Pete Carril

(Warning: adult content)

I’ll never forget the look on my mom’s face. She was mortified, her eyes wide-open, her mouth agape. It was the early- to mid-1970s, and my mom had just picked me up from Albright College, where former Reading High and current (at the time) Princeton coach Pete Carril, and a bunch of other terrific coaches ran a camp.

Gary Walters was there, the great Jim Gano, I want to say Boyertown’s Jack McCloskey, and a guy named Tony Relvis, whom I could never figure out. Anyway … 

I got into my mom’s car, and we started driving toward home. “How was camp?” my mom asked. “It was good,” I replied. “We learned ‘not to fuck the dog.’”

Mom almost pulled the car over to the side of the road! “Yeah, Mr. Carril told us not to fuck the dog.” And, in fact, that’s what Pete Carril did do during that after-lunch lecture. He told about 75 to 100 campers at the Bollman Center to never do something we’d – at least I’d – never even considered or heard of in the first place.

I must have been 10 or 12, but it was a camp with older kids, maybe up to 10th- and 11th-graders, and some were pretty good players already. But Pete Carril wanted to let everyone know that it didn’t matter if you were a great player if you “fucked the dog.” In fairness to Mr. Carril, he did tell the youngest of the campers – of which I was one – to “cover their ears.” LOL.

“Fucking the dog,” which I didn’t know at the time, meant screwing up. Pete Carril told us we needed to get good grades, needed to treat people the right way, needed to take care of obligations and responsibilities bigger than basketball. It was about not being a punk, not doing drugs and respecting the game. It was a hell of a speech; I remember it to this day.

I was lucky enough to have three “runs” with Mr. Carril: As a kid at his camps, getting to play against Princeton when I was in college and then seeing him four times a year when he was with the Sacramento Kings. Few people have doozies like Pete Carril. I’ll probably be sharing some of them. Of course, Mr. Carril passed recently at 92, leaving an unprecedented legacy.

Here’s to Pete Carril! Don’t you ever forget he perfected his craft at Reading High School in Berks County!

About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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2 Responses to Pete Carril

  1. Anonymous says:

    Matt, an interesting ,not so well-known fact about Petey is that he was quite the Shakespearean scholar, almost a Renaissance man.So he was well versed on the importance and impact of language.
    His use of colorful language was no doubt influenced by his exposure to the Bard.


  2. Another great post Steiny. I read and re-read Pete’s book “The smart take from the strong” in my quest to improve as a lacrosse coach. He was brilliant and insightful.


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