Yeshiva University will hold its inaugural Yeshiva University Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony on May 8. With iconic YU coaches and all-time leading scorers for both men and women’s basketball among the inaugural class of honorees, the event will pay homage to the rich and vibrant history of Yeshiva University’s athletic program. Honorees include Yeshiva coaching legends like Bernard “Red” Sarachek, Arthur Tauber, Henry Wittenberg and more who have distinguished themselves in the National Collegiate Athletic Association competition and who best exemplify the University’s highest ideals and mission.
“We are thrilled to gather some of Yeshiva’s most accomplished alumni and honor them at our inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony,” said Joe Bednarsh, YU’s athletic director. “The establishment of the Hall of Fame is both a testament to and reflection of the contributions YU’s athletes and coaches have made to not only the world of sports but to the University for more than a century.”
The inaugural Hall of Fame class includes:
- Heidi Nathan Baker, who led the women’s tennis team to a Skyline Conference Championship in 1999. She went undefeated in singles for all four years that she played, from 1996-1999, and was named the conference’s top singles player in 1999. She also coached the women’s tennis team for two years, after graduation.
- Irwin Blumenreich, who played on the basketball team from 1954 to 1957 and served as captain in both the 1955–1956 and 1956–1957 seasons. He scored 513 points in one season, which stood as the most points scored in a season for decades. Other long-standing marks were for the most field goals in one season (211) and the most points in a single game (44), and he was the first Yeshiva basketball player to be elected to the All-Metropolitan team.
- Daniela Epstein, who played for the Macs women’s basketball team from 1999 to 2003. She is the all-time leading scorer, with 1,134 career points, and is the only woman in YU history to score over 1,000 points in her career.
- Yossy Gev is the all-time YU men’s basketball points leader with 1,871 points. He played from 1998 to 2002, serving as captain for three out of his four years. He was also the assistant coach from 2002 to 2005 and has earned many awards, including being named to the New York Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Division III All-Star (four times), National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III Atlantic All-District All-Star team, and East Coast Athletic Conference Division III Men’s Metro Basketball All-Star Team.
- Marvin Hershkowitz was the first-ever basketball player in YU history to score 1,000 points. In the 1949–1950 season, he led Yeshiva’s scorers with a total of 269 points. From 1954 to 1956, he served as assistant coach, and from 1956 to 1957, he was assistant athletic director. Six decades later, Hershkowitz still ranks 23rd in team history in total points scored.
- Sheldon Rokach played on the men’s basketball team from 1962 to 1966. His accomplishments include 1,020 career rebounds; being the fifth player in YU history to score 1,000 points; most points in one game (48); and most rebounds in one game (33).
- Bernard “Red” Sarachek served as coach of the YU men’s basketball team from 1942 to 1943 and from 1945 to 1968. He coached the 1954–1955 YU men’s basketball team that broke every individual and team scoring record, including most wins (13), most points, most field goals, and the highest average score per game He is credited with putting YU basketball “on the map.” He also coached and mentored legendary players and coaches, including New York Knicks’ Red Holzman, St. John’s/Nets Coach Lou Carnesecca and YU’s own Johnny Halpert. During World War II, Sarachek coached in the military at Pearl Harbor, where his Schofield Barracks team won an armed forces title.
- Herbert Schlussel was a member of the YU basketball team from 1953 to 1957, and served as captain during the 1956–1957 season. Over his four-year career, Yeshiva basketball posted an impressive 51-29 record. To this date, that record still stands as one of the best career win-loss records in YU Basketball history.
- Abe Sodden ranks 16th all-time in YU basketball scoring history. He played from 1952 to 1956, serving as captain during the 1955–1956 season. Sodden broke the record at the time for most points in a season, with 384 points, by averaging the highest individual points per game (20.2) in school history.
- Arthur Tauber served as the YU men’s fencing coach from 1949 to 1985 and athletic director from 1979 to 1985. He spent 37 years at YU, where he was a professor of health and physical education and director of health. He also coached the baseball, soccer, tennis and cross country teams. Tauber earned fencing All-American status in 1941 and was inducted into NYU’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. He received the Bronze Star for his U.S. military service in World War II.
- Henry Wittenberg coached YU wrestling from 1957 to 1967. Wittenberg was a two-time Olympic medalist (winning Gold in 1948 in London and Silver in 1952 in Helsinki), and his wrestling career consisted of over 400 wins and only four losses. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the CCNY Hall of Fame.
For more information about the May 8 Hall of Fame ceremony, to purchase a ticket, or to place an ad please visit www.YUhalloffame.com.
By JLNJ Sports Desk