YU Inducts Inaugural Class to New Athletics Hall of Fame
It has always been considered an honor and a privilege to represent Yeshiva University as an NCAA athlete. With eight men’s and seven women’s sports teams, students have ample opportunities to participate in collegiate athletics.
The downside is that Yeshiva University athletes tend not to go professional; so once they have reached their potential as an athlete, there is nowhere else to grow. Until now, that is.
In February 2016, YU announced that they plan to establish an Athletics Hall of Fame in Spring 2017. This did not cause much buzz around campus when it was originally announced. However, over the past two weeks, construction has begun by the entrance to the Max Stern Athletic Center for a Hall of Fame shelf. Now, once an athlete reaches his or her potential, there is still a spot on the Hall of Fame shelf to strive for.
“As a YU athlete, you think about all these guys who came before you and made a name for themselves as a player”, remarked Kevin Bokor, a sophomore member of the Men’s Basketball Team. “But now we will all see their name and picture every time we walk into the gym, and that will make it much more meaningful for us.”
The athletic department accepted nominations until May 31, 2016. The selection committee was formed in June 2016 and announced the inductees in July 2016. An induction ceremony was held on May 8th to celebrate the first class of athletes and coaches to receive this distinction.
Director of Athletics, Joe Bednarsh, remarked, "This Hall of Fame will help enshrine Yeshiva's long tradition of athletic excellence by selecting students, coaches and other individuals who best exemplify the exceptional athletic ability, personal integrity, high standards of character, ideals, and philosophy of Yeshiva University.”
The headline inductees include three late coaches: basketball coach Bernard “Red” Sarachek (‘42-43, ‘45-68), fencing coach Arthur Tauber (‘49-85), and wrestling coach Henry Wittenberg (‘57-67).
Men’s basketball dominates the other honorees, making up six out of eight inductees. They are Irwin Blumenreich (‘57), Marvin Hershkowitz (‘53), Yossy Gev (‘02), Sheldon Rokach (‘66), Herbert Schlussel (‘57), and Abe Sodden (‘56). The female honorees are Daniela Epstein (‘03), women’s basketball, and Heidi (Baker) Nathan (‘00), women’s tennis.
The intention is to continue to add members to the hall, with a new class of distinguished Yeshiva University athletes to be named on a biannual basis. Nominations are already being accepted for the Class of 2019.