Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 PFA Events Calendar

2015 PFA Calendar: 
The Princeton Football Association, along with Coach Surace & Staff, has  assembled an action packed schedule as highlighted below.

·                     February 19th - Armstrong Dinner, Princeton Club of NY 6:00
·                     February 24th - Princeton Club of Philadelphia luncheon

·                     March 21st - Spring Game, Princeton vs. Kwansei Gakuin, Osaka, Japan
·                     April 25th – Spring Football Team Pro Day Olympics

·                     April/May – (Various dates and locations TBD) – Head Coach Regional Receptions
·                     May 29th - Alumni Football Game 1:00 PM - Princeton Stadium

·                     May 29th - Reunions Reception 3:00-6:00 PM - Princeton Stadium
·                     July 13th - Annual PFA Golf Classic 10:00 AM honoring Mike Hirou ’91

·                     Football CampsJune 19, 22, 26 & 29 / July 10 & 11 / Kicking Camp – June 25th
·                     September 19th – Season Opener - Princeton @ Lafayette

·                     September 26th – Home Opener - Lehigh vs. Princeton
·                     October 3th Columbia vs. Princeton

·                     October 10th – Colgate vs. Princeton
·                     October 17thPrinceton @ Brown

·                     October 24th - Princeton @ Harvard
·                     October 31st – Cornell vs. Princeton PFA Tailgate Honoring all living Poe-           Kazmaier Award Winners

·                     November 7th - Princeton @ Penn
·                     November 14th – Yale vs. Princeton PFA tailgate honoring the 20th            Anniversary of the 1995 Ivy Championship Team

·                     November 21ndPrinceton @ Dartmouth
·                    November 22rd – Lourie Football Banquet

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Princeton University dominates Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan


Princeton University capped their spring practice season with a 36-7 victory over the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters, the national college champion of Japan, in their “Legacy Bowl” match-up Saturday, March 21. The last time they faced the Fighters was in 2001, where they only pulled out a victory after a late field goal that ended the game at 27-25. The Tigers ability to pursue the ball and maintain good balance on defense made for an impressive Princeton performance.

Tigers ready on the field to face the Fighters
The Tigers put up its first six points six minutes into the first quarter. A long pass by junior quarterback Chad Kanoff put them on the goal line, and a handoff to junior running back A.J. Glass resulted in a touchdown. Princeton, looking to experiment after its spring practices, attempted a 2-point conversion. The ball was fumbled on the one yard line, and the Tigers were forced to hand over the ball to the Fighters.

It didn’t take long for a turn-over, and five minutes later, Princeton set itself up with on the 10-yard line after a 25-yard rush by senior running back DrĂ© Nelson. Two plays later, a touchdown pass from Kanoff to senior wide receiver Isaiah Barnes and a successful field goal kick by placekicker Nolan Bieck put the Tigers at 13-0.

Princeton scored twice more before halftime.

Early in the second quarter at third-and-goal Glass dove for another touchdown. The Tigers failed to earn the extra point after another attempted 2-point conversion pass was batted down by the Fighter defense.

The second score came when senior quarterback Kedric Bostic tossed it to junior running back Joe Rhattigan. The Tigers ticked on the extra point with a kick and ended the half at 26-0.

When Princeton returned to the field for the third quarter, they didn’t let up.

Their streak continue with a 30-yard punt return by sophomore linebacker Mark Fossati that set up the Tigers for a field goal on the 15-yard line.

Midway into the third quarter, Kanoff passed to junior wide receiver James Frusciante for a touchdown. Another extra point put the score at 36-0.

Kwansei Gakuin was able to gain its only seven points on the Tigers with four minutes left in the game, when they rushed from the 10-yard line for a touchdown to cap the game at 36-7.

The spring victory sent the Tigers home satisfied and optimistic heading into the fall. The “Legacy Bowl” showed a strong run for both offensive and defensive players. Every player experienced time on the field, allowing Princeton to experiment with their play before the Sept. 19 against Lafayette College.

“We did some things we don’t usually do in the regular season, trying to get some practice,” Head Coach Bob Surace said. “We really involved a lot of people and were successful in various positions. We moved the ball well throughout the first quarter almost all the way through the third quarter.”

Kanoff’s 15 passes for 207 yards earned him the 2015 Legacy Bowl MVP title. Freshman quarterback John Lovett also took to the field, catching five passes for 65 yards and rushing for 40 yards.

Quarterback Chad Kanoff is named 2015 Legacy Bowl MVP.

Princeton also displayed a strong rushing game. Glass rushed for 12 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson rushed 11 times for 77 yards. Rhattigan rushed 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.

In the passing game, the Tigers also impressed. Barnes had three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, and Frusciante had six catches for 66 yards. Junior tight end Scott Carpenter had three catches for 53 yards.

“We did a good job of keeping things simple, and coaches did a good job adapting,” Surace said. “We ran 90 plays, and in 82 or 83 of them, we made good decisions. Young guys who might be quote-un-quote inexperienced really stepped up, and that’s something to build on.”

Defensively, Princeton also stood out.

Junior defensive backs Sam Huffman and Markus Phox had interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Quincy Wolff and junior defensive back Matt Arends had sacks.

“Defensively, we maintained good balance between pressure and good technique, which was really good to see,” Surace said. “We tackled extremely well and did a good job on third downs and getting off the field in the first half.”
Tigers celebrate after their victory.

The plan for the Tigers in the coming months is to make corrections based on game film. Coaches will meet with players individually to target areas needing improvement. The team will focus on their conditioning and lifting program.

“We have to keep getting stronger and faster,” Surace said. “We can sit down and meet with players individually, and hammer home two or three things that will go from weaknesses to strength in the next months before Lafayette.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Big Quarterback Question


With an absence in the pocket after losing veteran quarterbacks Quinn Epperly and Connor Michelson to graduation, the Tigers are left to decide between senior Kedric Bostic, junior Chad Kanoff and sophomore John Lovett who will lead the fast, hurry-up offense in the upcoming fall season.

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach James Perry looks to fill the position that can keep the fast and physical brand the Tigers are known for.

“We develop schematics based on the abilities of our players,” Perry said. “Most important thing for our current quarterbacks to do is demonstrate they can operate our offense fast. Being fast is the most pivotal part of what our offense is, and we can only go as fast as our quarterback will direct.”

Yet, the Tigers remain undecided as to how they will approach fitting the quarterbacks into their fast offense.

“We are learning their strengths this spring,” Perry said. “Having three talented guys compete is an ideal situation for them all to get the most out of their ability. The most important advantage is we can put our best players on field as opposed to leaving backup quarterback on sideline”.

It is unknown whether Princeton will see another 2- or 3-quarterback play style or if the team will stick with one player.

“We used to have 2 to 3 quarterbacks the last few years because they demonstrated they were some of our best players,” Perry said. “We will evaluate this crew and if they show they deserve it, we will continue to do that.”

The race is a tight one.

Bostic’s strength lies in his ability as a runner, quick to the edge with the ability to make cuts, but it is unknown whether he throws the ball well enough to capture the starting position.

Kanoff, however, amazes in his passing game as a more pro-style pocket passer. He was a recruiting coup, decommitted from Vanderbilt, who throws an extremely accurate ball. Although he is more lacking in the run game than the other two, not really the option to make cutbacks or beat defenders to the edge, but once up to speed, Kanoff has long strides that can cover ground.

Lovett dazzled in his Junior Varsity games last season, emerging as a passing and throwing hybrid. Yet, he is younger than the other two competitors, and quarterback is the hardest position to learn.

The competition remains open, though. Epperly and Michelson represented hard workers, and the quarterbacks who fill the position have to bring the same qualities to practice, said Perry. It’s about the improvement. Epperly started with far superior running skills to passing skills, while Michelson was the opposite. Epperly improved astonishingly at the pass game, and Michelson became better at the run.

Whoever winds up with the majority of the snaps, Perry will find a way to put all three athletes on the field.

Part of a team with an influx of young quarterbacks and receivers, Bostic’s previous three years of experience with Epperly and Michelson give him an edge in the competition. Since his collegiate debut against Dartmouth in 2012, Bostic has seen significant play time as a member of 2- and 3-quarterback plays. Over his Princeton career, he rushed 21 times for a total of 125 yards, earning two touchdowns, completed 11 of 18 passing attempts for 101 yards, and received 16 passes for 81 yards.

Kedric Bostic 909798
Kedric Bostic '17

“Quinn and Connor provided a leadership to all of us in that basically they’d been in the system for four years working in the game and everything, so all three of us have to step up and lead the team,” Bostic said. “I’ve seen how everything has gone for four years. We need to make sure that we’re still playing fast and physical. We can’t drop off at all.”

Bostic looks to improve his accuracy, positioning and decision-making during spring practice.

“We’re focused on getting better every day,” Bostic said. “We’re not focused on just Japan [Princeton football is currently there playing in the Legacy Bowl], but every day in practice trying to get better. That’s how we get where we want to be next year, which is winning another Ivy League Championship. Every day we go out, we just focus on that day and that practice. We just focus on something we want to improve.”

Kanoff, however, is entering his third season having seen time on-field as well.

Chad Kanoff 1567238
Chad Kanoff '17
“It’s a new team this year, and we have a good start to spring football,” Kanoff said. “We just have to know the offense at this point. We’re just aiming to get better and striving toward the championship.”

Kanoff’s goal in spring practice is efficiency.

“I’ve been working on weight and strength,” Kanoff said. “Football wise, I’m trying to make sure I’m efficient. It’s a goal for the team and individually.”

Yet, sophomore Lovett could be a dark horse in the competition for starting position. Seniority gives Kanoff and Bostic an edge in experience, but Lovett could prove ready. Recruited from DeMatha Catholic, Lovett led his high school in passing yards and passing touchdowns and successfully to a state championship.

“I’m looking to going out with this team for another football season and doing whatever the coaches ask me to do,” Lovett said. “As a unit, we aim to get better each day.”
John Lovett 1861143
John Lovett '18

Though he didn’t see field time in 2014, Lovett played quarterback during Junior Varsity games. He entered spring practice with the goal of improving varying aspects of his play.

“As quarterback, you can never know enough or be accurate enough,” Lovett said. “We watch a lot of film. We’re running and throwing with receivers. Quinn and Connor provided leadership and both graduated. We all have to step up and be leaders so we can achieve our goals.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

There is a Nippon in the Air


Whatever the temperatures on the first day of spring practice on Friday, they won’t leave the Tigers any colder than did a 5-5 season. Getting on the field five weeks earlier than normal might work towards a better 2015.

In the program change necessitated by Princeton’s trip to Osaka, Japan for the final week of drills, Coach Bob Surace can see enough potential advantages to ponder making permanent this revised spring schedule. But not if the majority of the 12 NCAA-allowed spring practices take place in concentration-sapping snow and wind.

John Lovett '18
“Until we have an indoor facility, it’s [going to be] cold,”  said Surace. “But the advantage is that when spring ball ends this year, we get the guys for another six-week, power (lifting) session before spring break, so I think our lifting numbers will go up.

“Instead of running in the (Jadwin Gym) basement, we also are going to be able to work on some real speed training outside. The other thing is that after spring ball has ended, our coaches have always been on the road recruiting (high school juniors). This year, before they leave, we will have a month where if a player wants to have a voluntary meeting with a coach he can do it.

“So I think in all those ways it will be a positive. The negative, besides the weather, is that the players need more urgency (in preparation before spring practice), but they seem to have it. Saturday the whole team was out there (for an unsupervised workout.)”

The players have understood that the ones who make the biggest jumps in the weight room through the winter often make the biggest ones on the field during the spring.  

“John Lovett has had tremendous workouts,” said Surace. “Dre Nelson continues to just take good steps in everything he is doing.  

“From last year to this year at this time, A.J. Glass has made a huge jump. Scott Carpenter made a leap last year and has made another one. Hunter Hill has made a huge jump, we’re looking forward to seeing if he can take a jump on the field. 
Mark Fosatti '18
“It will be interesting to see the defensive backs. Both the incumbents and the others have looked good at the workouts. We’ll see when they put the pads on. But I’m really excited to see what they look like.”

The players too, figure to be more excited about a real game against a true opponent -- perennial Japanese powerhouse Kwansei Gakuin University -- rather than just the usual controlled intra-squad scrimmage. The downside of a 14-hour time zone trip and all the jet lag it will bring should be trumped by the total experience, Surace believes.

“Talking to some of the guys who went on the last trip there (in 2001), Coach (Steve) Verbit being one of them, Taylor Northrop '02 being another, the team bonding outweighed any of the disadvantages,” said the coach.

In Osaka, the Tigers will be tourists on Tuesday and Thursday between practices which will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to the March 21st game. But of course, they have plenty of work to do before they get on the plane, principally to begin the process of replacing two Asa S. Bushnell Cup winners, quarterback Quinn Epperly and linebacker Mike Zeuli.

Two years ago, Chad Kanoff was Princeton’s biggest recruiting coup in two decades. His teammates have remarked that he throws some of the prettiest balls ever seen on a practice field. But Kedric Bostic’s multiple-option abilities likely will earn his share of snaps come fall. And it’s not just because Surace would promote a competition between two guys clipping their toe nails that rising freshman John Lovett quickly is in the mix.
Scott Northcutt '17
“Lovett is tremendous athletically, up to 220 pounds, very much like Kedric in terms of speed and athleticism,” said Surace.  “And from what we saw in the JV games he throws the ball really well.”

“I think all of them have talent. But who is going to take the checkdown and make the smart decision and who is going to force the ball into a small window? Watching film of Quinn, it was very rare where you had to ask him, ‘Why did you force that?’ As these guys get reps, we have to get them making good decisions.”

Zeuli is the only 2014 defensive starter not returning, some consolation but not much considering he was the most indispensible member of the unit.  His backup, Luke Merrell, also is graduating, so the competition at the WIL linebacker spot is wide open. Mark Fossati, Luke Catarius, Scott Northcutt, and Deion King perhaps have some advantage over Thomas Martello, who was injured last year. Or, perhaps not. Because of the depth behind R.J. Paige at SAM linebacker, he might move over, if at least two of the underclassmen above not yet emerge as starting caliber.

Just as James Perry will continue to find ways to put more than one quarterback on the field, it will take more than one linebacker to plug Zeuli’s spot


Leon Wright, who played cornerback and returned punts on Duke teams that began that program's turnaround, then worked his way up from an internship to join the defensive staff at the school, has joined Princeton as a defensive assistant. He replaces Stephen Thomas, who has left for a quality control position with the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff.

“In addition to being a good teacher, one of the qualities I look for in almost every hire is that the [candidate] coached or played at a school similar to Princeton,” said Surace. “That’s because of the balance that athletes need here.

“And if they coached or played at the NFL level or the highest college level, that helps in developing the players. 

“I think Leon, like [Stephen Thomas], is going to connect unbelievably with our players. Every one we talked to says he is a hard worker.”

"It's the type of environment I want to be around," said Wright. "Once I arrived on campus, it just solidified this as a place where I would see myself continuing to grow as a coach."


Because of a looming deadline on a book for my primary employer, the Philadelphia Flyers, I reluctantly have to step back for a time from my duties at  I will write the game stories this fall and perhaps the occasional piece while Rebeccah Barger '18 will handle the bulk of the coverage.  My hope is to return in a more fulltime role in September 2016.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The First Sign of Spring is Gallucci Chirping


The weights don't wait. The Tigers were in the weight room the Monday after Thanksgiving, Jason Gallucci having no time for procrastinators in any winter, let alone this one.

He, not Punxsutawney Phil (the legendary groundhog), has taken first responsibility for declaring it spring. The Tigers are playing the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters in Osaka on March 21, which means they will take their last week of spring practice in Japan. causing them to take their first week of it here on February 27, almost a month earlier than usual. Thus Gallucci's time to turn these guys into Godzillas is as short as his patience is generally this time of the year.

“Every time we test this time of year I always come out of it a little frustrated,” said Princeton's Director of Strength and Conditioning. “I want to see the kids come back and blow their old weight out of the water and that’s just unrealistic.  

Jason Gallucci
“The nature of what we do takes time. If it does happen overnight, it is not happening in the right way. So I always eventually go back and look at the numbers and say we did well. Considering the guys we didn’t test, we probably are close to where we typically are."

The first of three tests always is right after the season, the second in early February, then the third during late March.  The benefit of the early practice will be having a late period this spring in April.

“It will give us chance to reevaluate, tweak our game at halftime" said Gallucci. "The format give us a chance to make some gains we couldn’t in the past."

So far the gains, as measured by an earlier middle test -- in mid-January rather than mid-February, are less dramatic that usual. But they are gains nevertheless. In the combined bench, squat and hang clean -- by which the Tigers set a minimum goal of 1000 pounds for everyone -- 11 players made a 50-pound plus increase, 30 improved by 30 pounds and 15 went up 20.

This was true was even though Evan Kappatos and Ian McGeary, the two highest scoring Tigers a year ago, were not tested as they are recovering from physical setbacks suffered during the 2014 season.

Then, too, annually missing this time of year, are senior who are onto the rest of their lives. They are replaced by freshmen participating in their first offseason at Princeton, an annual rite of passage that is Gallucci's annual rite of anxiety.  Required at practically every January reading period is him reading the riot act, challenging rising sophomores in particular to lift their expectations.

 “You can see in our younger guys that they don’t have that hunger, the understanding of our guys who went through two 1-9 seasons that this could happen again," he said."Absolutely, you need the fear that someone is outworking you and will come in and beat you. 

"That is one of the things I always preach because it was preached to me [as a linebacker at Penn State]. You have to run scared.”

Brannon Jones '17

In the absence of Kappatos, who scored 1208 a year ago, Brannon Jones ’17 is the current king of Princeton’s weight room at 1167 pounds. Tom Yetter '15 is second at 1095, Hunter Hill ’18 is third at 1088, Marcus Stroud '17 is fourth at 1082 , and Dre Nelson, ’16, all 170 pounds of him, an astounding fifth at 1071.  Sixth at 1069 is Logan Dziak, a freshman outlier before he lifted a single pound at Princeton..

“Henry Schlossberg (’17) was strong in certain ways last year, more well-rounded now,” said Gallucci. “Rohan Hylton (’17) did really well. 

“Alex Ford (’17) has really come along.  Khalil Bryant (’18) came back from winter break looking like he really worked it and Joe Percival (’18) gets better every day he is in here.”

For the underclassmen, you either are getting better or you are getting worse. This is not quite so true for upperclass high achievers trying to get over 1200 – why Gallucci is instituting some Olympic-style lifting for devotes struggling to get off plateaus.

Generally, the guys who make the best jumps in the winter often make the most progress on the field in the spring. When your best players are among your highest achievers in the weight room, as was the case with Mike Zeuli, Caraun Reid and Make Catapano, impressionable young minds are quicker to see a cause and effect between grunts and glory.

Individual responsibility, however, still is the bottom line in an environment where Tigers are given every means -- including a longer off-season than the teams that play 12 and 13 games -- to achieve every possible ounce of strength. Fat chance of any player suffering any confusion about what is expected of him.  

Victoria Rosenfeld
Victoria P. Rosenfeld, the anthropometrist and sports dietitian, is the lady with the calipers and the advice.

"I can’t say that nutrition directly brings wins, only indirectly say that bigger stronger, faster athletes do," she said.  “I can tell them how improved body compositions and recovery will help lead to improved speed, strength and endurance.

“I talk to them about sleep, stress reduction and time management whenever they meet (individually) with me and whenever I do team presentations. After that, what the athlete does with that is out of my hands."

Three years after Ms. Rosenfeld came to Princeton, the Tigers know this woman is not just chewing the fat. The Tigers are learning that they are what they eat.

“The biggest thing I have done is increase what I call their food IQ; change the way they will nourish themselves for the rest of their lives," said Rosenfeld. "Basically, anything that comes off a tree or out of the ground is golden.

"We are stressing recovery in whole foods by using more products like chocolate milk and tart cherry juice. Real food has a greater viability of nutrient and also is less expensive -- a banana instead of a protein bar, a chocolate milk instead of a shake in a can. Fruit. Greek yogurt. Nutrition. Antioxidants.

Tom Yetter '16

"Being here three years, only the seniors remember what it was like to recover during training camp with just a bar and a Gatorade. Now it’s salty pretzels, pickles, icees when it is hot. We have gotten oatmeal back, brown rice in the camp dining hall. In the last two years we have had virtually no weight loss at the end of camp, a great indicator they are getting what they need to survive it."

Of course, winning is not the only fun to be had during these guys' college years. It might be a losing battle to convince them to be as wary of processed sugar as much as they are say, Yale. 

"I teach them an 80-20 rule, the 20 being enjoyable," said Rosenfeld. "You want a pizza night? Then have a pizza night. The chocolate fountain at Forbes a few times a week? Do that.

“I tell them not to drink (alcohol) at all if they want to perform at their best. And then I tell them, ‘whatever level you can moderate that is ideal.’ I show them a picture of 20 beers per week and how that equates into 15 cheesesteaks, which is a pound every week, like you would gain eating candy bars. 

"There is a slew of evidence that alcohol doesn’t support recovery. So I share with them the science and I leave it in their hands. I think they all respect what I do but they are all young too, so some are going to do the work and some aren’t.” 

Hunter Hill '18 
White rice -- with different nutrients than brown but nutrients nevertheless -- has gotten a bad rap, says Victoria, convenient for the Tigers given their upcoming trip as rice is a staple of the Japanese diet. Speaking of Japan, that’s almost as far to go as Gallucci insists some of the rising sophomores have to go in their progress this offseason. But the move-up in spring practice because of the international trip ultimately accommodates his agenda.

“It’s almost nice because it will give us chance to reevaluate, tweak our game at halftime," he said. "The format give us a chance to make some gains we couldn’t in the past. It’s just not going to happen as fast. “

Then again, it never happens as fast as Gallucci desires.  

“A freshman who is 250 pounds, if he can only move 750 (pounds of weight) now then he is not going to get to 1200," he frets. "If that kid gets on the field we probably are in trouble.

“The common message I am trying to send is if you are not reaching your goals it is due to a poor approach when it comes to rest and recovery. Nutrition is a huge part of that. 

“If they are not fueling properly and getting enough sleep, that certainly will curtail their ability to make the progress they would like to make and we would like them to make.”  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bastone Has Been a Tiger on Behalf of Patients


The lump that forms in Dr. Peter Bastone’s throat for Princeton and its football program started with a lump at his collarbone.

“In May of my senior year of high school, I found a node right above my clavicle, hard like a golf ball,” said Bastone ’80,  “Then I had an appendicitis attack and they had to take care of it and the biopsy of the node at the same time.

“While in there, they felt my spleen and it was enlarged. Hodgkin's Disease, almost Stage Four. I had had no other symptoms, no night sweats, no weight loss, wasn’t even tired. The doctors were amazed it was so advanced.”

Dr. Peter Bastone '80
He was diagnosed three weeks after his father Frank, a homicide detective for the Chicago Police Department, dropped dead of a heart attack chasing a suspect. All this five months before Bastone was scheduled to start Princeton. That’s a lot at any age, let alone 17, but what didn’t kill Pete Bastone has made every health system he has run that much stronger.

Christmas, the ultimate time for giving, is time to give this President and CEO of the Chesapeake (Va.) Regional Medical Center, his due. This is not just another suit, unless it is a Santa suit. Bastone has dedicated his career to putting the heart back into hospitals, even as one after another has hired him to improve their bottom lines.

Medical systems pay Bastone. But patients need him. Four decades ago he was one of them, sick and scared of the persons whom he could only hope were treating his disease better than they were treating him. In 1975, the officious, busy guys in the white coats were bewildering to a first generation, just-widowed Italian mother, even confusing to her straight-As, senior class president son.

“For my mother (Concetta) especially, just going to doctors was a challenge,” said Bastone. “We didn’t understand them and were afraid of talking with them.

“At the University of Chicago Hospital, I was kind of treated like a laboratory animal from process to process, clinic to clinic.‘Do you want to be part of this trial or that trial? Take his drug or that drug?’ There was no discussion that the treatments were going to make me sterile at age 17 or about any alternatives in chemotherapy. There was no information.”

Forty years later, Hodgkin's has become one of the more curable cancers.  Bastone did his part to raise the survival rate by winning three different bouts with something most Hodgkin's patients get only once, then, at 38, coming through a quintuple heart bypass operation that likely was necessitated by overdoses of chemo two decades earlier. 

Back in the day, they only worried about saving the patient’s life, not about the treatment potentially killing you down the road.  But the advances have been remarkable. Even when Bastone suffered his last relapse, 10 years after the original diagnosis, tangential radiation pinpointed the target and cut the length of the chemotherapy from a year to six months.
Bastone Started For the 1979 Tigers

Today, Bastone still can’t get his own insurance. “On paper, I look terrible,” he said. But not only has he beaten his life expectancy, but spent it raising the expectancy of information and compassion.    

“If there is one thing that I enjoy doing it is helping people get through the complexity of the health machine,” he said. “Being a cancer survivor, the satisfaction I have is being a patient advocate.”

He pays it forward on behalf of former Princeton coach Bob Casciola, who allowed Bastone -- down 50 pounds in the immediate aftermath of massive chemotherapy blasts administered during his year of deferred admission – to walk onto the freshman team, then stood up for the kid again when university housing tried to force him to live in quarantine at McCosh Infirmary.

Thanks to the suggestion of a social worker-clinical case manager at Stanford University Medical Center -- state of the art for Hodgkins care then and now – Bastone’s stored sperm produced four children. Through the grace of the Charles Caldwell Fellowship, which is presented to Princeton football players, Bastone, who couldn’t get into medical school because of his history, gained a dual masters degree in Public Health and Corporate Management from University of California-Berkley before tackling a doctorate in Public Health from St. Louis University.   

And thanks maybe most of all to Princeton football, Bastone has friendships for life, including his best one with Steve Verbit, the Princeton assistant head coach.

Verbit, who recruits California -- where Bastone spent his career until 2012 -- refers to him football players looking for health care careers or advice about them. Thus, 35 years later, Bastone still is blocking for Princeton. Football didn’t get him in, but without it, he likely wouldn’t have stayed. 

Bob Casciola '58
“The best time of my life was at Princeton,” he says. “It gave me the foundation to be part of an extraordinary tradition. My teammates and their accomplishments professionally and personally are nothing short of phenomenal.”

Then and now, Pete Bastone, too, is high on that List of All Lists. The Latin School of Chicago, for which had been All-State, dropped football before his senior year, turning him into a soccer goalie. Cancer made him scrawny. Regardless, Casciola made a place on the field for a recuperating offensive guard and, literally, a bed for him, too.  

“Great man, extraordinary gentleman,” said Bastone. “Knowing my history he allowed me to try out.

“Having gone through the whole trauma of radiation and chemo, I told my roommate, ‘if anything goes wrong, these are my doctors’. He talked to his father, who was a physician aware of a study about clusters of Hodgkin’s patients that concluded with the possibility that the disease was contagious.  

“It was completely erroneous, yet the father called the chief medical officer of the university and got him to open up and share my medical records. HIPPA was not in place at that time. 

“The university said I had to be quarantined in a single at McCosh. I almost transferred to Notre Dame. My doctor at Stanford told me I should file suit against Princeton. But it was Casciola’s support in a meeting at the Dean of Student Affair’s office that got the University to relent.  

“My roommate left. Ted Frangos, a friend and another football player did the research, said ‘this is ridiculous’ and moved in with me.

“The support of my teammates was tremendous. I needed it, too. At every checkup, every time the doorknob turned, I expected to hear the worst.”

Indeed, after coming back so fast and so far that he had been named captain of the freshman team, Bastone suffered his first relapse later that school year. But as a senior under Coach Frank Navarro. Bastone started on Princeton’s only winning team (5-4) of the seventies.

“We went 5-2 in the league and shut out Dartmouth, the champion from the year before, who had everybody back,” he recalls. “I recovered a fumble against Harvard and we beat them 9-7.

“But the most fun I ever had in a football game was a JV game where we were losing 28-0 at halftime to Rutgers and came back to beat them 30-28.”

Bastone had a tryout with the Baltimore Colts. But the real reason he came to Princeton was to prepare for medical school.
It Has Been a Career of Patient Advocacy
“I had had a talk with Dr. Art Blevins at Northwestern Medical School. He told me that even if did well in school and had all the plusses of activities they would take a comparable candidate over me because of my health history.  

“They didn’t want to take time training someone who wasn’t going to live very long. So I made it a point when I went to Princeton that not only would I do well academically and extend myself with service to the church and community but also be an athlete to prove to those graduate schools that I was not a risk. 

Ten years before the American Disabilities Act made such discrimination illegal, the best response Bastone got from medical schools was a wait list, another way of saying they were waiting for him to die.  So Bastone went to Berkeley to study for a career in running hospitals, why he was in position to tell Congress how badly the nation needed an ADA before it passed in 1990.

By then, he had fought through a second Hodgkin's relapse at age 28. 

“The first time around I had football, something to look forward to, plus I was very body-conscious, another incentive,” Bastone said. “People looked at me as a cancer survivor playing football at Princeton; it was all positive.

“Ten years later I was CEO of a hospital (in Encino, California), an athlete no longer. So I had to go back and re-address who I was, how I was going to get over this, where the positive was in all this. 

“Cancer patients were like certain minorities, blocked out of jobs and discriminated against. It affected your relationships. I didn’t get married until I was 32 because I felt I couldn’t make a full commitment to a woman and have kids. Then I met Julie, a wonderful woman who said ‘I’m taking the risk, you aren’t. I want to be with you for the rest of my life.’

“I had a limited amount of sperm, she had to go into surgery to have eggs removed as opposed to how they do it now. Just to have our children, she had to take a lot of fertility drugs that may affect her later in life.”

His children kid him that he wasn’t a real athlete playing with a ball, only a grunt football lineman. Bastone did okay for himself regardless, turning an inner city Los Angeles hospital $40 million in the hole into a money maker in just 18 months, then growing another community Catholic hospital in Orange County into one of the top private medical and trauma center in the country. 

Bastone says he has gotten hired for the wrong reason; the stockholders, not the patients. The patients nevertheless have benefited. His favorite book is Jesus CEO, Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership. But Bastone doesn’t wear his Christianity on his sleeve, only his humanity.

“I still have a deep regret about not being able to go to medical school,” he said. “I kind of fell into administration vowing something like that won’t again happen to me or to other students with significant challenges like mine.

“I try to be an advocate for those students to go into medicine. If they don’t, there still will be hospitals that won’t treat them the way I was treated.”


Mike Zeuli. who shared the Asa S. Bushnell Cup with Harvard's Zack Hodges as co-defensive player of the year in the Ivy League, has added a third-team All America honor (chosen by The Sports Network) to being named one of the Division IAA Collegiate Players of the Year by the BrooksIrvine Club of South Jersey.