It’s hard to imagine a human being with more knowledge of Peddie athletics than Doug Mariboe ’69 P’10 ’14.
Mariboe, who has lived or worked at Peddie for more than 70 years, has watched, played, coached and reported on school athletic teams virtually his entire life. The son of beloved history teacher Herb Mariboe and school nurse Jane Mariboe, he grew up on campus from the time he was six months old. Living with his parents in Wilson Hall, Avery Dorm, Rivenburg House and on John Plant Drive, Mariboe said the Peddie campus was his playground. The Mills Gymnasium and the athletic fields, where he would watch Peddie athletes practice and compete, were his daily entertainment while his parents worked.
“I was there after school all the time shooting baskets and watching wrestling practice. I watched all the sports. I watched everything,” Mariboe recalled of his childhood on campus. “My parents never had to hire a babysitter. They always knew where I was.”
Mariboe developed his love of sports from his father at an early age. “I would even get excused absences from elementary school to go home to Peddie to watch a basketball game. I always wanted to be at the Blair basketball game. I just had to go.”
Like many faculty children, Mariboe remembered decades and decades of Blair matchups, including when “Blair Day” referred only to a football game and not the all-team matchups that make up the event in recent years. “That was always the big football game even before it was for the Potter-Kelley Cup,” he said.
Except Mariboe doesn’t just remember those games. He carries an encyclopedic memory of them. He accurately recounts games – even plays within games – as if they were sitcoms he has watched in re-runs dozens of times. He can recall the jersey number of an athlete from the 1970s the way many people recall their own social security numbers. And he can recite which teams in which years won the Blair Day matchup or the MAPL or the state tournament.
“I became a Peddie fan. A fanatic,” he admitted.
When Mariboe entered Peddie as a lower school student and then as a high schooler, he played soccer and ran track. But he also developed a passion that would stay with him – sports reporting. “I was involved in press club, reporting on sports,” he remembered. “I was very wrapped up in statistics.” That interest – some say obsession – led to an English teacher giving him the nickname “Stats.”
He kept the official statistics for the football team and did the same as the basketball team’s manager, scorebook keeper and statistician. He even found a way to get some cash for his passion. “Back then, even The New York Times would take football scores and publish them. You had to gather all the information, and then I had to phone in all the game results. There was no email, no faxing. I was just a one-man band.” If he got the results in on time, he could fetch $1.50 per game.
He continued sports writing for school papers while a student at the University of Vermont, then returned to Peddie to continue in his parents’ footsteps and begin his career. Mariboe would spend the next 46 years working for Peddie.
He began in 1975 by teaching history and coaching at Peddie but soon returned to sports reporting as part of the communications and athletics departments. In addition to writing about Peddie athletics, Mariboe wrote articles and photographed events for school publications, including the Chronicle and the website. Hundreds of speaking contests, theater productions, music concerts, art shows and openings at the Mariboe Gallery (named in honor of his father), community service projects, and school programs were memorialized by Mariboe’s coverage.
Wendi Patella, director of strategic marketing and communications, said Mariboe can always be relied upon to confirm some random piece of school trivia. “The amount of school history inside Doug’s head is greater than the entire third floor of Coates-Coleman House where the school archives live,” Patella said. “If you ask Doug what year an alumnus graduated, he will usually tell you off the top of his head – and then delight in telling you a spectacular story about the day that student scored a goal on the soccer pitch or hit a home run. He’s just never wrong when it comes to Peddie.”
Like his father and mother, Mariboe dedicated his life to Peddie. He and his wife, Kathleen, took their wedding vows in the Ayer Memorial Chapel in 1990. They live in the house his parents once occupied, directly across from Swetland House. Their two Peddie sons, Kyle ’10 and Patrick ’14, have inherited his passion for Peddie and for sports.
This summer, Mariboe will retire.
After a 46-year career at Peddie, Mariboe said he never gets tired of covering sports because the students and the coaches are still fascinating to him. “The most fun is dealing with the student-athletes over the years,” he said. “Win or lose, the sportsmanship and team spirit of the athletes is something that you don’t see in a lot of other places.”
Head of School Peter Quinn said Mariboe’s love for Peddie is matched only by his knowledge of it. “Doug Mariboe knows things about Peddie that many have forgotten, and also things about Peddie that many never knew,” Quinn said. “His love of Peddie, connection to Peddie and contributions to Peddie are inseparable from him.”
Childhood mischief: “We used to venture underneath the steam pipe tunnels that started at Annenberg. We would end up at the power house. One time, a bunch of us faculty kids did it. When we got to the end, we opened it up, and our parents were waiting there for us. That was the last time we traveled in the tunnel.”
Legendary seasons: “I covered Ray Cabot’s undefeated season for girls’ soccer and Sean Casey’s nationally-ranked girls’ basketball teams playing against the best competition in the country.”
Most emotional moment: “It was a few days after 9/11, and they wanted the kids to get back on the athletic fields, to go back to a routine. So the first game
I covered was at the soccer field. The girls were playing Toms River. There was a moment of silence. We ended up winning. It was eerie because it was a partly sunny day, and on the horizon, you could see smoke. It was days later, and you could still see the smoke.”
Earliest side hustle: “As faculty brats, we were always resourceful. Several of us worked the golf course, hustling for caddie jobs at $3.50 per 18 holes. Usually, the youngest of the group stationed themselves at a designated water hole to recover lost balls for resale. A Titleist could fetch a dollar for two.”
Most memorable sporting events witnessed live: Jane Skillman ’91 winning the 500, 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyles at the 1990 U.S. Open Nationals. » Swimmers Royce Sharp ’91 (200-meter backstroke) and Nelson Diebel ’92 (100 breaststroke) winning the 1992 Olympic trials. » Classmate Mike Parker ’69 scoring 22 points to lead the basketball team to the 1969 Prep A Championship. » Girls’ basketball (2002-03) defeating Marlboro before an overflow crowd at Erik B. Hanson Field House.
Favorite Peddie tradition: “Blair Day was always my favorite event growing up. My parents would put me on one of the student buses headed to Blairstown. I haven’t missed but a few.”