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A man of many letters

Testimonials fuel push to get Sauers in Hall of Fame
By BRIAN ETTKIN, Staff wrtier
First published: Friday, February 15, 2008

If asked to name Hall of Fame basketball coaches, perhaps Red Auerbach and Bob Knight spring to mind. John Wooden and Adolph Rupp. Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith.

Keith Marder thinks of retired UAlbany coaching legend Richard "Doc" Sauers, too. Marder isn't the only one, which is why he started campaigns to gain Sauers induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Without telling Sauers, Marder solicited testimonial letters from more than 50 college basketball coaches, sportswriters, referees and former UAlbany players. Marder assembled game film, stats and records, feature stories and the book Sauers wrote in 1973. He submitted the supporting materials with Sauers' application.

Every Basketball Hall of Fame application requires signatures from two Hall of Famers.

Jim Boeheim and Pete Carril signed off on Doc.

Marder, who covered Sauers' teams when he was a sportswriter at the Times Union and the sports editor at the Albany Student Press, knows the Basketball Hall of Fame, which announces its finalists for the 2008 class today, is a long shot. The list of the Hall's college coaches who didn't coach Division I teams for most of their career is small.

Herb Magee, Division II's career wins leader, hasn't been inducted. Neither has Jim Phelan, Don Meyer or Jerry Johnson.

They're among the winningest coaches of all time despite not coaching in the big time.

If they must pay their way in Springfield, Doc might have to as well.

"In my heart of hearts, I think Doc's deserving," said Marder, 44.

Doc's candidacy is rooted in achievement more than sentiment.

When he retired he was one of only 11 NCAA coaches to win at least 700 games in his career. He had a .680 winning percentage and didn't have a losing record for 39 consecutive seasons despite never coaching a first-team All-American. He graduated nearly every player in his 41-year career; Doc says he can count on one hand his varsity players who didn't graduate.

Carril incorporated a shuffle cut from Doc's offense into Carril's revered Princeton offense. The NCAA instituted the shot clock and 3-point shot during Doc's tenure on its national rules committee. Because Doc ran a ball-control offense, the changes weren't good for his team, Doc said at the time.

But they were good for the game, so he championed them.

Some coaches get whistled for a half-dozen technical fouls in a season.

Doc had a half-dozen technical fouls called on him in his 1,032-game career.

Marder hopes Doc will gain basketball's highest honors.

It's not the only reason he did this for Doc, though.

"It's more to show him that he touched so many people," said Marder, who shared the testimonials with Doc.

Here are some excerpts:

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