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Colby College, known for its rich sports tradition and commitment to its scholar athletes, has received a $2-million gift to name its men’s lacrosse coaching position in memory of late coach Jack Sandler.
Current head coach Guy Van Arsdale, who joined Colby last year from Jacksonville University, will be the first to hold the endowed position, made possible by an anonymous donor.
“Colby’s coach-as-educator model was personified by Jack Sandler,” said Tim Wheaton, the Harold Alfond Director of Athletics. “This gift keeps him in our minds and reminds us of the important role our coaches play in the education of our students.”
Sandler, 35, died during his third season at Colby. He had led the Mules to the conference playoffs in each of his first two years as coach. Prior to Colby, he had spent eight seasons as head coach at Skidmore College. He was the second all-time leading scorer at Bates College, where he graduated in 2002, and spent time as an assistant at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
At the time of Sandler’s death, Colby President David A. Greene said the young coach’s “real passion was teaching and helping students develop their full potential physically, intellectually, and personally.”
At Colby, many students participate in varsity athletics. Colby competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which was founded in 1971 to include 11 highly selective liberal arts colleges committed to academic excellence. All 32 varsity sports compete in NCAA Division III with the exception of Division I alpine and Nordic skiing.
Vice President for College and Student Advancement Dan Lugo said, “This gift not only honors Jack — it honors Colby’s proud athletic history and will enhance the future of Colby lacrosse, and our athletics program more broadly. We’re grateful to the donor whose gift embodies the values Jack Sandler encouraged in his players.”
The position will be officially named at an event later this year.