Yeshiva University Celebrates Iconic Coaches and Athletes at Historic Event
Yeshiva University’s Department of Athletics inducted its inaugural class of Hall of Fame athletes this week at a ceremony in Weissberg Commons on May 8. With iconic YU coaches and all-time leading scorers for both men and women’s basketball among the honorees, the event paid homage to the rich and vibrant history of YU’s athletic program.
“I’ve always felt that the history and tradition that a collegiate athletics program can provide for an institution is crucial,” said Joe Bednarsh, YU’s athletic director, in his opening comments. “Tonight, we honor 11 coaches and student-athletes from that rich history who have stood out among their peers and whose names are synonymous with excellence. Athletics at Yeshiva University is the purest form of the University’s mantra, Torah Umadda. Our department has a mission of turning Maccabees into the pride of the Jewish people, and the Hall of Fame is a testimony to our success both in the classroom and on the field of play.”
The inaugural Hall of Fame class included Bernard “Red” Sarachek, Arthur Tauber, Henry Wittenberg, Marvin Hershkowitz ’52YC, Abe Sodden ’56YC, Herbert Schlussel ’53YUHS, ’57YC, Irwin Blumenreich a”h ’57YC, Sheldon Rokach a”h ’66YC, Heidi (Baker) Nathan ’00SB, Yossy Gev ’02SB and Daniela Epstein ’06SB.
Rabbi Dr. Joshua Joseph, senior vice president, had the honor of draping a custom-made blazer over the shoulders of each awardee in attendance, and Greg Fox, associate athletics director, presented the individual trophies. Many of the awardees shared brief and touching statements about the significance the award held for them and the transformative value of their time at YU.
“Being a member of the YU basketball team shaped and molded my life, and I would not change one minute or one memory,” said Schlussel. In thanking the assembled guests for her award, Epstein noted that YU gave her the chance to fulfill one of her goals, which was “to be a role model for more female basketball players.”
Friends and family of inductees who have passed on accepted the award on their behalf. After the ceremony, the attendees walked over to the Max Stern Athletic Center to witness the ceremonial lighting of the newly installed plaques on the YU Athletics Hall of Fame wall.