LESTER FEIN Of Blessed Memory

Honored: 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY

In 1968, Lester Fein answered a United States State Department request to coach, teach and counsel basketball in the State of Israel. The four-month undertaking, headquartered at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education in Netanya, took him throughout the country. It led to a lifetime commitment to supporting Wingate’s programs and activities; in particular, the campus’ Nat Holman School for Coaches.

From 1941 through 1967, Fein coached championship basketball and volleyball teams at four New Jersey high schools, as well at a U.S. military airbase. His most successful year was the 1966-67 season, when his Weequahic High (Newark, NJ) basketball team went undefeated (26-0) en route to capturing the New Jersey State Championship. Weequahic was named “the No. 1 high school team in the United States” and Coach Fein was honored as USA Coach of the Year.

Fein coached basketball at Riverdale Country School in 1941, were his youngsters were Private School League Champions. In 1942, he led Woodridge High to the Catskill Mountain League title and Interstate Sectional Championship.

Coach Fein entered the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942 and guided the Lakeland AAF Florida team to the Third Air Force Championship.

Following World War II, 1946-49, Fein led Fallsburgh Central High to the Basketball Interstate Sectionals three successive seasons, and four successive State Volleyball Championships. Fallsburgh volleyballers were undefeated all four years!

Fein is celebrated most for his extraordinary 12 years of success at Newark, New Jersey’s Weequahic High School, where he was both Chairman of the Athletic Department and Athletic Director. Between 1955 and 1967, his Weequahic basketball teams won three State championships–1962, 1966, 1967; seven State sectional titles–1958-60, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967; three Essex County titles–1962, 1966, 1967; and eight Newark City League titles–1956-59, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967. Fein’s success in New Jersey high school basketball registered a 210-69 won-loss record, a .753 winning percentage!

Following successful college basketball careers, five of his high school players went on to play in the National Basketball Association: Al Attles (Philadelphia Warriors), Jerry Greenspan (Philadelpia 76ers), Dennis “Mo” Layton (Phoenix Suns), Dana Lewis (Philadelphia 76ers), and Bill Manor (New York Knicks). In all, more than 50 of his players were recipients of basketball scholarships to major universities.

Fein is author of the books: The Tall & Short of It, Third Quarter-One To Go, and Everyone Can Play Volleyball.

He is recipient of New York University’s (M.A.–1941) prestigious Arch Award for Leadership; and, in 1988, he was one of the original inductees to the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.
Fein has served many years on the Executive Board of Maccabi USA/Sports For Israel.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually, honoring those individuals who have made significant contributions to the State of Israel and society through sports.

Of Blessed Memory

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