Bill Kapler ’73 – Basketball

Bill Kapler is pictured above (last row, 3rd from left)

Bill Kapler is pictured above (last row, 3rd from left)

I grew up in Beach Haven NJ, a very small town in southern New Jersey, and attended Southern Regional High School. My father owned the local pharmacy and I worked at the pharmacy on weekends and during the summer. Because I liked math and science I majored in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science at Princeton. I graduated 3rd in my class of 250 students and played basketball and ran on the track team.

I decided to attend Princeton over 7 other schools (UConn, Univ of Virginia, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Lafayette, Cornell) because I thought that Princeton offered a better education and an opportunity to play quality basketball. After graduating I realized I had grossly underestimated the impact of my Princeton experience. To this day, after graduating over 35 years ago when I mention went to Princeton, people always take note of the fact and respond with positive comments. In addition when I mention I played basketball they always react positively and usually ask what it was like. Although I graduated with high honors, that topic has never come up nor been a material factor in competing in the real world. I know my Princeton experience and specifically Princeton basketball, gives me immediate credibility and respect in whatever situation I am in, where ever I am.

I came to Princeton to get an education and continue with basketball. Juggling the academic demands of the engineering curriculum and labs (I once had a semester with 4 labs a week) and playing Division 1 basketball taught me to focus on the important things for success. As Coach Carril always told us, playing basketball shows and develops the character you display as an individual in both good times and bad. The tradition of winning, determination, teamwork, and hard work were things that I have been able to use throughout my lifetime. I believe these character traits, learned on the courts at Jadwin Gymnasium as part of the Princeton basketball team, were critical in making me successful in my business career. My Princeton experience has led me to form one of my favorite personal rules of life: “the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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