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"The 21 Best Quotes Of The Pete Carril Era."

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a large box of media guides that a site member generously donated.

While adding the 1994-95 prospectus to my collection, I noticed that three of its pages were dedicated to favorite (clean) quips from coach Pete Carril, who was still two seasons away from his retirement.

I've transcribed this list of wise, funny, profound and eminently quotable lines after the jump. Feel free to add your best Carril declarations (of any rating) in the comments.

"What good is it if you wear a flag and play like a dog? What good is it if you put a yellow ribbon on your porch or flag on your lawn and cheat on your taxes? That young guy who was killed today, he can never be replaced. All the dreams and aspirations his family had for him, they're gone. How can there be any way to balance that except for every person in this country to do the best he can to honor that hero? Maybe it's far-fetched to think that someone on the front line is concerned whether our guys go to class, but I think that's part of what they're fighting for. That if our students don't do everything in their power to keep their commitments to their parents, they're letting the whole country down. This kid who died over there today, what are you doing in your left to make sure you're worthy of him? - February 20, 1991 on the subject of putting flags on uniforms during the Persian Gulf War.

"I'll take that up with God when I get there." - March 17, 1989, when asked if he felt that either Kit Mueller or Bob Scrabis was fouled by Alonzo Mourning in the final six seconds of Princeton's 50-49 loss to Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.

"It was a game anybody could respect. Three or four days later, you feel bad. It's like you feel when you realize that one number knocked you out of the lottery." - September 1989, talking about the same game.

"Light bulbs, that's what I call them. Light bulbs. There's an intangible feeling a coach and a player have that you can delight in. When Armond Hill was at Princeton and he'd go up and down the court in warmups, that's excited me. Frank Sowinski walked onto the court in practice. I could be dead tired: I saw him, I felt good. Billy Omeltchenko. Craig Robinson. I call them light bulbs. They walk on the floor, the light goes on." - February 6, 1991.

"Nature is indifferent to the plight of man." - After a 1974 loss at Penn.

"Winning a national championship is not something you're going to do at Princeton. I resigned myself to that years ago. What does it mean, anyway? When I'm dead, maybe two guys will walk past my grave. And one will say to the other 'poor guy, never won a national championship.' And I won't hear a word they say." - February 3, 1990, after winning his 400th game.

"All I ever wanted since I got into coaching was to get the best from every kid I had. And I have not improved one bit in that respect. I will never be able to understand that. But that's what you stand for. A guy who gives you less than what he can give you is one, telling you what he thinks of you and two, telling you what he thinks of himself. And in both cases, it's bad. Now that's old fashioned talk, but I don't think that's ever going to change for me or for anybody." - January 19, 1982, on how his coaching philosophies had changed with time.

"Some people like General Patton. I like General Grant. The Spartan way of life isn't for everybody." - 1983.

"Passing is a lost art. Everybody makes such a federal case today about team player because there's a scarcity of it. Greed is a reason. You have to understand the influence of greed. The great economic teachers of our time have never given consideration to greed. I once got a low grade in economics because I said there wasn't enough sociology in economics." - 1976.

"Look at all the things you have to do to win. You have to sublimate your individual greed for the sake of the team. You have to conform to certain training rules that deny you the chance of having as much fun as your friends are having, You are asked to provide total mental concentration. All those require a great deal, whereas losing requires absolutely nothing." - 1976, before Princeton played Rutgers in the NCAA Tournament.

"The hardest thing in the world to do is to do one thing particularly well for a long period of time at whatever standards you establish. Take the doctor who delivers his first baby. That's a huge thrill. Does he, 30 years later, get the same thrill. Or did Rex Harrison after 1,000 performances of My Fair Lady?" - 1986.

"I want my centers to behave like Bill Russell." - 1972.

"God blessed me the day that kid walked into my life." - 1991 on center Kit Mueller.

"If you got a C on your report card, he wouldn't let you play. He taught me that it's very important to do what you're supposed to do. When you reduce your standards, they turn around and attack you." - 1981, talking about his father's influence.

"We pass, we cut, we shoot the ball well and we look for good shots. The main thing is to get a good shot every time down the floor. If that's old fashioned than I'm guilty." - 1991.

"This is a tough school. Kids ask me how they can compete with the quality of student here. I tell them don't. You compete with yourself. It's what you do versus what you could do that counts. Life or basketball, it's all the same." - February 20, 1990.

"I think, when I'm not in this world, I'll have a nice talk with God. I'll ask, 'Why did you do this to me? Why pick me out for this? What did my grandfather do?' We've had a couple games like this. It makes you question what's going on up there." - February 6, 1990, after Penn's Hassan Duncombe tipped in a missed foul shot to steal a 51-50 win.

"I'm going to start putting Xs and Os on this board, and I'll move them around with the greatest of ease. But when you put a person in place of an X or an O, he might not be fast enough or strong enough or willing enough to get the job done. I want a kid who goes ahead and does what he knows has to be done, who doesn't give himself an excuse to fail. If a guy misses five shots in a row, will he have the intestinal fortitude to take the sixth shot? Me, I want a kid who'll take the sixth shot." - January 7, 1980.

"So much depends upon their attitudes. What kind of guys are they? Do they love to play? Do they understand what we're trying to do? Do they realize what the word 'commitment' means? Do they understand teamwork? Do they realize they have to be responsible to each other? All those things - I call them the life parts of the game - goes into it. The technical parts of the game are affected by the life parts. What kind of guy is he? Because no matter what you do, the most important thing is who's doing it. You can make almost anything work if the right guy is doing it." - October 13, 1994.

"People forget 45 seconds is an awful long time. It's hard to hold the ball that long. It's hard to hold it for 35 seconds. I voted for the 45 second clock. I'd vote for 35 seconds and I'd still play the same way. I've been playing that way for 37 years. Under 35 seconds, I wouldn't go for. Under 35, the last vestiges of cerebral aspects of the game would disappear. Without that, what's the sense of playing. There's got to be something left for the head to do." - 1989, before the shot clock was lowered to 35 seconds.

"These are tough times for a pessimist." - 1991, while Princeton was en route to a 14-0 Ivy League record and a No. 17 national ranking.

Jon Solomon said,

April 16, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

I'll share a recent one:

Before Princeton's team banquet began last week Athletic Director Gary Walters gave a few remarks and singled out people standing nearby like Stan Adleson, Herb Hobler, Inge Radice and George Boccanfuso.

When Walters said something about Boccanfuso's daily work keeping Jadwin clean since his retirement from Princeton in 1989, Carril chimed in from the sidelines at the perfect moment "You can't fire Georgie Buc!"


Tim Saunders said,

April 16, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

Hi Jon,
I will also share a quote from the Banquet. I saw Patrick enjoying a moment with Coach Carril. As I approached them to get a picture, I commented on how much fun this has been and how I will miss these times. He quickly and firmly said "Are you kidding me??? FUN???? Do you have any idea how hard this kid has worked here for 4 years. It's HARD WORK, NOT FUN!!!. Mrs. Saunders, there will never be anything in Pat's life that will be as hard as what he just did here." I thanked him and assured him I agreed.


Steven Postrel said,

April 18, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

I wish I had the exact quote from when Carril was explaining the people vs. X-and-O bit by running through his roster and its current strengths and weaknesses. As I recall, he said that on a fast break Isaac Carter would be at the other end of the floor while Neil Christel was just getting started and Gordon Enderle would still be studying at the Engineering Quad. Wish I had more than the paraphrase--his delivery was very good.

Paul Witteman said,

April 21, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

Dave Faucher brought his best team to Jadwin from Hanover with serious expectations of beating Princeton. The Tigers waxed the Big Green, absolutely embarrassed them. When Pete was asked how this was accomplished, he said, "The;y had defendable players and we defended them."

Jon Solomon said,

April 21, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

It was this quote that led me to say after the past season's Elon game:

"They had guardable players and [Princeton] didn't guard them."

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