Satish Jagnandan

(2005 Bio)

player profile-SATISHHis opponents aren’t Lewis, Kaplan, Sostre, Sala, Castro, Roberts or Maisonet. They are Obert, Sandler and Durso. Satish Jagnandan isn’t playing for today; he’s competing for history. When he won his first USHA National Open Singles Title in August 2004, Jagnandan said he was more relieved and felt like “a ton of bricks” was lifted from his shoulders. “That quote reflected the truth of how I felt, I wasn’t sure that I could win on the grandest stage, there’s a certain aura about court 1 (Coney Island) that you don’t feel anywhere else – it just feels significant.”

Though he has earned the respect of the handball community with this victory, he has plenty of work to do to be compared to the greats. The easy-going, hard-hitting Jagnandan would trade several of his minor victories (through 2005) for another USHA National title. Let others play for money and prestige; he’s playing for majors. “I measure my year on how well I do at the majors (ICHA Major’s Cup and USHA National),” Jagnandan said.

Jagnandan is not the indifferent individual he pretends to be. While he gives the impression that he doesn’t play with a passion, he deeply wants to be remembered as one of the best ever. “I don’t think it’s arrogant,” Jagnandan said. “I’m not ashamed that I feel that I can actually do it.” Yet, he is uncomfortable in the spotlight. He is a throwback to the days when gentleman played the sport of handball. “I could be abrasive (like Joe Durso or Rookie” Wright) and get a lot more publicity, but that’s not who I am. Sure, I respect Durso’s talent and Wright’s intensity, but the players I admired most were the gentlemanly Al Torres, Eddie Archibald, Robert Sostre and Joe Kaplan, those guys were great guys.”

Since 2000, when he first returned to the game (after a 6 year hiatus), the 5-foot-7 Jagnandan has been one of the game’s top players. While he has a ferocious right hand and sensational serve, his greatest gift may be his will to win. He’s not afraid to leave his guts on the courts. Jagnandan was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and grew up in the Bronx, New York. His father, Basdeo, was a statistician for the Department of Agriculture and his mother, Elsie, was a social worker. He began playing handball at twelve under the tutelage of Joe Miratello at Bronx High School of Science. Coach Miratello was so impressed with the youngster’s ability, he awarded him the captaincy and first singles position on the varsity handball team. When Jagnandan was 15, he won the first of two PSAL individual (iron horse) and school championships and had the opportunity to trade strokes with (Eddie) Archibald, one of his idol. “Satish was so nervous he couldn’t keep the ball on the court,” Miratello said.

Through the sponsorship of Inner City Handball Association (ICHA) and Paul Williams, Jagnandan continued his improvement and growth to become one of the city’s best junior players. Jagnandan believed playing against stronger and older players in ICHA youth handball tournaments helped develop the necessary skills and passion to be great.

After high school, Jagnandan focus shifted, completing a B.S. in Chemistry, M.S. in Mathematics, and M.S. in Administration and Supervision. By the mid 1990s, he was completely out of the game as a result of reconstructive knee surgery (torn ACL). As part of his rehabilitation, he turned to handball and by 2000 was competing again. New coach Rene Franco showed Jagnandan the value of playing percentage handball – going for smart, conservative shots rather than flashy, difficult ones. On July 22, 2001, Jagnandan won his first of fifteen open singles title on his home court, Bailey Park.  Between 2004 and 2005 he appeared in fourteen consecutive open singles finals, winning ten titles in the process.

One-Wall Open Singles Champion

2001 Marty O’Malley Classic July 22, 2001

2002 ICHA Mayor’s Cup Tournament (Major) July 13-14, 2002

2002 Marty O’Malley Classic July 20, 2002

2003 Marty O’Malley Classic July 19, 2003

2003 Bailey Park Fall Classic October 7, 2003

2004 ACE Pro Stop #1 May 15, 2004

2004 ICHA Mayor’s Cup Tournament (Major) July 17-18, 2004

2004 USHA One-Wall Nationals (Major) August 5-8, 2004

2004 ACE Pro Stop #2 October 2, 2004

2004 H.E.S Invitational October 31, 2004

2004 YMCA National 1-Wall Pro Singles December 11, 2004

2005 Kings Bay Open February 27, 2005

2005 Marty O’Malley Classic July 16, 2005

2005 USHA One-Wall Nationals (Major) August 3-7, 2005

2005 H.E.S Invitational October 31, 2005

One-Wall Open Singles Finalist

2004 LeeCon Open August 14, 2004

2004 Marty O’Malley Classic Sept. 25, 2004

2005 ICHA Mayor’s Cup Tournament (Major) July 9-10, 2005

2005 LeeCon Open Sept. 17, 2005

Jagnandan 2004 match record of 31-3 was the best among players on the One-Wall Pro Handball Tour (AHP) and earned him the USHA Player of the Year Award along with the number one ranking. With six tournament victories in 2004, including his first USHA One-Wall Nationals and second ICHA Mayor’s Cup, he is only the second player in history to win both majors in the same year. His 2005 match record of 20-2 along with four tournament titles, including his second USHA One-Wall Nationals, guarantee him the 2005 USHA Player of the Year Award. Jagnandan credits his success to hard work and surrounding himself with the right people – his wife, parents, brother, coaches, and friends.