Yeshiva University Celebrates 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame Class

The Second Hall of Fame Features Nine Inductees

The Yeshiva University Department of Athletics held its second Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony on Monday, June 3, 2019, in the Max Stern Athletic Center on the Wilf campus.

The 2019 class of Hall of Famers were inducted in front of over 250 people which included YU student-athletes, coaches, staff, families, alumni and friends of the program. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Weissberg Commons, but due to the outpouring and enthusiastic response to this year’s inductees, the ceremony was relocated to the Max Stern Athletic Center.

Hall of Fame 2019 Group Photo
(l-r): Rebecca Yoshor, Irv Bader, Shai Samet, Josh Hasten, Hadar Weiss, Alex Traiman, Dave Kufeld, Steve Mellner, and Elizabeth Penn

The Inductees

Irv Bader ’60, Men’s Basketball: A two-time captain, Irv Bader graduated in 1960 as YU’s all-time leading scorer with 1,374 points. He helped the Maccabees to a 46-32 mark over his four years, including a 14-4 ledger in 1958-59 for the second highest winning percentage (.777) in the Red Sarachek era. Bader was also named Small College All-American as a senior in 1959-60 after placing second in the Tri-State League in scoring and was sixth the following year with 20.6 points per game. He tallied a career-high 35 points against Kings College as a sophomore in 1957-58. The men’s basketball standout was inducted into the Jewish Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

1999 MACFA Men’s Fencing Championship Team (Steve Mellner, Alex Traiman, Hadar Weiss): Steve Mellner, Alex Traiman, and Hadar Weiss were members of the Yeshiva University men’s fencing team that captured the 1999 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association title in épée, despite entering the tournament as a No. 5 seed. The épée team’s MACFA crown is on record as the first conference championship for any YU sport. The Maccabees took home first-place at the Army meet that same year. This trio finished third in épée at the 2000 MACFA Championships and recorded a third-place finish at the Drew University meet in 2000.

Josh Hasten ’98, Men’s Tennis: Josh Hasten played No. 1 singles for YU in his junior and senior seasons as well as part of his sophomore campaign. He was a key force during the Maccabees’ incredible 40-match winning streak, which ended the year after he graduated. The three-year tennis phenom went 25-3 at No. 1 singles throughout his career and secured an undefeated doubles record. He helped his 1996 team to the Independent Athletic Conference championship. As a senior during the 1997-98 season, he was named the Emile Offenbacher YU Athlete of the Year.

Dave Kufeld ’80, Men’s Basketball: Dave Kufeld was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1980 NBA draft. He was named All-American as a senior in 1979-80 and was a two-time NCAA rebounding champion. He remains fifth all-time in this category in Division III history with 1,222 in only three seasons. Kufeld graduated fourth all time at YU with 1,250 points, becoming the first 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound player in school history. The men’s basketball standout was named National Jewish Player of the Year for Division II and Division III by the Jewish Sports Review in both 1979 and 1980.

Elizabeth Penn ’12, Women’s Fencing: Elizabeth Penn was selected EWFC Épée Fencer of the Year, as a senior in 2010-11, the first in YU history to receive such an honor. She recorded an 11-0 mark in the 2011 EWFC Championships and was named First-Team All-Conference. A four-time NCAA Regionals qualifier, she advanced to the second round in 2010. The épée fencer was named to the EWFC Second Team All-Conference as a junior in 2009-10. In 2009, she placed sixth individually in epee at NIWFA.

Shai Samet ’98, Men’s Tennis: Shai Samet was a key member of the Yeshiva University men’s tennis team that won 40 consecutive matches. He went undefeated at No. 1 doubles with Josh Hasten in match play throughout his career and recorded an 18-2 mark at No. 3 singles. The men’s tennis standout played on the same team with his brothers, David and Ronnie, at YU. He helped his 1996 team to the Independent Athletic Conference championship and was named Norman Palefsky Scholar-Athlete of the Year at YU.

Rebecca Yoshor ’14, Women’s Basketball: Rebecca Yoshor is a two-time Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American. She totaled 890 points and a school-record (at the time) 820 rebounds over 54 career games. As a senior in 2013-14, she led the nation in rebounding with 16 per game while also registering 15.9 points per contest. As a junior in 2012-13, she placed fifth in the nation in rebounds (14.8) and ninth in double-doubles (17). The women’s basketball phenom was a three-time all-conference selection who graduated YU with a 3.92 grade-point average.

Joe Bednarsh, Yeshiva University director of athletics, served as the master of ceremonies and began the evening with opening remarks. He turned it over to Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, who paid tribute to the inductees.

After dinner was served, the induction ceremony began. Nine inductees were honored by receiving a Hall of Fame plaque and a Yeshiva University Athletics Hall of Fame jacket.

“These exceptional men and women have left an indelible mark on the program and have set the bar of success higher,” Bednarsh said. “It is due to their pioneering achievements that our current student-athletes can represent our people with the excellence, class and ferocity that our honorees exhibited.”

Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who played 14 years in the National Basketball Association and was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, formally inducted Bader into the Yeshiva Athletics Hall of Fame.

Calvin Murphy, who played as a guard for the NBA’s San Diego/Houston Rockets franchise from 1970 to 1983, delivered a congratulatory video message to Yoshor, who is now also a Hall of Famer from Houston.

After the induction ceremony concluded, all the inductees and attendees walked to the area adjacent to the gymnasium. Everyone gathered around the Yeshiva University Athletics Hall of Fame wall. After Bednarsh delivered a few more remarks, the Hall of Fame lit up with plaques that explained the accomplishments of each inductee of the Class of 2019, joining the plaques from the inaugural class in 2017.

“These esteemed inductees exemplify what it means to be true student-athletes through your excellence both in their studies and on the field of play,” Mr. Bednarsh said. “They have gone on to use the skills they gained to make a real, tangible difference in the world as political activists, executives, business owners and doctors. Many of these individuals set firsts or records that stand to this day, and all of them are fantastic ambassadors of the athletics program and Yeshiva University. The extended University and Maccabees family owes them a debt of gratitude, and I am privileged to have had the opportunity on Monday night—in front of friends and family—to repay that debt in some small way.”

The Yeshiva University Athletics Department will hold its third biennial Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony in the spring of 2021.

To nominate someone for the Hall of Fame Class of 2021, click here.