Death of Jack Sandler '02 hurts deeply at Bates

The late Jack Sandler '02 (left) and Bates head coach Peter Lasagna (right) established "Morgan's Game" in honor of Morgan McDuffee '02 while Sandler was head coach at Skidmore College. Sandler passed away on November 19, 2015. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The death of Colby College men's lacrosse coach and Bates alumnus Jack Sandler '02 came all too soon on November 19, and its effects rippled throughout Maine, Sandler's native Long Island and the lacrosse community nationwide.

Bates head coach Peter Lasagna was Sandler's college coach while the attackman was on his way to scoring the second-most goals in Bates history. A regular columnist for Inside Lacrosse magazine, Lasagna's moving tribute appeared on last week ("Lasagna: Remembering Jack Sandler")

"I'm confident that Jack looks down with a big grin at his lifetime record versus his alma mater. He won that race going away," wrote Lasagna. "...I enjoyed a most precious circle with Jack Sandler. I coached him. I coached with him. I competed against him. My desire to collaborate, converse, solve the world's problems always outweighed any on-field rivalry. Who stays mad at their treasured son — even when he's a Mule and you're a Bobcat?"

Lasagna's friendship grew as Sandler began his coaching career as Lasagna's assistant at Bates. When Sandler coached at Skidmore College, they teamed up to establish "Morgan's Game," honoring Sandler's late friend and teammate, Morgan McDuffee '02, as an annual contest between the Bobcats and Sandler's Thoroughbreds. After Sandler moved on to Colby, Morgan's Game transformed into the Flahive-McDuffee game between the in-state rivals, in remembrance of former Colby player Derrik Flahive and McDuffee.

"Jack was a great friend to our family and this program," said Lasagna. "He left all of us better for his sparkling, warm, caring impact on our lives. Even when he moved to Colby, his love of Bates remained strong. We miss him and will savor the privilege of keeping his spirit with us forever."