Sauer dies in pickup game accident
Former Stanford captain helped Cardinal to 1998 Final Four
STANFORD, Calif. -- A key contributor during Stanford's run to the 1998 Final Four, Peter Sauer collapsed and died Sunday night after he fell back and hit his head on the concrete court during a pickup basketball game in White Plains, N.Y. He was 35.
The outgoing Sauer, who played four seasons for the Cardinal and graduated with an economics degree in 1999, was part of a five-man recruiting class that played in the NCAA tournament four consecutive years and won the Pac-10 title in 1998.
"Everyone in the Stanford community is deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Sauer," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Peter was a tremendous individual and a devoted husband and father. He was very passionate about Stanford and our basketball program. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, and their three children."
Sauer was in attendance during Stanford's NIT championship run in March, and spoke briefly to the team. Sauer led an early-morning tour of Bank of America's corporate headquarters the next day.
"Meeting him for the first time, you could easily see how invested he was in this program and really, all of Stanford athletics," Dawkins said. "Peter truly embodied what it meant to be a Stanford student-athlete. He spoke to our guys about taking full advantage of their opportunities and how attending Stanford is a lifetime decision."
Sauer served as a team captain during his junior and senior years for head coach Mike Montgomery. He started 96 games and played in 124 overall.
Sauer, who played small and power forward, averaged 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds for his career, but those numbers don't tell the story of his contributions. He was a fearless competitor, a terrific passer and always had a smile on his face.
"Very tragic," Montgomery said. "To me, he was kind of the epitome of what a student-athlete should be. He wasn't the most athletic guy, but he was very cerebral and made others better. He was one of our more popular guys because he was so well-rounded."
The bigger the moment, the more Sauer responded.
"He made some big shots for us," Montgomery said. "I remember in our Final Four game against Kentucky, he hit a deep 3 to pull us within one. He was very competitive and had a great career for us."
Sauer grew up in Pittsburgh and was a standout basketball player at Shady Side Academy. He finished as the school's all-time leading scorer.
Sauer spent the last five years working in New York City in Equity Sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He and his wife, Amanda, had three daughters.
An autopsy was expected to be conducted, according to the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office.