Road to the Hall: Bernie Sandalow
What began as a hobby-like interest has turned into a Hall of Fame accomplishment for longtime PA Announcer Bernie Sandalow.
Feb. 2, 2009
Los Angeles, CA - For Bernie Sandalow, doing public address announcing began as a way to get involved as a teenager at Benjamin Franklin High School. Termed as "kinda like a hobby," it followed him to Loyola Marymount. More than 35 years later, the English major's voice still fills the rafters of Gersten Pavilion. The longtime voice of LMU men's basketball and baseball will be inducted into the LMU Athletics' Hall of Fame as one of six members of the Class of 2009.
Sandalow will join Bryn Britton (Women's Basketball, 2002), Bill Crone (Football, 1970), Ryan Eisberg (Men's Water Polo, 1998), Sarah Noriega (Women's Volleyball, 1998) and Reid Priddy (Men's Volleyball, 2000) as one of six new members of the LMU Hall of Fame when they are inducted at the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Feb. 6. The inductees will also be announced at halftime of the LMU-Pepperdine men's basketball game on Feb. 7.
The Hall of Fame Induction Dinner begins with coktails at 6:30 p.m. with dinner starting at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at the Roski Dining Room in University Hall. For more information, call (310) 338-5278.
For the past 33 men's basketball seasons, Sandalow has called nearly every foul, every basket and every starting line-up for the Lions. Starting in Alumni Gym with a portable sound system to Gersten Pavilion and its new state-of-the-art sound system, Sandalow has seen a little of everything over the years, and he wouldn't trade a minute of it.
"I dabbled in doing PA work in high school and once I left and came to LMU, I realized I missed it. So I started going to games at Alumni Gym, went to Sports Information Director Bill Barron and Athletic Director Dick Baker and told them if there was ever a need for someone to fill in as a back-up I would be interested in doing PA for the Lions," said Sandalow. "I got contacted in January 1977 to do my first game and I have done it ever since. This is something I have enjoyed doing very much, as a way to give back to the University I love so much. The recognition of getting into the Hall of Fame is very, very special and meaningful to me."
The memories are many for Sandalow, who has been an active member of every affiliation he has had over the years. "What do I remember from my first game, really only that we won," said Sandalow. The Lions beat Saint Mary's 58-57. "Alumni Gym was such a band box, so the one memory that sticks out is that I was always so worried how my voice sounded. It was a portable system and I remember having to carry it out and they put two large speakers above the stands. I am still not sure if anyone actually heard me."
Sandalow also did the PA for baseball from 1989 - 2007 and has been honored multiple times for his involvements with his fraternity, Alpha Delta Gamma. He was the national president from 1980-82 and has been awarded national alumnus of the year for his contributions to the welfare of the fraternity the previous year. He has not only won the honor once, he has won it five times, the last coming in 2004.
His contributions don't stop there. He has been active in LMU athletics' fundraising, serving on the original board of what is now the LionsFund (originally called Pride of Lions). He is also on the Board of Directors of the non-profit scholarship foundation at Benjamin Franklin High School.
"I can't say that I thought I would be honored for anything I have done, especially elected to the Hall of Fame. When you look at who is in the Hall of Fame, these are people who went out and actually played the games. I was happy just to be part of a crew that helped make those games happen. If you stick around long enough, sooner or later you get respectable at it, I guess," says Sandalow with a laugh.
Sandalow was fortunate to be a part of many memorable games over the years, and none more so than the Lions' success from 1987 - 1990.
"The late 1980s was a unique time. We were all riding a whirlwind and just went along with it. During those games, it seemed I would be announcing a basket on one end and they were already scoring on the other end. It was tremendously exciting," said Sandalow. "Most people remember the 1990 season and team, and for good reason. But many forget about the 1988 team with Corey Gaines, Mike Yoest and Mark Armstrong. That was a tremendous team that won a lot of games.
"That time will be something that will live in my memory forever. It's hard to describe what it was like to be a part of something like that. For a program like ours, for that one year LMU was America's team. That year we were it. It was tremendously special for me."
What began as a hobby and is still considered one, Sandalow has made coming to an LMU basketball game special. From the magic of Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, the buzzer beater shot of Brandon Worthy's in Gersten Pavilion to a 75-foot buzzer beater from out of bounds and No. 1 USF with center Bill Cartwright in Alumni Gym, Sandalow has been the voice of it all.
And now the voice is where it belongs, in the Hall of Fame.