September 13, 2017

After Making All-America for PU Football Last Fall, Holuba Primed to Lead the Way in Final Campaign

CAPTAIN KURT: Princeton University football star Kurt Holuba smiles as he fields questions at the program’s recently held annual media day. Senior defensive lineman Holuba, who earned third-team All-America honors last fall, is serving as a captain of the 2017 Tigers along with classmates Chad Kanoff and John Lovett. Princeton kicks off its season when it hosts the University of San Diego on September 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kurt Holuba didn’t get the chance to finish his sophomore season with the Princeton University football team in 2015 due to a knee injury.

“I went down in the third game with a torn MCL, it was really difficult,” recalled Holuba, speaking at the program’s recently held annual media day.

“It was a long road to recovery. It was difficult to watch my teammates go out and play without me. It definitely motivated me and fueled me to keep working hard and get back to being healthy.”

That work paid dividends as defensive lineman Holuba returned with a vengeance last fall, earning third-team All-America and first-team All-Ivy League honors with 8 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss as Princeton went 8-2 and shared the Ivy League title with Penn.

“Thankfully we had a great season last year so it was all worth it to come back and be stronger,” said Holuba, a 6’4, 265-pound native of Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., who was a finalist for the 2016 Bushnell Cup Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I think the difference between years past and last year was that we had a much more heavy emphasis in finishing games because we were always close my first two years. Last year, I feel like every second half we were focused and able to finish games off.”

Now, Holuba is focused on finishing his career with another Ivy title campaign.

“I just want to get better every day and every game, I don’t try to put any numbers or anything like that,” said Holuba, who gets his senior season underway when Princeton hosts the University of San Diego on September 16.

“I just want to go 10-0 and win an Ivy League championship, that is what I am most concerned about. It is a team game so anything I can do to help the defense and help our team win, that is what is most important.”

Holuba will shoulder additional responsibility to lead the team this fall, serving as a tri-captain of the 2017 Tigers along with classmates Chad Kanoff and John Lovett.

“We have had some incredible guys who have been Princeton captains, being on the same list is an incredible honor and I am just trying to do my best and uphold the tradition of the school,” said Holuba.

Getting to his final year at Princeton has given Holuba a different perspective on things.

“It is definitely a little different, being the oldest guy in the room and stuff,” said Holuba.

“I think back to being an incoming freshman in my first camp and things like that and just how much different the experience is being a senior and leading these guys rather than following the guys before me. It is kind of surreal but it is really fun.”

Looking ahead to the San Diego game, Holuba is excited to lead his guys into action.

“Everybody has been working hard and getting better every day,” said Holuba.

“You can just see the progression from day one to now. I have been salivating since spring ball basically to get a new season going. I can’t wait to play.”

While Holuba is hoping for a special season, he knows that continued progression requires an attention to detail on a daily basis.

“We can’t think about expectations or any of the big picture things like repeating,” said Holuba.

“We can’t let any of that get into our head. We have to take it one day at a time and one game at a time and just keep getting better.”