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Pete Carril Receives Princeton Honorary Doctorate

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 06/05/2012
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Princeton University President Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman congratulates Pete Carril on his honorary doctorate.
Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications

Pete Carril, Princeton's men's basketball coach from 1967-96, received an honorary doctorate in humanities from Princeton University at the June 5 commencement ceremony.

Below is the synopsis of Carril's Princeton career that the university issued with its announcement of the six honorary degree recipients. The full release can be found here.

Hall of Fame college basketball coach Peter "Pete" Carril led the Princeton University men's basketball team for 29 seasons and is known for popularizing a style of play now called "the Princeton offense." After college, the Army and several high school and college coaching positions, Carril came to Princeton in 1967. The teams he coached won 514 games and 13 Ivy League championships, and led the nation in defensive points allowed 14 times. Rather than flashy play, the Princeton offense revolved around the principles of discipline and selflessness, and the strategy of constant motion, passing and cutting.

Carril took Princeton to 11 NCAA tournaments and two National Invitation Tournaments, winning the NIT in 1975. In the first round of the NCAA tournament in 1996, Princeton notched a memorable win by beating the defending champion University of California-Los Angeles team; it was Carril's last victory as the Princeton head coach. At the time that he retired, he was the only Division I coach to earn 500 victories without providing athletic scholarships, which the Ivy League prohibits. Carril then joined the NBA's Sacramento Kings, spending 15 years as an assistant coach and consultant. In 1997, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2009, the game floor of Princeton's Jadwin Gymnasium was named Carril Court.

More often than not, his players were shorter, slower and less athletically gifted than their opponents, but he turned their limitations into strengths - teaching them that the greatest attributes were intelligence, discipline, selflessness and commitment. His defense was tenacious and his offense was legendary, where movement was paramount, the pass was as important as the shot, and the back door was often the portal to victory. David once again beat Goliath when he coached Princeton to one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history, but his greatest legacy was his teaching. He once wrote, "I think Princeton kept me because some of my players seemed better for the experience." So is college sport. So are we all.

 

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