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Saturday, March 18, 2017: Armory track visionary Norbert Sander dies

   Leading off today: Dr. Norbert Sander, who won the 1974 New York City Marathon and went on to transform a dilapidated Manhattan facility into a jewel worthy of hosting the Millrose Games, died suddenly Friday morning at the age of 74.

   His passing was mourned by many in the track and field community.

   "I can't even put into words what he has done for winter track in the whole Northeast," Pearl River coach and NYSSWA girls cross country editor Dan Doherty told The Journal News.

   Doherty ran in The Armory as a school boy and coached and officiated there after the renovations that commenced after Sander, a physician by trade, began in 1993 through the non-profit Armory Foundation he created.

   The facility hosts dozens of high school, college and professional indoor track meets each year as well as age-group events that have helped reinvigorate the sport.

   "No one could ever have dreamed what he did," Doherty said. "What an influence. What a man."

   Said Lakeland/Panas coach Rosalind Gallino: "It won't be the same. He was an enthusiastic, humble and genuine man. It will go on but it will not be the same without his charisma."

   Sander graduated from Fordham Prep in 1960 and Fordham University in 1964. While there, he was a member of the relay team that broke the Penn Relays 400-yard relay record.

   Sander won the 1973 New Orleans Marathon and the Yonkers Marathon the next year. His New York City Marathon win came in 1974, when the race was run as a series of laps in Central Park.

   Moving up: One year after joining the staff as an assistant coach, Mike Ware is now the head football coach at Albany High.

   Ware replaces Joey DiPiazza, who guided the Falcons to an 8-11 mark over two years before stepping down to spend more time with his two children. Prior to DiPiazza's arrival, Albany went 6-75 (including a 44-game losing streak) from 2006-14, The Times Union reported. None of those six wins came against Class AA competition.

   Ware played at Yonkers Roosevelt for Tony DeMatteo, who just guided Somers to the 2016 NYSPHSAA Class A title. He spent five seasons coaching at Hudson Valley Community College (2005-09), where he played linebacker.

   Albany is coming off a 5-4 season, the program's first winning campaign since 2005.

   Game on: The Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association will hold its annual Exceptional Seniors Game on Monday at Our Lady of Lourdes -- but it was a close call.

   According to Hudson Valley Sports Report, a mix-up with Section 1 nearly resulted in a cancellation. Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons said the section instituted a deadline last year for an all-star game to occur so that it doesn't interfere with the start of practices for the next sports season. Having missed the target window the coaches association contacted New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas for help.

   Zayas told the DCBCA it could host its game as "an unapproved senior all-star game," necessitating certain operational changes including purchasing liability insurance that would have otherwise been available through the section for free.

   Wild game: Thursday night's Pennsylvania Class 6A boys basketball game second-round game between Carlisle and Philadelphia Lincoln put the "Ughh" in ugly.

   Carlisle came away with an 85-69 victory in a game that included eight technical fouls and 78 free throws.

   Lincoln was called for 38 fouls, and the Rail Splitters had one coach and one player ejected from the game. As a result, Carlisle took 50 free throws, hitting 30 of them.

   Carlisle, meanwhile, was called for 25 fouls.

   Potentially intriguing: I haven't taken it out for a spin myself yet -- a journey to Binghamton, a blizzard and assorted other dramas have consumed my week -- but any project by The Buffalo News' Tim Graham and about legendary prep basketball player Ritchie Campbell is probably worth checking out.

   Campbell, who legitimately may have been better in his high school days than Christian Laettner, Cliff Robinson and Curtis Aiken, held the Western New York career scoring record for 27 years.

   He joined "The Tim Graham Show" this week to explain what went tragically wrong -- drugs, alcohol, criminal behavior and a 17-year sentence in the Cayuga Correctional Facility. Campbell's life will be explored in an upcoming documentary.

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