ALBANY — It was a joy to finally get on the field on Saturday.
It was also bittersweet for the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team, though, because Bill Ziskin wasn’t there.
The former long-time director of Schenectady High School’s Blue Roses Theater Company, who died at the age of 58 on Monday, served as the primary photographer for the athletics department at his alma mater for the last 10 years.
The Great Danes men’s lacrosse team dedicated their season opener to him, and defeated Colgate 15-9 at Fallon Field in an action-packed game with spectacular scoring and goaltending.
Head coach Scott Marr opened his post-game comments by remembering Ziskin as a close friend of the program, not just someone who showed up to stand on the sidelines and take pictures.
“Before the game, we talked about, obviously, how grateful we are to have the opportunity to play,” Marr said, “But we also talked about a loss we had this week. Our guys loved Bill Ziskin, our photographer, who passed away this past week, so we dedicated the game to his family and Bill.
“He was always a lot of fun to have around. He used to get in our huddles with his camera, and the guys would harass him and stuff, so it was really sad to hear that news.
“We hope his family is doing well, and we certainly send our best from our program to Bill and his family.”
In recent years, the team took its annual picture day to the next level, showing up for the photo shoot in zany hairdos, and colorful suits and bowties.
It was a trend encouraged by Ziskin, who was known for challenging his theater students at Schenectady High to think outside the box.
“Bill was such a big part of our department,” UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson said recently. “He captured so many special competitive moments, but he also captured so many of our athletes with their families on senior nights — and all the championship wins, Bill was at all of those.
“He was meticulous and had such a clear idea of what would make for the best shots to capture the moment. He cared so much about our teams and took a lot of pride in his partnership with us. He’s someone we’re really going to miss, and we were so sad to hear the news.”