In the Fifty-seventh edition of “Legends of the Game” we look at the career of Terry Sanderson.
Terry Sanderson began his NLL coaching career in 2000 with the Albany Attack, coaching them for two seasons. He compiled an 11-15 record. After the 2001 season, Sanderson resigned in order to take the head coach and GM position for the expansion Montreal Express, however the Express lasted only a single season before folding.
2002 had Terry replace his brother Lindsay as head coach of the Ottawa Rebel. The Rebel finished the 2003 season last in the NLL at 4-12, and folded after that season.
The Toronto Rock
Before the 2004 season began, Toronto Rock head coach and GM Les Bartley announced that he would not be behind the bench for the upcoming season due to his battle with colon cancer, and assistant coaches Ed Comeau and Derek Keenan were being promoted to interim head coach and GM respectively. After beginning the season 2-4, Comeau and Keenan were fired, and Terry was hired as the new GM and head coach. Sanderson turned the Rock around, guiding them to a 10-6 record and first place in the Eastern Division.
During the off-season, Sanderson made a blockbuster trade with GM Johnny Mouradian of the San Jose Stealth (himself a former Rock GM), acquiring his son Josh, nephew Phil, and Rusty Kruger for fan favourite Steve Toll, Darryl Gibson, two draft picks, and a player to be named later, who ended up being goaltender Anthony Cosmo. Any cries of “nepotism” were silenced during the next season, as Josh set a new single-season assists record with 71, and the Rock finished 12-4 and in first place in the Eastern division for the seventh straight year. They defeated the Rochester Knighthawks in the division finals, and then beat the Arizona Sting in the Championship game (held in Toronto) to win their fifth NLL championship in seven years.
2006 was a disappointing season for the Rock, finishing with their worst record ever to that point, 8-8, and losing to Rochester in the division semi-finals. Less than two weeks after the end of the regular season, Sanderson was fired.
Terry worked with his brother Lindsay once again during the 2007 season. Lindsay, the head coach and GM of the Philadelphia Wings, hired Terry as an assistant coach. Both were relieved of their coaching duties after the season as the Wings missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.
Hired by the Calgary Roughnecks On July 17, 2007, to be their defensive coach, after two seasons in Calgary (including the 2009 championship season) Sanderson was re-hired by the Rock as their new GM and assistant coach.
On November 13, 2014, Toronto Rock owner, Jamie Dawick, announced that Terry would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his role as General Manager, with Dawick serving as the interim General Manager in his place.
Sanderson had become ill while on vacation in Florida, suffering a heart attack. Terry died on November 27, 2014, surrounded by his family in Florida.
From the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame:
Sanderson is one of Canada’s all-time winningest coaches at the highest levels of lacrosse.
He played his Junior lacrosse in Bolton, Ontario and Senior with Orangeville, Fergus and in Victoria. Sanderson played pro lacrosse for the NLL Syracuse Sting (1974) and Quebec Caribou (1975). He was a pick-up player for the Mann Cup winning Brampton Excelsiors in 1980.
In 218 Major lacrosse games, he tallied 610 points and in 158 Senior B games, he scored 816 points. After his playing days, he helped create the Orangeville Junior B Northmen in 1989 and the Orangeville Junior A team in 1991. He coached the Junior A team to three Minto Cup championships (1993, 1995 & 1996). He was a member of the coaching staff of the Mann Cup winning Brampton Excelsiors (2002) and the team’s assistant coach in their Mann Cup victories (2008 & 2009). He was the General Manager and coach of the professional Toronto Rock when they won the NLL championship in 2005.
After stints with NLL teams in Philadelphia and Calgary, Terry rejoined the Toronto Rock in 2010 as assistant coach and eventually GM. He is a member of the Orangeville Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Terry Sanderson died in November, 2014 at age 62.
CANADIAN SENIOR CAREER
Fergus Thistles (1976, 1977)
Brampton Excelsiors (1976; 1980-1981)
Orangeville Dufferins (1978)
Orangeville Snr B Dufferins (1978)
Orangeville Snr B Northmen (1979-1986; 1988)
Owen Sound North Stars (1982-1983)
Orangeville Northmen (1987-1988)
Inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2015.
Inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999.
Along with Dr. George Campbell, Phyllis Briscoe and boxer Byron Mackie, Sanderson was the first inductee into Orangeville’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
• “Coach Register”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the original on 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
• ^Philly, R.A. (May 15, 2001). “Sanderson resigns in Albany, hops to Montreal”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
• ^Philly, R.A. (September 13, 2002). “Rebel officially switches Sandersons on bench”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
• ^Philly, R.A. (July 28, 2004). “Sandersons reunited in Toronto after blockbuster trade”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
• ^Philly, R.A. (April 17, 2005). “NLL Week Sixteen Roundup”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
• ^Philly, R.A. (May 9, 2006). “Rock dumps Terry Sanderson as coach, GM”. Outsider’s Guide to the NLL. Archived from the originalon March 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
• ^“Wings Relieve Coaching Staff of Duties”. NLL.com. April 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
• ^“Roughnecks Hire Terry Sanderson”. NLL.com. July 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
• ^“Sanderson Leaves Roughnecks To Become GM Of Rock”. TSN. June 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
• ^ http://www.torontorock.com/page/terry-sanderson