10. Mitch Henderson ’98
The men’s basketball team got off to a slow start in Henderson’s debut season, but the Tigers were arguably the Ivy League’s hottest team at the end of the year. Henderson’s mid-year adjustments allowed players like junior guard Jimmy Sherburne and freshman forward Denton Koon to thrive in part-time roles. His game plans late in the year were consistently strong — relying on backdoor action to upset Harvard and bottling up Zack Rosen in a rematch with Penn — and his late-game tactics helped Princeton close out tight conference games.
9. Kristen Holmes-Winn
When four top members of the field hockey team took a year off to train with the U.S. National Team, it left major holes in the Tigers, who lost 77 percent of their goals and assists from 2010. After some initial struggles — including consecutive losses to unranked teams in September — Princeton rebounded to win the Ivy League title for the 17th time in 18 seasons. Even in their losses, the Tigers often put as many shots on goal as their opponents, as Ivy League Rookie of the Year Allison Evans and freshman Sydney Kirby found their legs. And their set-play execution on penalty corners was strong down the stretch, culminating in Kirby’s game-winning overtime goal in the NCAA Play-In Game.
8. Chris Ayres
Several years ago, the wrestling team was little more than the laughingstock of the Ivy League and the EIWA; the program improved incrementally in recent seasons, but it took its biggest steps forward yet in 2011-12. Despite suffering key absences to multiple ACL tears and cases of gastroenteritis, Ayres’ squad earned its first victory over a ranked opponent in more than a decade and consistently had strong showings in individual competition. Several grapplers made major improvements over previous seasons, led by sophomore Adam Krop — who was nearly unstoppable before his injury — and senior Dan Kolodzik, who reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
7. Rob Orr
It wasn’t a major shock that the men’s swimming and diving team won the Ivy League championship — a highly regarded Class of 2012 took the Tigers to four league titles in four seasons. But Orr restocked the team with a strong group of young contributors, giving Princeton the depth to crack the national top 25 and the potential to extend that streak after the current seniors graduate. Harrison Wagner, Caleb Tuten, Oliver Bennett and Michael Strand were among the freshmen who scored major points for the Tigers at the league championship meet, while sophomores such as Paul Nolle and Daniel Hasler took strides forward as well.
6. Sam Shweisky
Coming off of a 3-19 season, the men’s volleyball team did not exactly have high expectations this season. But Princeton finished with a 13-10 record, reached the EIVA playoffs and came within less than an inch of its first victory over nationally ranked Penn State in 14 years. Shweisky made a number of adjustments to overcome several minor injuries to Princeton’s starters, moving a couple of players in and out of the middle and sliding freshman phenom Cody Kessel between both pin positions, and he completely changed the Tigers’ attitude — Princeton won a number of matches from behind, including two comeback victories in the final week of the regular season to earn a playoff bid.