TDBH: Bengals add former Gregg aide and future Princeton head coach Surace

Posted Feb 18, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - February 19, 2002

It has been 19 years since Forrest Gregg last led the Bengals on the field as head coach, but Bengaldom ties run deep. They fill out their staff today with the Western Connecticut head man that worked under their first Super Bowl coach in 33-year-old Bob Surace. Surace, an All-Ivy League center at Princeton, is named an assistant to offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and offensive line coach Paul Alexander. After breaking in at Springfield College and Maine Maritime Academy, Surace heads to the Canadian Football League's Shreveport Pirates in the mid-90s to become the assistant to Gregg while he’s the head coach and general manager. "Believe me, I was a 24-year-old kid and an offensive lineman who grew up loving the NFL and I was almost intimidated being in the same room with him," Surace says. "I tried to be like a sponge and take in whatever Forrest said and I learned a lot about how he handled players because we were in a tough situation. Here was one of the greatest players who ever lived and he treated everybody the same."

Surace stays with the Bengals for eight seasons, primarily as Alexander’s assistant, and is part of the O-line’s 2009 makeover that helps fuel the sweep of the AFC North. He leaves after the ’09 season to return to Princeton to become the head coach and is in his ninth season reviving one of the oldest college football programs in the nation. Surace is named the Ivy League Head Coach of the Year in 2016 after leading Princeton to the title for the second time and his quarterbacks the last two seasons have each been named Ivy Offensive Player of the Year.


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