to the heights it reached. Indeed, it was only when Krug joined the above list of casualties by fouling out in overtime against Princeton that the Quakers finally succumbed. Before that, they had survived the mass exodus of personnel, plus the heartbreaking end of their record 48-game Ivy winning streak at Dartmouth, plus a ridiculous loss at Yale, plus the horrid start in Bethlehem against Princeton. That they had battled through that entire season of tribulation to take the lead over the Tigers in overtime and have the NCAAs directly in their sights is as noteworthy an accomplishment as anything this program has done the past few years. The quick forecast for next year: cloudy but with definite patches of sunshine. Having lost five starters to graduation last year, the Quakers must now bid farewell to their three best starters -- Bowman, Krug and Moxley -- plus sixth-man Cedric Laster. That may be too much for any program to endure in a span of two years. Then again, it may not be. Freshman Paul Romanczuk and sophomore Garett Kreitz, neither of whom could ever have imagined playing so much this year, will be back starting. The wars they have endured this season will stand them in good stead in the future. Talented seventh-man Frankie Brown will be back too. And don't forget Lyren and George Mboya, the Rice transfer who reportedly could have started with the Owls this season had he chosen to stay there. Plus there's Jed Ryan and what is shaping up to be a strong recruiting class. With 11 players returning, Princeton, even without Carril, will be the heavy favorite to repeat. The Quakers should contend, though, if all those pieces fall into place, and if they adopt the never-give-up persona that will be the legacy of this year's seniors.
About a half-hour before tipoff last night, a fan decked out in Princeton orange and black was standing outside the Palestra telling a friend about the ticket he had just scalped. "It's worth it," the Princeton guy said. "Forty bucks is definitely worth it to get in. This is the changing of the guard we're about to see." But by the end of the game, for that fan and about 1,000 others like him, it was as if the crew in front of Buckingham Palace had packed up and gone home without any ceremony, without even so much as a goodbye. The Tigers spent most of the second half finding new ways to say, "All right, you win again this time. We'll see you at Lehigh." Indeed, the only interesting thing the fans sitting behind the Princeton bench got to see was the changing of the garb. The sweater was off Tigers coach Pete Carril before the game was two minutes old. On more than one occasion the rest of the way, as the Tigers struggled to generate any semblance of an offense, Carril tried to rip his shirt off as well, then thought better of it. One thing is for sure: Carril could not have looked any worse sans shirt than his team did trying in vain to produce points last night. If the Princeton offense wants to vanish in these bigger-than-life games, Penn is only too happy to take advantage. Quakers center Tim Krug would probably be the first to tell you his Senior Night performance was not one of his most memorable. But the Penn co-captain got plenty of help, unlike his Princeton counterpart, Steve Goodrich. Goodrich torched the Quakers for 26 tough points. The rest of his team had 23. Were the Tigers' offensive woes a result of the coaching of Penn's Fran Dunphy, or the fact that the Quakers undoubtedly raise their level of play a notch against their arch-rivals, or some little devil hovering over Carril's shoulder? Probably all of the above. For every time the smothering Penn 'D' did in a Princeton offensive possession, the Tigers killed themselves. What open looks they did get had woefully little chance of going in. Two-of-14 from behind the arc is not going to win you many big games, especially when, on average, 48 percent of your field goal attempts are from three-point range. Princeton fans can talk as much as they want about having the higher mean IQ. The fact remains that every time the Quakers and Tigers have hooked up on the basketball court the past four years, Penn has been the smarter team. The Quakers' performance against Princeton is never beautiful, but it does the job. Conversely, Princeton routinely appears flustered, panicked and, well, stupid. The Quakers' smarts were very much in evidence after the final buzzer. Penn fans stormed the court in ecstasy. But unlike last year, when players and fans celebrated together after the final home game, this year the Quakers shook hands with the Tigers and calmly left the court. The message was clear and obvious -- there is still work to be done. So now it's on to this one-game playoff. Should the Quakers falter Saturday, it will be tempting for fans to blame the Ivy League. Throughout the sports world, head-to-head is traditionally the first tiebreaker used. Penn swept both games from the Tigers in 1995-96. Don't the Quakers deserve the bid? In truth, Penn will have no one to blame but itself should it leave Lehigh on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Its two conference defeats, particularly the one to a clearly inferior Yale team, should never have happened. Take away either that loss or the heartbreaker at Dartmouth, and the Quakers are in the NCAAs right now off last night's victory. The guess here, though, is that all of that talk will be moot by around 9:30 Saturday night. I'll take Ira Bowman, Krug and Dunphy in a big game over anyone on the Princeton roster. Donald Moxley had his second straight brilliant game against the Tigers last night. Why should anything change Saturday? Carril and the Tigers have been trying to adjust to the Quakers for four years now, and have been completely unable to do so. One of the hardest tasks in college basketball is to defeat an opponent three times in one year. But if the opponent just cannot match up, it may not be so difficult after all. Goodrich will not score 26 points on Krug Saturday. Meanwhile, guys like Chris Doyal and Sydney Johnson have been stymied by the Quakers every time they have stepped on the court against them. Penn 60, Princeton 51. Save your money, Tigers fans. There will be no changing of the guard this year.
Lurking beneath the excitement in the Quakers camp, though, is a kind of bitter sadness. It's not because a team that reached the NCAA tournament last season lost several key players to graduation. It has to do with a program feeling spurned and unappreciated in the wake of a series of events that are encompassed by as touchy an issue as this university's athletic department has ever had to deal with. Different sources tell the story different ways, but it seems to go something like this. Having been banished from its Franklin Field locker room to the Hollenbach Center when spring football practice was instituted, the baseball team two years ago received an anonymous donation -- in the neighborhood of half-million dollars -- for a locker room facility to be built right next to Bower Field. But the construction costs exceeded expectations, so the plans had to be scrapped. The donor then said the money could go to a new locker room for the team to be built in the caverns of Franklin Field. But those plans were unexpectedly nixed by the athletic department. Such a facility, it seems, would have violated Title IX, which guarantees equality for men's and women's sports at all universities receiving federal funding. Because it would have been impossible to build a comparable facility for softball, the financial see-saw would have been tilted too much toward the men's sports side. It's my guess that, whether the athletic department admits it or not, the proposed locker room was a victim of bad timing. This was right around the time, in the summer of 1994, that a complaint was filed on behalf of 10 Penn coaches and female athletes alleging discrimination in University athletics in violation of Title IX. Among the inequities cited in the complaint were facility disparities. Building an expensive locker area for baseball -- while the softball team languished in its dank Hollenbach Center dressing room -- would not have been the wisest thing to do as the University tried to reach a settlement in the Title IX suit. A compromise was reached, according to which the Hollenbach Center, the baseball team's temporary home since 1994, would become its permanent home after undergoing an overhaul. (Ironically, the cost for the refurbishing was paid -- in part -- by another private donation given to the baseball team, this one for a press box to be built at Bower Field.) The upstairs portion of the center now holds locker rooms for the baseball, men's soccer and lacrosse teams. Downstairs are locker rooms for the softball team as well as a couple of other women's squads. So everything is nice and equal and the University of Pennsylvania is in total compliance with Title IX on this particular issue. In truth, though, everything is not equal. See, while the softball team can step out the back door of its locker room and walk across a couple of soccer fields and be on its playing field, the baseball team has to trek each day from Hollenbach across the Schuylkill Expressway overpass, around Franklin Field, behind the Palestra and down to Bower Field and back, a not insignificant walk given the equipment that often has to be lugged to and fro. When the Title IX controversy first came to life at Penn two years ago, Senior Associate Athletic Director Carolyn Schlie-Femovich put the whole issue of gender equity in perspective: "You achieve gender equity when the coach or athlete in one program would gladly trade places with a coach or athlete in a comparable other-sex program." Penn coach Bob Seddon has to drive a van back and forth every time heavy equipment needs to be transported from Hollenbach to Bower Field. Ask softball coach Linda Carothers whether she would like to trade the location of her team's locker room vis-a-vis its playing field for Seddon's, and the answer would be a predictable one. This inequity does not matter, though, because the principles of Title IX apply only to the under-represented sex at a particular university, which almost always means women. If the softball team had to make the longer trek back and forth, that would be a cause for complaint. Title IX was designed to keep athletic departments from spending undue time, energy and money on high-profile men's sports. But things may have gone too far. The threat of lawsuits has made universities -- by no means just Penn -- hesitant to take any action that could conceivably be construed as being the least bit gender-biased. So now we've reached the point at which a team can't accept a private donation from a parent or "friend of the program" in order to construct a much-needed locker room. If the baseball team already had a plush locker room within shouting distance of Bower Field and someone wanted to donate $500,000 to build a private jacuzzi and sauna for each player, that might be a different story. But in this case, the proposed facility was definitely needed. And had the baseball team gotten its Franklin Field locker room in the first place, maybe less University money would be required to renovate Hollenbach. Most of us would agree that Title IX is a good and just program. Sometimes, though, a good thing can be taken too far.
Aside from the annual football game against Yale, the biggest event on the athletic calendar each year up at Harvard is the Beanpot Tournament. A four-team ice hockey tournament featuring city-rivals Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern in addition to the Crimson, the event draws massive Boston media coverage and used to take place in the hallowed Boston Garden, before it was demolished last year. Last year at Princeton, where basketball normally dominates the winter sports scene in the same manner it does here, the futile quest of Pete Carril's team to topple the Quakers took a backseat to a bit of drama unfolding on the ice. The hockey Tigers shocked the world, storming to the final of the ECAC conference tournament, where a win would have given them an NCAA tournament bid. It is understandably hard for Quakers fans to comprehend what all the excitement is about around the rest of the Ancient Eight. To paraphrase an old Eagles song, "We haven't had that spirit here since 199." Indeed, the last time varsity ice hockey was played at Penn, the basketball team was on its way to the Final Four. There is an arena (the Class of '23 Rink on Walnut Street on the east edge of campus), but there is no team. The moral, then, would seem to be this: Merely building it does not mean people will come. You have to have the money to actually put a team there. The simple fact is the Penn athletic department is hardly overflowing with funds available for starting a hockey program. Take into account salaries for full-time coaches, financial aid packages for a whole new set of athletes, top-notch equipment for the players, a possible refurbishing of the arena, annual travel expenses, etc., and you only have half the financial picture. Because of Title IX, the athletic department would most likely be required to donate equal funding to a Penn women's athletic program, perhaps in the form of a women's ice hockey team. It is easy to see why establishing a hockey team -- or any new athletic program for that matter -- is hardly a nickel-and-dime operation. There is little, if anything, that can be done. But the lack of a program is still a shame, indeed something of a blemish on the athletic department. Some say hockey drew no fan support here in the 1970s and there is no guarantee it would ever catch on today. For one thing, as hockey club team captain Michael Chao pointed out, "A lot of students don't even know there's a rink on campus." Plus the basketball program is so strong and rightfully commands so much attention that moderate sports fans might not have a whole lot of time to devote to following hockey. And if people were to give it a try, they might like what they would see. Even for people who are not crazy about professional hockey, the college game is a beautiful thing to watch. No one ever remarks, "I went to a fight and a college hockey game broke out." College hockey possesses all of the grace and finesse of the pro version, but none of the unnecessary extracurriculars, like fighting and constant penalties. It has all of the artistry without most of the thuggery. But there is just enough bumping and grinding to make the game attractive to a college crowd. The fast pace and battle-like atmosphere are conducive to nurturing college rivalries. Anyone who has been to a game knows the integral role played by loud chants, lots of streamers and sometimes bands. At its best, in fact, the atmosphere at a college hockey game is reminiscent of a Big 5 affair at the Palestra. And except for those Big 5 games at the Palestra, it is, unfortunately, an atmosphere Penn students will have to do without for the foreseeable future
A great many people have expounded on the purity of Ivy League basketball throughout the years. The Ivies, they say, are the last bastion of the true student-athlete. Only in the Ancient Eight can you find players who genuinely want an education, who are playing simply for the love of the game and not just to try to springboard themselves to the NBA. After the game, Krug sat at the press conference and said yes, he was sorry The Streak was history. But the worst part about the defeat was the potentially serious crimp it put in Penn's chances for an Ivy League title. The Quakers finished the weekend tied for first place with Princeton, with the Big Green a half-game behind. It appears that unlike the last three seasons, when they cruised to a title, the Quakers will have to scrap and scrape for a fourth-consecutive championship in a stretch run that should be an example of why the Ivy League's regular season is the most compelling of the 34 conferences in Division I college basketball. More than half the conferences in Division I, including the Ivies, can expect to send only one representative to the NCAA Tournament. The Ancient Eight is the only one of these conferences without a season-ending tournament that decides the official champion and NCAA representative. The end result for all the more obscure conferences that do have tournaments is often a moot regular season. This has been a problem ever since 1970, when the Atlantic Coast Conference -- which then was allowed to send only one team to the NCAAs -- saw South Carolina rip through the entire conference on its way to a 14-0 regular-season record. But the No. 3 Gamecocks had one bad day and were upended by N.C. State in the ACC tournament, killing their dreams of a national championship before the NCAAs had even begun. Imagine the last three years if the Ivy League had a tournament. Penn fans would have watched their team go 14-0 each season knowing that wondrous achievement did not mean one iota in the grand scheme of things. One bad outing in a stretch of three conference tournament games could have ended the Quakers' season on the spot, despite all the hard work and sacrifice they had given in the regular season. Scenarios like that one occur every single year in the low-profile conferences. It is guaranteed each season that a team will go 14-0 or 15-1 or 16-2 in the North Atlantic Conference, Patriot League or Northeast Conference and still not be rewarded for its efforts with an NCAA bid because of one bad game in the conference tournament. The Big 10 and Pac-10, like the Ivies, have refrained from having a tournament. But those conferences can not match the Ancient Eight for sheer regular-season drama. Indiana versus Michigan is a great rivalry with a tremendous amount of emotion involved, but nine years out of 10 both of those teams know, given their reputation, that they have spots locked up in the 64-team NCAA field even before the season starts. Like the ACC, Big East and all the major conferences that do have championship-deciding tournaments but can also expect to get a number of at-large NCAA bids, the games involving the top teams in these leagues are for pride and a higher seed in the Big Dance. The Ivy League is the only conference in all of Division I basketball with the aura of an old-fashioned major league pennant race surrounding every game. Eight teams vying for one postseason berth over the course of an entire regular season. This year's race looks like it will go down to the wire, with Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth all having legitimate shots at the crown. That is the main reason one measly loss to Dartmouth hurt like it did. The Quakers have home games coming up against the Big Green and the Tigers that should have the Palestra bursting with emotion and energy. Princeton will be in town March 5 for the last game of the season. It is entirely conceivable that game will feature two 12-1 arch-rivals on national television. The winner will have a championship banner and an NCAA invitation all for itself. The loser will have nothing but an excellent season that came up one win short. That game could be one of the more remarkable athletic events in the lives of all those lucky enough to be in attendance at the Palestra. But if the Ivy League had a tournament, what would be at stake? A great deal of pride, certainly, but the only tangible reward would be the top seed in the tournament and a first-round game against Columbia instead of Cornell or Yale. The sports fan in all of us naturally feels a measure of disdain for policies -- such as the lack of scholarships or not being eligible for the national playoffs in football -- designed by the Ivy League's ruling junta to de-emphasize athletics in relation to the rest of the college sports world. In the case of the absence of a conference basketball tournament, however, the sports fan in all of us should be thankful.
The magic number is down to two. Should Penn push The Streak to the half-century mark (by no means a sure thing against two tough opponents on the road) the question people will ask is just how historic an accomplishment is it. In truth, 50 straight wins is so obviously remarkable that its place in history need not be the subject of an entire debate. Just how can we appreciate the absolute impressiveness of what coach Fran Dunphy's program has accomplished? Saying the Quakers have won 50 league games in a row sounds good, but does it really capture the sheer longevity of The Streak? Three straight perfect Ivy seasons is great, but it just seems so understated. Maybe this will work better: Let's try to appreciate this achievement by taking a look at just how much things have changed since The Streak began. Let's flash back to March 7, 1992. No current Quaker was on the Penn roster. Ira Bowman was a freshman point guard at Providence, Grand Rapids Mackers guard Matt Maloney was just getting ready to transfer out of Vanderbilt to Penn and the NBA was just a twinkle in the eye of a freshman Quakers guard named Jerome Allen. · Already eliminated from Ivy title contention, Penn was preparing for a meaningless season finale at Cornell. The previous evening, March 6, Columbia had topped the Quakers, 71-66, killing Penn's hopes for a possible NIT bid. With the game tied at 56 and a little over three minutes to play, the Lions' Russ Steward drilled a three-point shot that essentially decided the game, as Columbia hung on to win at the free-throw line. · On campus, the only connection either Judith Rodin and Steve Bilsky had to Penn were as prominent alums. Squeeze and Blues Traveler were rumored to be coming to Spring Fling. The third floor of Speakman in the Quad was seriously flooded when a student set off a sprinkler head. Carney's Pub, a bar at 3608 Chestnut Street, was prohibited by the University from showing an erotic dance act. Gymnastics won its second-straight Ivy League title. Wrestling began its rise from mediocrity under coach Roger Reina by finishing seventh of 14 teams at the EIWAs. Having yet to sink into the abyss from which it is only now climbing out, the men's swimming team finished a solid eighth out of 17 teams at the season-ending Easterns. · Princeton would top the second-place Quakers by three games to clinch its fourth-consecutive Ivy League men's basketball title and NCAA Tournament berth. But Tigers coach Pete Carril would suffer his fourth-straight first-round disappointment 13 days later against Syracuse, as the Orangemen gutted out a 51-43 win. · The college basketball regular season ended that weekend with the major conference tournaments and the NCAAs yet to come. Top-ranked Duke was poised to win its second-straight national title, while a group of freshmen calling itself the Fab Five was just hoping to make some noise for Michigan. The All-American team just announced was laden with future NBA stars: Duke's Christian Laettner, LSU's Shaquille O'Neal, Ohio State's Jim Jackson, USC's Harold Miner and Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning. · Some things just don't change. The Chicago Bulls were already well ahead of the rest of the NBA field and were zeroing on their second-straight championship. Michael Jordan would win his second straight MVP award. The Lakers were managing to stay above .500 in their first season without HIV-infected Magic Johnson. · Looking beyond sports, Bob Kerrey had just dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, leaving Paul Tsongas, Tom Harkin, Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton to fight for the bid. It didn't really matter, since George Bush, still basking in the euphoria of the Persian Gulf victory a year before, was a sure bet to get re-elected in November. Some things really don't change. As the campaigns heated up, Hillary Clinton had to defend against allegations of unethical actions. Gov. Clinton of Arkansas was charged to have improperly funneled state money to his wife's law firm. · The Silence of the Lambs was about to sweep all the major awards at the 1991 Oscars. The Cosby Show and Johnny Carson were still fixtures on NBC. In Ithaca, N.Y., that March 7 night, the Quakers set The Streak in motion, blitzing Cornell, 92-79, behind 31 points from prize freshman Allen (who, somehow, would go on to finish only second to Princeton's Rick Hielscher in the Ivy League Rookie of the Year voting). Penn's Ivy record was 9-5, a major improvement. Said Dunphy after the win: "We played well and accomplished a great deal for our program. Hopefully we'll keep that going in the future." You could say he got his wish.
Five starters pass on, but with seven or eight guys just waiting for the chance to inherit the throne, the balance of power in the Ivy League has not changed at all. The 1995-96 Quakers don't necessarily overwhelm opponents like their predecessors did, they just beat them. They aren't always beautiful to watch, just a whole lot of fun. As this weekend showed, what Penn is all about is two or three great players combining with a number of solid ones to execute a system that works to near perfection. Combining for well over half of Penn's points in the Columbia win, co-captains Ira Bowman and Tim Krug proved they are more than capable of carrying their team when necessary. But Saturday night was the first time they have had to do that since an opening-night loss to USC. More illustrative of the secret to Penn's success thus far this season was Friday's game. Bowman and Krug scored 16 apiece, with Donald Moxley and Paul Romanczuk each chipping in 13. Cedric Laster provided a welcome spark off the bench with eight points, as did Frankie Brown, who had two three-pointers, as Penn romped in the first half. And although Bowman and Krug carried the offense load the next night against Columbia, Penn's team defense was astounding. Surely a lot of that had to do with the blatant ineptitude of the Lions' offense -- Columbia simply does not have any weapons. But not one Lion came anywhere close to making half of his shots from the field for the evening, which says a great deal about the Quakers' man-to-man intensity. Sixteen turnovers, most sparked by the ferocity of Penn's on-the-ball pressure, led to numerous fast breaks, several of which were finished off in electrifying fashion by Bowman. There were lapses. Cornell cut a 43-30 halftime deficit to 55-51 with a little over 10 minutes to play. Indeed, Columbia was the only Ivy League opponent to date that didn't make some sort of second-half run on the Quakers. But not once did you ever get the feeling Penn was in danger. The reason goes beyond the players or the coaching or the opponents. It is something that is hard to put into words because it is so abstract and hard to quantify, but that doesn't make it any less true. It's the aura. The aura of a winner. The aura of a dynasty. It is not something the Quakers themselves think about. If they relied on it and overlooked any of their opponents in any way, they would be setting themselves up for a fall. Said Bowman after the Cornell game: "Every game you can't come out thinking you're going to blow a team out. You have to play possession by possession." No, where the aura has its biggest effect is on the rest of the Ancient Eight, which has now been victimized a combined 48 straight times by the Quakers. It has happened so many times this season it almost looks scripted. The opponent makes a run at some point during the second half. The opponent's bench leaps to its feet, thinking just maybe tonight will be the night when The Streak meets its demise. Then it happens. Whether it's Moxley killing Princeton with a couple of three-pointers, Krug's blocked shots down the stretch against Brown, Moxley and Garett Kreitz fending off Yale with a pair of clutch treys or Romanczuk's pretty driving shot against Cornell after the Big Red had closed to four, the Quakers say, "Not tonight." The opponent sags noticeably. "Not tonight," it agrees. This dynasty is not ready to crumble yet.
1) If Penn played the Flying Dutchmen 10 times, how many games would the Quakers win? Answer: At least nine. 2) If Penn played the Flying Dutchmen 10 times with Graham in the lineup, how many games would the Quakers win? Answer: Nine at the most, given that freshman power forward Paul Romanczuk probably would not have exploded for 18 points had some of his minutes gone to Graham. The moral of this story? Graham, a good guy, who was liked and respected by his teammates, did woefully little to make his presence felt on the court. Now that he has quit the team, telling coach Fran Dunphy he had lost interest in playing basketball, the real overarching question is this: Will anyone really notice he's gone? Likely answer: No. Going into the year, the Quakers desperately needed an enforcer for their frontcourt. Tim Krug, the first big man to come to mind for most Penn fans, was not going to be the one to fill that role. Krug is a small forward playing center, at least on the offensive end. He is more comfortable spotting up near the top of the key in most of Penn's offensive sets, hoping to get an open three-point shot or shake his defender with his patented shot-fake and drive. What Penn needed was an Eric Moore-type, someone who could bump, scrap and scrape for rebounds and get tough inside points on a consistent basis. We had seen nothing from Graham over the course of his first two seasons to indicate he could make such a contribution. But we gave him the benefit of the doubt because he had played such limited minutes. But while guys like Donald Moxley and Garett Kreitz emerged from the shadows of the bench to become key performers, Graham languished in the same passivity, the same timidity even, that marked what little time he saw the past two seasons. His stats through 11 games -- including seven starts -- tell much of the story: Just 3.5 shot attempts and 1.6 trips to the free throw line per game; 3.6 points and 2.4 boards per contest; 0 blocks. If there were a stat for "ball touches," he would be pretty near the bottom in that category as well. He was simply unable to get himself into the flow of the offense consistently. The biggest problem, though, was not the paltry numbers. It was his all too evident lack of intensity. The laid-back expression he wore was symbolic of the way he played. You know that look of Ira Bowman's when he's playing defense -- the wide eyes and open mouth that are the hallmark of a guy just waiting to pounce? That's the opposite of Graham, who almost seemed to be smiling whenever he was playing. Some guys, like the 76ers' Derrick Coleman, are good enough to prosper on occasion even without giving 100 percent of themselves every time out. Graham was not blessed with those kinds of skills. Like Moore last season, he was not the most talented player on the floor by any stretch. But he did not possess Moore's fire, and therefore was not nearly as effective. After two games, Graham was benched in favor of Bill Guthrie. Guthrie was as ungraceful a player as there was before leaving the team after four games with academic problems. But he blocked shots, forced turnovers and gave his body. So does Romanczuk, who heard the cheers whenever he came off the bench for Graham. His numbers were hardly any better than Graham's before he blitzed the Flying Dutchmen for a career-high 18 last night. But he just seemed to want it more, constantly going for rebounds and diving for every loose ball in sight. He could blossom into the enforcer the Quakers currently lack. Every time Dunphy grimaced and sat Graham on the bench after a blown defensive assignment, poor shot selection or a failure to grab an easy rebound, the game became less and less fun for the South Florida native. Some guys might react by working harder to overcome their shortcomings. But Graham decided he would be better off not playing at all. That's his prerogative, and no one should condemn him for exercising it. Why spend three hours a day on something you don't enjoy? If he is not having fun, he likely won't be motivated to play any better, anyway. Why hang around and be a detriment to the team by giving less than 100 percent of yourself because you're unhappy? Maybe time off is just the thing he needs. It is not out of the question that he could come back next year a new and better player. So Graham did the right thing. He walked away. Unfortunately, it was the best basketball-related move he's made all year.
In spite of the differences, Dunphy and Morris are still two of a kind. Both men are reminders that mandates to reach NCAA Tournaments can, in fact, be reconciled with equally strong directives about running a clean program and graduating players on time. And despite the amount of stress required to survive and prosper in the world of big-time college sports, the two men, whose teams clash Saturday afternoon at the Spectrum, have remained among the most decent individuals in the sport. Want proof? Just ask them. "What I will remember most about my relationship with Speedy," Dunphy says, "is that I don't know that there's a better person in coaching today. One of the kindest, caring, concerned, sympathetic people that I've ever been associated with." "I'm proud to consider Fran Dunphy a friend," Morris says. "If I ever need anything, if I ever need any money, I know I can go to him. And he would give it to me. He would give me the shirt off his back." They have been associated with one another ever since their days as rival high school coaches in the early 1970s, two native Philadelphians with an undying passion for Philly hoops. Dunphy, a basketball player at La Salle in the late 1960s, was already an assistant coach with the Explorers when Morris took over the head position in 1986. The La Salle athletic director suggested Morris hire a new set of assistants. He declined. Two years later, Dunphy did leave, accepting the keys to the Palestra as an assistant to Penn coach Tom Schneider. Anyone who has ascended through the ranks to become a head coach is a combination of his own philosophies and an aggregation of ideas from the various guys under whom he worked. In the two years they spent together, Dunphy learned a great deal from the manner in which Morris relates to his players. Dunphy says that often when a touchy issue comes up, a problem with a player for instance, he will think: "What would Speedy do?" "He's a very under control, teaching-oriented kind of person, and he relates to players very well," Dunphy says. "In two years I don't think I saw him yell at practice even once. That's the kind of thing I've taken away from working for him." Funny he would say that, because this is what Morris had to say about Dunphy: "He knows young people and relates to them very well?It's nice to think that maybe he learned something from me, but I learned just as much from him. I learned you don't have to scream and holler all the time to get your point across." And with those few words, the two men revealed themselves. Neither wants any credit for his own success. In a sport dominated by flashy, ego-driven players and coaches, Fran Dunphy and Speedy Morris stand out because of their genuine distaste for the spotlight. They want it for their players and for their friends, but not for themselves. Actually, there hasn't been a whole lot of spotlight to go around over on West Olney Street. After six consecutive NCAA appearances through 1992, Morris's Explorers have failed to reach postseason play for three straight seasons and, barring a major turnaround, will not make it this year either. Through 1992-93, his 24th year in the coaching business, Morris had suffered just one losing season. He may be on the verge of his third straight losing campaign this year. So the rumblings are there. Maybe time has passed Speedy Morris by. And people have been saying for two years now that if and when Morris goes, the perfect guy to replace him would be La Salle alum and ex-assistant Fran Dunphy. In addition to his history with the Explorers, Dunphy's home games would be in the Philadelphia Civic Center, just across Spruce Street from the Palestra. Wouldn't that be convenient? Both men dismiss the talk. Morris hopes to be at La Salle until he retires. And Dunphy has not lost faith in his friend. "All of us out there like to think we can coach a little bit," Dunphy says. "But it can't be done without good players. That's why they've been struggling. I think he can get it turned around. I wish them nothing but the best." For now, there is the matter of Saturday's game. Not surprisingly, they said the same things about going up against a close friend. "There's guys I'm really happy to go up against and beat," Morris says. "This won't be one of those guys." The goal will be victory, but for whoever wins the joy will be somewhat tempered. The best part of the day will come afterwards, when they meet and commiserate. Dunphy says when they see each other socially, they talk very little about basketball. They talk about life and family and friends. Somehow, that's only fitting.
With five starters and all the glamorous non-conference opponents of the past three seasons gone from sight, Penn is once again an Ivy League team in reality, as well as in name. Top 25 rankings and NCAA Tournament victories are not going to determine a successful season this time around. Only an Ivy League championship will. So disregard Penn's ugly 1-6 non-conference record. As their 3-0 Ivy mark indicates, the Quakers -- even minus big men Bill Guthrie and Vigor Kapetanovic, who missed all three games for academic reasons, and starting point guard Jamie Lyren, out with a broken ankle -- can still win the only games that matter. After last March's season finale, in which Penn completed its third straight perfect Ivy season with a 69-57 win at Princeton, Tigers coach Pete Carril breathed a sigh of relief for every Ancient Eight coach with the words: "I won't have to see these guys again." Yes, Jerome Allen, Matt Maloney, Scott Kegler, Shawn Trice and Eric Moore are long gone. But Ira Bowman and Tim Krug are here. So are Donald Moxley and Garett Kreitz. And those four guys were enough to dash a whole lot of hopes the last couple weeks in Providence, R.I., and New Haven, Conn., not to mention in grand Old Nassau. See, Carril and his Tigers had been looking forward to Jan. 6 for 10 long months. With all five starters back plus fabulous frosh Brian Earl, the Tigers simply could not wait for this season's league opener against what they figured would be an undermanned Quakers squad. It would be the perfect opportunity to stake their claim to an Ivy championship after three long years of second place. The problem was, the Tigers couldn't stop Moxley, just like they couldn't stop Trice last year or Maloney two seasons ago. And Krug had a great game, just like he always does against Princeton. Things hadn't changed nearly as much as Carril had hoped. Yes, the Quakers have come back to the pack. But no, they haven't fallen a lap behind, as Princeton and Brown apparently assumed. Kreitz said he heard from a Bears radio personality that the Brown student body was shocked and suddenly very frightened following the Penn-Princeton game. They had good reason to be. Brown has the best backcourt in the Ivies in Eric Blackiston and Brian Lloyd, but they were matched by Bowman and Kreitz, who scored 18 points apiece. The play of Kreitz must have been especially surprising for Brown fans. Penn fans could only think, "George Who?" Sharpshooting sophomore George Zaninovich might very well have started for Penn this season had he not quit the team for personal reasons. His exit was expected to be another in a long line of unfortunate departures, including last year's five seniors, Rob Hodgson and freshman recruit Jeff Knoll. But Kreitz, who got to start when Lyren went down, has stepped in and played as well as anyone could ever have expected Zaninovich to play. It really shouldn't be so surprising that guys like Moxley and Kreitz helped their team to wins. First of all, no Division I college basketball program even looks at a player who wasn't considered a big-time performer in high school. Moxley averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds his senior season in high school, leading his team to a sectional title. Kreitz averaged 28.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Those numbers obviously do not ensure success at the collegiate level. But they do mean these guys have had the spotlight on them and stepped up in pressure situations before. As Dunphy said when asked about how Kreitz was able to do so well after suddenly being handed a starting position: "I just think he has it in him. He has the ability to step up and play." Another overlooked factor is this: How could Moxley and Kreitz not improve practicing day in and day out against an NBA-caliber backcourt like Allen and Maloney? With one of the best pair of guards in the country tutoring them in drills and scrimmages each day, it was easy to hone their skills. All they needed was an opportunity. "I should have given him more chances," Dunphy said of Kreitz. "Maybe that makes me a bad coach." Not quite, and that's the final reason no one should be surprised by Penn's 3-0 start. It was hard to appreciate Dunphy with all the talent he had the past three seasons. But not once in 42 games did the Quakers slip up enough to get upset. The credit for that kind of focus and intensity has to go primarily to the coach. The ego-less Dunphy would never see it this way, but this is his season to shine, just as it is for Bowman, Krug, Moxley, Kreitz and the rest. It is the first time in seven seasons he has enough talent to win consistently, but not so much that anything but winning is a foregone conclusion. Dunphy can get the job done. In fact, it says here that if and when Penn's 46-game league winning streak comes to an end this season, it sure as heck won't be on a Friday, the first half of the Ancient Eight's weekend doubleheaders. Held to 44 measly points until 50 seconds remained and the outcome was decided against the Quakers, Princeton found out what happens when Dunphy has a week or so to prepare for an opponent. Said Kreitz of the Princeton game: "The coaches prepared us extremely well. We had their offense down pat. It was just a matter of bringing it into the game?Coach Dunphy knows how to win." It's knowledge he's quickly passing on to his team.
The Brown men's soccer team learned first-hand last weekend why Virginia has easily the best men's soccer program in the nation. The Cavaliers dominated the Bears on both ends of the field in Sunday's NCAA tournament quarterfinal, earning a convincing 4-1 victory and taking another step toward their fifth consecutive national championship. Brown, which raced through the regular season with a 17-3 record (6-1 and co-champions in the Ivies with Cornell), fell one step short of the Final Four for the second straight year. The loss, though, could not totally diminish a season in which the Bears repeated as Ivy League champions, the first Ancient Eight team in 10 years to accomplish that feat. Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game's 28th minute, and that margin held until intermission. The halftime deficit was less worrisome than were Bears a pair of key injuries. Senior midfielder Gary Hughes, the Ivy League's Player of the Year, aggravated the hamstring pull that hampered him for the last 10 games of the season and could not play at 100 percent. And sophomore defenseman John Beck, whose slide-tackle had prevented the Cavaliers from scoring early in the game, had to sit out the second half with a leg injury. The opportunistic Cavaliers made something out of nothing less than five minutes into the second half. Brown goalie Tim Webb blocked a shot by Virginia's Mike Fisher. But Webb collided with teammate Tom James while trying to gather up the ball, and Fisher regained possession. He dribbled into the empty net as Webb could only watch in frustration. "You have to have a little luck to beat Virginia and we did not have any today," said Webb. That goal basically sealed the game for the Cavs. Fisher and Bill Walsh padded the leads with goals in the 61st and 71st minutes. Senior Yohance Edwards put the Bears on the board in the 81st minute, taking a cross and blasting a header into the back of the Virginia net. For Edwards, who was playing in his last-ever game, it was the first goal of his collegiate career. For a 10-man senior class that has led Brown to two straight Ivy League titles and NCAA quarterfinal appearances, the game marked the end of a memorable run. "The seniors have truly restored Brown soccer to greatness," coach Mike Noonan said. "Now it will be up to the rest of us to carry the torch." The Brown Daily Herald contributed to this story.
Princeton's 10-10 tie at Dartmouth costs Penn seniors their third league crown "Princeton Ivy Champs." With about six minutes to play in Saturday's Penn-Cornell season finale, the message on the electronic scoreboard pierced the dusky clouds and rain hovering around Franklin Field. But it couldn't pierce the joy and pride in the victorious Quakers locker room afterwards. It didn't stop Felix Rouse, Miles Macik and Tom McGarrity from wearing grins a mile wide while recounting the big plays they each made in the final game of their careers. It didn't prevent Penn coach Al Bagnoli from expounding on the unparalleled success of this year's seniors. What that message did mean was the Ivy League trophy will not be spending a third straight year in Philadelphia. Penn came into Saturday's game needing some help from Dartmouth to gain a four-way tie for the Ivy League crown. The Quakers did their part, trouncing Cornell 37-18 to earn a tie for second place with the Big Red. But Penn's title hopes were dashed on the last play of the game up in Hanover, N.H., when Princeton kicked a game-tying field goal to sew up the championship all for itself. As well as they played the last two weeks against Harvard and Cornell, the Quakers just could not overcome a 22-9 loss to Princeton Nov. 4. "We certainly would have liked it to work out, but the only thing we could focus on was Cornell," Bagnoli said. "We wanted to win and let Dartmouth and Princeton battle it out. Give Princeton credit." The Quakers, meanwhile, get credit for overwhelming a Big Red team that came in with five straight Ivy League wins and easily the best offense in the Ancient Eight. Cornell's offense was in fine form at the end of the first quarter. Trailing 7-0, the Big Red took over at its own 22 and took 14 plays to reach the Penn 2 as the quarter drew to a close. But with the onset of the second quarter came disaster for Cornell. Running back Chad Levitt, the Ivies' leading rusher, was hit at the line of scrimmage on the first play, and the ball squirted free. McGarrity, Penn's senior defensive end and co-captain, scooped it up and took off the other way, reaching the Cornell 29 before being shoved out of bounds. "Tommy ran faster than I thought he was capable of," Bagnoli said. The Quakers went up 14-0 four plays later on a one-yard Jasen Scott touchdown sneak. "Anytime you get a turnover and the offense puts points on the board, it's huge for the whole team," McGarrity said. Cornell's Deon Harris fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the Penn 31, and backup defensive end Ron Heller recovered for the Quakers. This time, the Quakers took just one play to make Cornell pay for its mistake. Quarterback Mark DeRosa lofted a pass toward the left side of the end zone, and Macik reeled the ball in for the 21-0 lead. "We got the turnover and I was running out on the field and [offensive coordinator] Chuck Priore looked at me and said, 'Let's go. Right now,' " Macik said. "So I kind of knew the ball was coming. And it was a great throw." The Big Red offense refused to stay down for long, cutting Penn's lead to 21-10 with 1:15 remaining in the half. The Quakers took the kickoff and used four plays to get to the Cornell 38 with 24 seconds left. Then came perhaps the key sequence of the game. Rouse had his defender beat on a post pattern in the end zone. DeRosa put the ball right in his hands. Rouse dropped it. "That was the lowest of the low right there," Rouse said. "I went from that to the highest of the high." The radical change in fortune came on the final play of the half, just two snaps after the drop. Rouse got open on a slant pattern at the 20, where DeRosa found him. Rouse made the catch, cut back and sprinted left toward the end zone away from a trio of Big Red pursuers. He crossed the goal line just as the gun sounded. "If I wouldn't have [scored], I know I would have heard it from the school and my teammates for the rest of my life," Rouse said. "So I felt good. I felt redeemed." Coming when it did and in the fashion it did, the score, which gave Penn a 27-10 halftime lead, basically decided the game. "It was a backbreaker," Big Red coach Jim Hofher admitted. The second half was about preserving the lead, breaking a few individual records -- Greathouse broke the Ivy record for field goals in a season with his 11th in the third quarter -- and saying farewell to one of the most successful senior classes in Penn history. This year's seniors exit with a three-year record of 26-3. Not since 1910 has there been a graduating class with fewer than three losses in a three-year period. "I'm really proud of everything this team has done in my three years here?" McGarrity said. "You've got to be really proud. We always did the best we could." Rouse and Macik, each playing in their final game, combined for 251 receiving yards and two scores. Senior Dana Lyons picked off quarterback Steve Joyce and returned the ball 19 yards to the Cornell 8. That set up a touchdown run by DeRosa (15 for 27, 275 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown) that upped the margin to 37-10. Macik, who will likely be named to the first-team all-Ivy squad for the third straight year, caught seven passes for 147 yards, leaving him just 54 yards short of Don Clune's Penn record for receiving yardage. His final reception of the afternoon gave him an even 200 for his career, which is the mark all future Ivy League receivers will be trying to reach. "[Two hundred] is a nice round number for me," Macik said. "That's not something I thought I'd be able to do in three years. There's so many people I'd have to thank. It's a great feeling."
Yale upsets Tigers, Penn back in race CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- After last week's crushing 22-9 loss to Princeton, the Penn football team entered the final two weeks of the season apparently playing for little but pride. Now, after Saturday's 38-21 domination of Harvard and a little help from their friends up at Yale, the Quakers head into the final week of the season with a shot, incredibly, at a share of the Ivy League title. Chaos reigns in the Ancient Eight after Yale's stunning 21-13 upset of Princeton, with the Tigers, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn all in contention for at least a share of the title. If the Quakers beat the Big Red at Franklin Field next week and the Big Green defeats Princeton in Hanover, N.H., there will be a four-way tie for the Ivy crown for the first time in the league's 39-year history. For the Yale-Princeton shocker to mean anything for the Quakers (6-3, 4-2 Ivy League), they had to get past the lowly Crimson (1-8, 0-6). Fortunately for Penn, 267 rushing yards from Aman Abye and Jasen Scott and the sharp play of backup quarterback Steve Teodecki helped the offense awaken from its two-week slumber. "We knew that Pennsylvania was a very fine football team coming in," Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. "Certainly nothing that happened on the field today changed our opinion of them." In search of a spark as the second quarter got underway with the game tied at 0, Penn coach Al Bagnoli took the reins from starting quarterback Mark DeRosa, who had misfired on several pass attempts and thrown an interception in the first quarter, and turned them over to backup Steve Teodecki. "We had plans for probably the last four weeks of playing Steve," Bagnoli said. "We got into these bad weather games, and we never thought that was the optimum time to actually put him in the game?But we knew coming in that he was going to play." The switch paid immediate dividends. Teodecki hit Felix Rouse with his first pass attempt for 14 yards to midfield, and the Crimson offense never seemed to regain its balance. Two plays later, Teodecki handed off to Abye on a draw play at the 50-yard line, and Abye made it through a large hole at the line of scrimmage before any Harvard player realized he had the ball. Abye was tripped up at the 15 but regained his balance and got into the end zone. Next came the key sequence of the game. Jay Snowden -- Harvard's backup quarterback who had also been brought in to relieve an ineffective starter -- was picked off by Penn free safety Mike Ferguson on a severely underthrown pass at the Quakers' 28. Seven plays and 72 yards later, Penn was in the end zone again. Scott picked up 34 yards on the ground during the drive, and Teodecki was 2-for-2 for 26 yards. Teodecki increased the Quakers' lead to 14-0 with an eight-yard keeper, running right over would-be tackler and Harvard captain Justin Frantz to get in. "I just got a chance to play," Teodecki said of the boost he gave the Quakers offense. "The offensive line started opening up some holes up front, and the running backs had a couple long runs, and things just worked out for the best." The Crimson's nightmarish second quarter continued when Snowden was once again unable to mount a sustained drive and Harvard had to punt. This time it was DeRosa's turn to put points on the board. After 11 plays of short passes to Miles Macik and solid running by Abye, the Quakers found themselves 20 yards away from the end zone with 18 seconds remaining in the half. DeRosa dropped back, looked off Macik, and lofted a pass over the middle for wide receiver Mark Fabish. Fabish caught the ball in stride in the end zone for a 21-0 lead going into intermission. The outcome was all but decided at that point because the Penn defense had completely stymied running back Eion Hu and the Harvard offense. A hard-hitting Penn defense led by strong safety Nick Morris, linebacker Tim Gage and defensive tackle Mitch Marrow made Hu (13 carries, 40 yards in the first half) look like he was wearing shackles until after the outcome was decided. With Harvard's go-to guy on offense a non-factor, quarterbacks Snowden and starter Vin Ferrara combined to go 9-for-22 for a paltry 89 passing yards and four interceptions on the day. "On defense, they put a lot of pressure on you all the time," Murphy said. "I think the thing that really hurt us the most was their pass rush. We really struggled against their pass rush. Consequently, they forced us into some errors." The Penn offense, meanwhile, continued to look sharp at the start of the second half. Jasen Scott gained 48 yards on his first four rushes to move the ball from the Penn 20 to the Harvard 32. Scott eventually capped the drive with a one-yard sneak to make the score 28-0. Hu, last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, did put the Crimson on the board with a 58-yard touchdown sprint off the right side of the line. After Harvard recovered a Scott fumble on Penn's 34-yard line with 5:10 to go in the third quarter, things got a little interesting. But it didn't take long for the Quakers defense to snuff out what little glimmer of hope remained for the Crimson. Three plays later Ferrara, back in the game after his benching, attempted a pass while under heavy pressure from Penn defensive end Tom McGarrity. The ball fluttered into the hands of free safety Dana Lyons, who ran 61 yards the other way for a 35-7 lead. It was the second touchdown of the year off an interception for Lyons, who just got his four-week-old thumb cast removed. "I was just hoping to help out, and it was pretty much a gift from the defensive line," Lyons said. "He just threw the ball up for grabs, and fortunately I was able to catch it. Gotta thank the doctor, too, for taking my cast off." The final 18 minutes featured little besides the proverbial garbage time. Penn kicker Jeremiah Greathouse's 34-yard field goal tied the Ivy League record of 10 field goals kicked in a season in league games. Bagnoli's smile walking off the field after the win may not have been as wide as it was when he heard the Princeton result. "You've got to love this league," he said.
Penn receiver Miles Macik remembers Nov. 6, 1993, vividly. It was a windy, overcast Homecoming afternoon. Hated Princeton was in town. Over 35,000 fans jammed Franklin Field. The Ivy League title was at stake as the two best teams in the Ancient Eight squared off. Now, two years later, Macik is just thankful he and the rest of the Quakers get to do it all over again. "Everything that could possibly hype this game up is there," Macik said. "All the pieces are in place. This is the big one." Penn won that 1993 clash, 30-14, on its way to a perfect 10-0 season and its first Ivy title since 1988. But even though it is Homecoming again, and the weather should be blustery again, and the Tigers are back in town, and Franklin Field should be packed, and Princeton and Penn are on top of the Ivies another time -- even with all that, times have changed going into tomorrow's 1:30 p.m. game. Two years ago, Princeton was the defending league champion trying to stave off the young and hungry Quakers. Penn came in with momentum on its side, having demolished Yale 48-7 in New Haven, Conn. This time around it is Penn (5-2, 3-1 Ivy League) which is the defending Ivy kingpin, and Princeton fighting to get to where the Quakers are. Last week the Tigers (7-0, 4-0) enjoyed a 44-14 thrashing of Columbia, the team that halted the Quakers' 24-game winning streak earlier this season. While the Tigers were mauling the Lions, the Quakers were struggling through a sloppy affair in a rain-drenched Yale Bowl, beating the Elis 16-6. Ugly or not, the win kept Penn in the race -- though this year's game will not feature two undefeated teams, as the 1993 meeting did. "[The Yale win] kind of set the stage to this week where now we have an opportunity to control our own destiny," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "If we can win our last three games starting with Princeton and then Harvard and then Cornell, we have a shot to at least share the Ivy League title." If the Quakers are to navigate their way past step one of Bagnoli's plan, they must contend with a Tigers team that has been strong all year -- dominant at times -- on both sides of the ball. Perhaps the most telling aspect of Princeton's overall performance thus far this year is its nation-leading turnover ratio. "They're at a plus-three average per game, which is phenomenal," Bagnoli said. The Tigers' turnover ratio was helped immensely in their rout of Columbia last week. Princeton picked off Columbia quarterback Mike Cavanaugh on each of the Lions' first five series. While Penn quarterback Mark DeRosa has gone without an interception the past two weeks, he did throw 13 in the first five games of the season. So keeping the ball away from Princeton's potent secondary is a concern -- but not an overwhelming one. "It's a concern of ours because they have some great athletes," Macik said. "We've seen some good corners this year, and they're probably some of the best. They're very disciplined. They disguise their coverages very, very well. "At the same time, we're going to stick with it, see how it goes, and I think we'll be okay. I think the passing game, pretty much all year long, has been the strength of our offense when it's working." Certainly part of that strength has been Macik, who will break the all-time Ivy League record for pass receptions with his first catch tomorrow. Macik is currently tied with former Princeton receiver Derek Graham at 122 career catches. He is also two away from the league record for all-time touchdown receptions. "It's in the back of my mind, I think, but even if and when the [receptions] record gets broken, it's not something that I'm going to look at until the season's over anyway," Macik said. Princeton linebacker Dave Patterson also has a chance to break a major record tomorrow, albeit a team one. Patterson is six tackles away from tying the all-time Princeton record of 309. He and Macik are currently the front-runners for the Ivy League player of the year award. Like Macik, Patterson doesn't want to think about records or awards tomorrow. He's more worried about what the Tigers have to do to stop Penn. "It's easy to say we have to take away Macik," Patterson said. "But there's also [wide receivers Felix] Rouse and [Mark] Fabish. Even if we can take Macik out of his game, there are other weapons. There's no one person we can shut down to shut down the whole team." Penn could say the same thing about Princeton's offense, particularly at quarterback. Signal callers Harry Nakielny and Brock Harvey have split time virtually down the middle all season in the same manner as Penn running backs Aman Abye, Jasen Scott and Dion Camp, and figure to do so again tomorrow. "I told them that we'll put it on a series-to-series rotation," Princeton coach Steve Tosches said. "They just will have to be prepared and ready and step in that huddle and make plays. Fortunately they've been doing it, and they certainly have handled it very, very well." A Penn defense that has looked consistently solid despite its inexperience will have to cope with this two-headed passing attack, as well as the running of star back Marc Washington. Patterson and company will see if they can fend off a Penn offense that shredded Brown for 58 points two weeks ago. The Ivy League title race will reach a climax. And Penn will try to make the 87th chapter of this bitter and historic rivalry as glorious as the 85th was.
Princeton's Dave Patterson may be a great linebacker, but he'd make a terrible football analyst. This is what he had to say last week about the trials and tribulations of stopping the Penn offense: "Even if we can take Macik out of his game, there are other weapons. There's no one person we can shut down to shut down the whole team." How wrong he was. The Tigers used a two-pronged defensive strategy, centered around putting the clamps on all-everything Penn receiver Miles Macik, to take command of the Ivy League title race. One facet of the strategy involved the coverages used to shut down Macik, who came in averaging seven catches per Ivy contest. He was held to a paltry three against the Tigers. The results were nothing short of disastrous for the Quakers offense. Penn receivers Felix Rouse and Mark Fabish were able to get open most of the day against the the part of the Princeton secondary not being used to stop Macik. But quarterback Mark DeRosa did not find them nearly often enough to move the ball consistently. The other part of the Tigers' strategy -- a blitzkrieg of a defensive pass rush -- combined with the shackling of Penn's most reliable receiver to render DeRosa unable to make the plays needed to keep Penn in the game. It was a sweet dose of deja vu for the Princeton defense, which last week picked off Columbia quarterback Mike Cavanaugh on each of the Lions' first five possessions. While the Tigers' stifling combination of coverages and blitzing did not show up as much in the interception column against the Quakers -- DeRosa threw two Saturday -- it was responsible for eliminating any real semblance of offense for Penn, especially in the second half. DeRosa went 5 for 16 for 87 yards in the second stanza, while Macik was held to a mere one catch. "As we saw last week, if you can get inside a quarterback's head, get pressure on him, he's going to be quick about his passes or try to scramble," said Princeton defensive lineman Darren Olivera, who had 3 sacks on the day. "I definitely think [the pressure] got to him, as it would any quarterback. When a quarterback can't sit in his pocket and make his reads in the secondary, it's definitely going to affect his play. "With Macik, I think [Tigers cornerback] Damani Leech did an excellent job covering him. I think the combination of the two really worked for us today." Leech received congratulations from several of his teammates, as well as Penn coach Al Bagnoli, in the postgame interview session for the job he did on Macik. In truth, though, it was -- as most success in football is -- a team effort. Thanks to an unusual combination of zone coverages, Leech rarely found himself all alone against Macik. "We changed up our coverages, as you have to. A kid like Macik, you're not going to shut him down alone," Princeton coach Steve Tosches said. "We did not want to put our secondary in one-on-one situations that often?We mostly wanted to play zones and just keep changing the zones up -- try to keep someone in front of him and try to keep someone behind him." The strategy worked to near perfection. When Macik tried to go long, free safety Tom Ludwig was right there in coverage along with Leech. When the most prolific receiver in Ivy League history tried to run medium-range slants, it was often Tigers linebacker Ryan Moore moving in to help. In the second quarter, it appeared DeRosa had adjusted to the Tigers' scheme. He found Rouse, who had single coverage on him all game long, with a pretty pass in the end zone to cut into Princeton's 14-3 lead. "It was obvious to everyone that they were taking away Miles and that they were shifting their whole coverage over there," Rouse said. "Pretty much all I had to do was beat that corner. It was pretty much that they were saying the other receivers had to beat us. That was the mentality we thought they had." But the Tigers had figured out DeRosa's mentality also. Take away Macik, throw in some heavy blitzing every once in a while, and you've got a recipe for derailing the Penn offense. DeRosa's first instinct on each passing play, understandably, is to look for Macik. By the time he got around to looking in another direction, he had no time to get the ball away with any accuracy thanks to the Tigers' mad-rushing defensive line. "As I'm dropping back they're coming through the line," DeRosa said. "The play just gets totally altered right there. Maybe the receivers come open for a second, but maybe that's when I'm trying to run and get to the corner. They had a great scheme today." They had a great scheme, and they ran it to perfection. And now they have an Ivy League title well within their sights.