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A man of many letters

First published: Friday, February 15, 2008

(Page 2 of 4)

"I have two vivid memories of my years playing for Doc. The first was during my freshman year when he made the team run sprints at the beginning of a practice. ... We had no idea what was going on because this rarely happened. Not to mention the fact that we were winning games. Then he finally started yelling, 'The custodians in this building are my friends, not your personal servants. The next time you leave that locker room a mess, we will run for an entire week.' Obviously, it was a simple opportunity for him to teach his players about respect for others. It's interesting that I don't recall running sprints for reasons related to our basketball performance.

"The next should serve as a model for every college coach in the country, regardless of the sport. During my recruiting visit, Doc wouldn't discuss the possibility of financial aid because he didn't have anything to offer. Albany was Division III at the time, so an athletic scholarship was not available. He simply promised that I would see playing time and that I would be his first priority in the future if scholarship dollars arose. Albany moved to Division II as I entered into my sophomore year. From what I understand, there were limited funds to support scholarships. Although we had players that might have been more deserving, one of the assistant coaches informed me that I would be receiving a full scholarship -- (even though) I tore my ACL during the summer following my freshman year. ... That scholarship was extremely valuable and Doc used it on a kid who wouldn't be playing one minute the following season. Our prior discussions were not in writing and Doc was not obligated to do what he did for me. How many other coaches would make that decision? Notice that Doc did not tell me himself and make a big production of how wonderful he was. It was about his character. He made a commitment and kept it."

-- Robert Markel, one of Sauers' former players

"He is a tremendous coach in the game of basketball. He is a man of great integrity, is unbelievably competitive, and one of the hardest-working people in our profession. No one is more deserving of honor as one of the greatest all-time coaches than Richard 'Doc' Sauers."

-- Basketball Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim

"In my 26 years of working as a professional sportswriter I have covered and encountered coaches with undeniable Hall of Fame credentials, from Rick Pitino to Jim Calhoun in college basketball to Pat Riley in the National Basketball Association to Joe Torre in Major League Baseball to Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick in the National Football League. No coach, to this day, has ever made a more meaningful impression on me as far as watching an event, leaving an event and thinking to myself, 'That guy did one heck of a job coaching his team tonight.' ... Tall or short, swift or slow, his teams were prepared and far more often won games not only with skill but with precision and an ability to outthink the opponent when it mattered most.

"The level of competition is irrelevant; Dick Sauers coached Division III basketball on a level playing field and was wildly successful in the essence of coaching. He deserves the highest honors offered by his profession."

-- Paul Schwartz, New York Post sportswriter, who covered Sauers' teams for the Times Union and Albany Student Press

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