Peter Sauer, a former Bank of America executive who was captain of the Stanford University basketball team that reached the Final Four in 1998, died after collapsing during a weekend recreational game. He was 35.
He collapsed and struck his head on the court during his team’s July 8 game at Gardella Park in White Plains, New York, the Journal News newspaper reported. White Plains lists the adult basketball league as “NCAA-certified, competitive” and featuring “top-notch players.” An autopsy is expected to be conducted today, the newspaper reported, citing the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office.
|Peter Sauer playing for Stanford in 1998 (Getty Images)
Sauer joined Bank of America in 2007 and was a director in equity research sales, said Jessica Oppenheim, a company spokeswoman in New York. She said he recently left the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm to pursue new ventures.
“Peter was a terrific friend, competitor and colleague,” Co-Chief Operating Officer Thomas Montag said in a statement.
In March, with Stanford’s team in town for the National Invitation Tournament, Sauer led players and coaches on a tour of Bank of America’s New York headquarters, according to a university news release.
Sauer and his Stanford class of 1999 teammates reached the NCAA tournament all four of their seasons and won the Pacific-10 title in 1999, a first for the university. A forward, he stood 6 feet, 7 inches tall, averaged 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds for his career, and was team captain his junior and senior years, according to university records.
Stanford’s alumni magazine reported in 1998 that Sauer was a “business buff” who turned a hypothetical $100,000 “into millions” for an investment class.
In the 1998 NCAA tournament, Stanford defeated Rhode Island to represent the Midwest region in the Final Four. It lost by one point, 86-85, to Kentucky, which went on to win the championship. Sauer’s three-pointer with 9.2 seconds left were the final points of the game, according to a New York Times account.
When Sauer graduated with an economics degree, his 124 games played ranked fourth in school history, according to a Stanford website. His class of seniors on the team ranked second in both scoring and rebounding overall for the school.
Sauer was born on Nov. 9, 1976, in St. Louis and grew up in Pittsburgh, where he was a star player at Shady Side Academy, graduating as the school’s career scoring leader, the Associated Press reported.
After Stanford, he signed with the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball Association and was cut in the summer of 1999, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile in July 2000. He then moved to Greece to play for the B.C. Iraklis Thessaloniki professional team, shunning minor leagues in the U.S.
“Basketball will take me places and afford me experiences I might not have had,” Sauer told the Post-Gazette. “But it is not my life. I see myself playing maybe three to five more years and then going out and getting a real job and living a more normal existence.”
Survivors include his wife, Amanda, three daughters, a younger brother, Alex, and parents, Georgia and Mark Sauer, the Post-Gazette said. His father is a former president of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team and St. Louis Blues National Hockey League club.
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