February 10, 2010
SoCal Sports Hall of Fame Inducts 2010 Class
Two weeks before the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games kick-off, Southern Californians honored their own top athletes at the 14th Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner. The Jan. 30 affair at the Skirball Cultural Center celebrated local Jewish athletes, coaches, media and executives who have made major contributions in sports.
“It’s exciting any time you’re inducted into a hall of fame. But to be recognized by the Jewish community and to be associated with it is always such an honor and privilege,” said inductee Jillian Kraus, who led UCLA to four NCAA water polo championships from 2005 to 2008.
The evening opened with a cocktail hour and sports memorabilia silent auction, after which TV and radio sports personality Steve Hartman (a 2004 inductee) welcomed the crowd of 150 and presented High School Awards to Venice High swimmer Andi Murez, El Camino Real golfer Daniel Slovis and Venice High’s Isaac Rosenthal, a former sports editor for the school’s The Oarsman.
“I had always joked to people at my high school that there were no scholarships for Jewish sports journalists,” said Rosenthal, who won the Alan Malamud Memorial Scholarship presented to the SoCal student with exceptional abilities to develop a career in sports journalism. “This is such an honor.”
The 2010 Pillar of Achievement Award was presented to Steve Soboroff, past president of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission, chairman emeritus of Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles and organizer/chairman of the Maccabi World Union’s Committee of 18 marketing group.
The class of inductees also included: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder, Major League Baseball’s 2007 Rookie of the Year and four-year letterman with Granada Hills High; Scott Drootin, high school baseball coach who took three L.A.-area schools to league championships; Jordan Farmar, L.A. Laker, NBA champion and UCLA and Taft High School basketball star; Benny Feilhaber, U.S. national soccer team member, UCLA Bruin All-American and current AGF Aarhus midfielder; Sol Hauptman, paddle tennis national doubles champion for 18 consecutive years; and Harold Hecht, Emmy award-winning producer of the Sydney, Athens and Bejing Olympic Games and more than 60 Grand Slam tennis events.
“To be in the Jewish sports hall of fame is very, very meaningful and will last with me all my life,” Hecht said.
Other inductees honored were: Louise Lieberman, Beverly Hills High and UCLA soccer star, current UCLA women’s soccer assistant coach; Joel Meyers, broadcaster for the L.A. Lakers and NFL as well as past announcer for the UCLA Bruins, L.A. Dodgers and California Angels; Aaron Rosenberg, former USC All-American lineman; Jeff Shell, president of the Comcast Programming Group; and Michelle Silver, winner of 11 professional women’s bowling titles.
“I’m a professional bowler, and even outside of Judaism we’re not recognized much. We’re not even an Olympic sport,” Silver said. “I think it’s really fantastic that the Jewish community honors us in this way. To be honored amongst your own tribe is amazing.”