Thomas "Satch" Sanders Recipient of 2007 Hall of Fame John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award
Celtic Great and Former Vice President of NBA Player Programs to be Honored During Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend in Springfield, MA
SPRINGFIELD, MA - (AUGUST 2, 2007) - Thomas "Satch" Sanders, recently retired Vice President of Player Programs for the National Basketball Association, will receive the 2007 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during Enshrinement festivities September 7-9 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by the Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and is the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement. Named in honor of Hall of Famer John W. Bunn (Class of 1964), the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee who served from 1949-1964, this award honors coaches, players and contributors whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional or international game.
"Satch embodies the true spirit of this lifetime achievement award, as his impressive contributions to the great game of basketball stretch from his playing days to his accomplishments as a coach and his groundbreaking work to assist players manage the many pressures of life in the NBA both on and off the court", stated John L. Doleva, Hall of Fame President & CEO. "I have personally heard many Hall of Famers speak of Satch's amazing on-court abilities and his instrumental role in claiming eight NBA titles, and for every one story of his basketball talent there are ten equally impressive examples which speak to his contributions as a coach, mentor, executive and leader who made it his mission to provide current and retired players the tools to succeed in life."
Sanders, an All-American selection at New York University, was a first-round draft choice of the Boston Celtics in 1960. He would go on to play 13 years in the NBA, and won a total of eight league championships, all with Boston. "Satch" was renowned for his defensive tenacity, often drawing assignments to guard the opposing team's best scorer. During the Celtics' championship reign during the 1960's, Sanders played alongside Hall of Famers Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek, and was led by Hall of Fame coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach.
At the conclusion of Sanders' illustrious playing career with the Celtics, Sanders coached four seasons at Harvard University, served as an assistant coach to ex-teammate Tom Heinsohn with the Celtics, and was also the team's head coach for parts of the 1977-1978 and 1978-1979 seasons.
When the NBA launched the Player Programs department in 1987, Sanders was called on to lead the effort designed to assist both veteran and rookie players manage the opportunities created by their unique status as professional athletes. Under Sanders, the department developed post-career counseling programs, educational and employment opportunities, an NBA and Player's Association Anti-Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program, training in dealing with celebrity status and media attention and established a non-profit organization which holds events featuring current and former NBA players.
Prior to joining the NBA league office, Sanders served as Associate Director for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. The Center focuses on the role and status of the athlete, from school age through the professional ranks, in modern society. Sanders also served on the Board of Trustees for the Basketball Hall of Fame during his tenure with the NBA Player Programs department.
Mr. Sanders will be honored during the Hall of Fame's annual Reunion Reception, occurring at the Sheraton Springfield Hotel on Thursday, September 6. The event, which also features award recipients of the Curt Gowdy Award, given to exemplary members of the media, tips off the 2007 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. Tickets to the 2007 Enshrinement Gala and Induction Celebration are on-sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 781-6500. Additional Enshrinement Weekend information can also be found at www.hoophall.com.