December 12, 2007: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
As civil wars go, it may not have been the blue and the gray, but when the blue-and-silver clad Dallas Cowboys took on the blue-and-gold St. Louis Rams in late September, the game did pit brother against brother. In this case, those brothers were Dallas assistants Jason Garrett ’89, the team’s offensive coordinator, and John Garrett ’88, the tight ends coach, against their younger brother, St. Louis assistant Judd Garrett ’90, who coaches the Rams’ tight ends.
Though the brothers always have been close, there is little time for fraternization in the NFL. The three met at John’s house for a quick dinner the night before the game but had time only to say goodbye after the Cowboys won 35–7, and the Rams had to leave for the airport. “I always want my brothers to do well,” Judd says, “but once you’re playing against them, you want your team to win.”
The Garretts inherited the coaching gene from their father, Jim, a longtime NFL assistant and scout who also served as Columbia University’s head coach in 1985. Jim Garrett was fired after one 0–10 season, a decision that had beneficial repercussions for Princeton. Jason, who had spent his freshman year at Princeton before transferring when his father took the Columbia job, transferred back. John, who was a Columbia sophomore, followed, while Judd, a high school senior who had been accepted at both schools, decided to enroll at Princeton. All three were named to All-Ivy squads, and Jason won the Asa S. Bushnell ’21 Cup as Ivy player of the year in 1988.
At the end of his playing days, during which he won two Super Bowl rings as a backup for the Cowboys, Jason was hired as quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins, where he impressed enough people that Dallas hired him as the offensive coordinator last winter before the team even had decided on a new head coach. John worked as an assistant with three NFL teams and coached receivers at the University of Virginia before Jason hired him for the Cowboys staff. Judd, meanwhile, helped his father coach high school football in Ohio for a year while trying to sign on with an NFL staff. Eventually he, too, moved on to Miami, and when Dolphins assistant Scott Linehan was hired as the Rams’ head coach in 2006, he took Judd with him.
Dallas looks like a Super Bowl contender this season. During games, Jason prowls the sidelines, calling in plays, while fielding reports and suggestions from John, who works in the coaches’ box high atop the stadium. In an adjoining box, Judd tries to pick apart defensive coverages that might help his tight ends make a gain. He also has been coping with the responsibility of raising four young children following the sudden death of his wife, Kathy Kobler Garrett ’91, last summer. (See sidebar.)
All three brothers cite their father’s influence and his availability as a source of wisdom and coaching experience. “A lot of stuff dad shared — professionalism, how to approach the game — is so important,” Jason says. He adds that he appreciated the unique opportunity to coach with Judd in Miami and with John now. John returns the compliment. “[Jason] is not only a brother,” he says. “He’s my friend.”
After squandering two early scoring chances and falling behind a minute after halftime, Princeton football climbed to within a touchdown of undefeated Yale in the fourth quarter Nov. 10. But the Bulldogs drained the Tigers’ momentum with a 13-play, eight-minute touchdown drive that put the game out of reach.
On the pivotal drive, Yale ran the ball on 12 consecutive plays (11 by All-Ivy tailback Mike McLeod) before quarterback Matt Polhemus found wide receiver Chris Denny-Brown in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown toss. A minute later, after intercepting a Princeton pass, Yale added another touchdown to seal a 27–6 win.
Princeton head coach Roger Hughes said a drive like Yale’s “takes the wind out of your sails.” The Tigers’ offense had moved the ball effectively, but in the game’s crucial moments, it was relegated to the sideline as the Bulldogs methodically plowed down the center of the field.
In the first half, quarterback Bill Foran ’08 led the Tigers inside the Yale 5-yard line twice, but two costly fumbles — one on a Foran handoff to Adam Berry ’09, the other on a run by the quarterback — left Princeton with no points to show for its efforts.
Princeton (3–6, 2–4 Ivy League) devoted an extra safety to stopping the run and held McLeod to a season-low 107 yards in the game. But when Yale needed him most, McLeod responded, running for first downs on three key third-down plays in the second half.
Lon Johnson ’08, above, caught two touchdown passes, but SPRINT FOOTBALL could not keep up with Penn in a 53–18 loss Nov. 2. Injuries forced Princeton to forfeit one game in early October, and the Tigers were held scoreless in two others before finding the end zone three times against the Quakers.
FIELD HOCKEY beat Penn 3–1 Nov. 2 to win its
third straight Ivy League championship. The Tigers lost to Massa-chusetts
2–1 in the preliminary round of the NCAA Championships Nov. 6.
The Princeton women’s soccer team held a moment of silence before its Oct. 13 game against Columbia in memory of Kathy Kobler Garrett ’91, who died suddenly of an apparent heart attack Aug. 19 at age 38. Garrett was a soccer captain and All-American. “She was the perfect midfielder,” recalls Kathryn Hamm ’91. “She played with incredible precision, yet she was always out there doing the work.” Garrett also was an All-Ivy softball player. Teammate Leslie Silverman ’92 remembered Garrett’s “exceptional speed, but there was grace to that speed.” After college, she worked as a personal trainer and coached youth soccer while helping to raise four children. Said husband Judd Garrett ’90: “I think she represented what Princeton is all about.”
As scheduled, the Ivy League kept playing women’s volleyball through Nov. 14. But the title race ended early for all but Princeton.
When the Tigers beat Brown Nov. 9 to improve their league record to 12–0, they rendered moot the league’s remaining six matches. The win clinched Princeton’s first outright league title since 2000 and earned the Tigers a berth in the NCAA tournament.
“We never got nervous or scared,” said libero Jenny McReynolds ’08 of her front-running team. “We became fired up to the point where losing was no longer an option.”
The night after the Brown match, the Tigers swept Yale to give head coach Glenn Nelson his 560th win, eclipsing the Princeton record set by former softball coach Cindy Cohen. McReynolds said that win “made this season really magical — as corny as that sounds,” though Nelson said he “kind of low-keyed it: ‘You know, whatever.’”
Nelson, a winner of 12 previous Ivy titles, has seen success before. This year’s team, though, won its championship in historic fashion by recording the first undefeated season since the league went to a 14-game schedule in 2001.
Going from a 2–3 preseason start to a 22–3 finish, the Tigers marched steadily through their schedule. Penn and Dartmouth both pushed Princeton to five games, but no one else came as close. With a 3–1 win over Penn in the regular season finale Nov. 14, the Tigers made their case as the best team in Ivy history.
“We have a unique chemistry, and we think that the program as a whole is different,” said outside hitter Parker Henritze ’09. “We’re usually dancing during warm-ups rather than scouting every team’s hitters. We have a lot of fun.”
Though Princeton ranked sixth among the Ivies in digs and last in blocks, defense mattered less with solid passing and the league’s three most prolific hitters all playing on the same side of the net.
Henritze, outside hitter Sheena Donohue ’10, and middle blocker Lindsey Ensign ’09 each recorded more than four kills per game to take the league’s top three spots in that category. McReynolds picked up 5.65 digs per game, and setter Bailey Robinson ’09 led the league in assists.
Though Nelson and assistant coach Sabrina King ’01 assembled the Tiger lineup, the longtime coach said he rejects the tendency to micromanage. He refers to the players as “them,” not “we,” in an effort to assign due credit. “We give them an offense, a defense, some dos, don’ts,” Nelson said, “and we let them play.”
By Josh Stephens ’97
Josh Stephens ’97 is a contributing writer to Volleyball Magazine.