William "Dave" Sanders was a computer and business teacher at Columbine for 25 years, and coach of the girls' basketball and softball teams. He left behind his wife, four children and five grandchildren.
His students said he was a teacher, a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. When the gunmen started firing outside the school he ran to the cafeteria and sounded the alarm. He, along with two of the school's janitors, helped get more than 100 students out of the path of danger by herding them away from the shooters. He saved untold numbers of lives that day.
By the time the gunmen arrived, the cafeteria was nearly empty thanks to him. He was in the upstairs hall trying to get students safely hidden in classrooms when he was shot from behind by Eric Harris. He was hit in the torso, head and neck. He managed to get himself into a science lab (listed as UA24 in the Columbine Report, and SCI-3 on blueprint maps of the school) where he bled to death waiting for help that 911 dispatchers told students who were helping him was coming, but never arrived.
Trying to get help up to Coach Sanders, student Deidra Kucera posted a sign in the window: "1 BLEEDING TO DEATH". The sign was ignored. Despite their attempts to save him, Dave Sanders died nearly three hours later from blood loss. His last words were reported to be: "Tell my family I love them."
Dave's daughter Angela said at his funeral: "What you did in that school on Tuesday was an amazing act of heroism. Even after you were hurt, you continued to be the brave, selfless man we all know you are."
Dave was buried in Littleton's Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Since his death, Coach Dave Sanders has had a softball field at Columbine and a scholarship named after him to honor his memory and posthumously received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.