Past Pillars of Excellence
2012 Pillars of Excellence
Barry Bershad has been a high school basketball coach throughout the metro Detroit area for 48 years. For the past 15 years, he has been the Detroit Maccabi Head Coach, winning 2 gold, 4 silver, and 4 bronze medals. Barry received his BA Degree from Wayne State and taught physical education on the middle school level in the Detroit Public Schools for seven years. He was a four-year letterman winner on Detroit City Tennis Championship teams, two-years All-City Tennis, and State “C” Squash Champion. As head coach of the Jewish Community Center’s varsity basketball team for 34 years, he earned six Mid- West Championships and had three undefeated seasons. In addition to coaching at Roeper, Birmingham Groves, and Oak Park, Barry was the West Bloomfield High School head basketball coach for two years and assistant coach for six.
Frederick Cohen has officiated basketball for 38 years throughout the state, at the high school level from 1974 to present and at the collegiate level from 1985-1992. He taught for 35 years in the Detroit Public Schools as a 4th through 6th- grade homeroom teacher, retiring in December, 2011. Fred’s proudest moments were officiating at two Division I women’s games during his college reffing career – U of D versus Notre Dame and U of D versus DePaul. He has officiated high school games on the floors of Oakland University, the Palace, and the Silverdome.
Howard Golding holds Bachelor of Science, Masters in Education, and Ed. Specialist degrees from Wayne State and taught physical education in the Oak Park School District for 41 years, coaching basketball for 28 years throughout the metro-Detroit area. As a Boys’ Varsity Head Coach, he compiled a record of 197 wins and 212 losses, winning the Metro-West Basketball Conference Championship in its charter season. Daily Tribune Coach of the Year, Coach of the Year Suburban Athletic Conference are just two of his awards, along with district championships and regional finalist status. His 1992-93 team was ranked #1 in Oakland County and #5 in the State. He was an assistant coach at Schoolcraft College. Howard is a member of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Varsity Century Club 100 Victories. He coached the Detroit Maccabi Basketball Team for 11 years. During those years, his teams won a Gold Medal in 1991, a Bronze Medal in 1995 and a Silver Medal in 1997.
Burt Hurshe has officiated four sports – men’s and women’s basketball; football; baseball; and softball at the high school and collegiate levels – for 43 years. He taught physical education for 40 years, 31 of which were in the Southfield Public Schools where he also coached men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. Burt’s post season prestigious officiating assignments include regionals, quarterfinals, semis, and State championships on both the high school and college levels. He also reffed for the Michigan Semi-Pro Football League. Burt has been inducted into the Detroit Catholic League and Cooperstown Youth Baseball Halls of Fame, as well as the Detroit Public School Hall of Honor. He is a 2012 Detroit Metro American Softball Association 25 Year Award winner.
Alan Kaczander taught in the Southfield Public Schools for 38 years, teaching physical education and receiving PTA Distinguished Teacher awards. He was the athletic director for 10 years and coached boys and girls basketball for 20 years and track for 15 years. During this time, he also coached boys and girls basketball at Southfield High for 7 years and girls softball at Lathrup High School for 10 years. Alan has officiated for over 45 years in Michigan in basketball, football and softball, officiating college basketball at the division II and III levels in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and in high school, officiating numerous district, regional and quarter-final championship games and state championship games in football and softball. In addition, Alan has been involved with coaching and administering the Maccabi games since their inception.
Rick Kaczander has been a high school basketball, football, and softball coach and referee throughout the tri-county area for 29 years. For the past nine years, he has been the athletic director at Akiva Hebrew Day School. Prior, he was a counselor at Henry Ford High School, as well as a resource room teacher in Inkster. Rick’s accomplishments are many, including being the 1981 Michigan State Squash Doubles Champion and Singles runner-up and refereeing the State High School Basketball Tournament in 1990. His record in Maccabi include: being Assistant Coach on the Gold Medal Maccabi Basketball Team in 1992 and 2005 Coach of the Bronze Medal Maccabi Basketball Team. He umpired the Girls Catholic League Championship Game in 2007 and State Quarter Final Girls Softball in 2009 and 2012.
Howard Stone was a physical education teacher and coach at Clinton Junior High in the Oak Park School District. His teams won 5 Little Oak League championships in 3 different sports •basketball, baseball, and track and field. He coached Oak Park High School’s varsity tennis team to 10 league titles in 10 years – six were undefeated League Championships; four undefeated overall seasons; two Michigan High School Regional Championships; and two Michigan High School Regional Runner-Up titles. Howard’s overall dual meet record was 157 wins and 7 losses, for a .953 winning percentage. He was chosen League Coach of the Year by his peers five times, and an award at Oak Park High School is named after him. Howard served 12 years as the Director of Athletics and Physical Education for Oak Park, working hard to improve all the athletic teams. As A.D., he received many awards, to numerous to mention; however, he is most proud of the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Oakland County Athletic Directors’ Association and life membership in the Michigan High School Coaches Association and the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administration Association. Howard retired in 1993 after 33 years in the Oak Park School District He has been subbing in physical education for the past 20 years in four suburban school districts, as he believes athletics play an integral part in many of the students’ lives.
2013 Pillars of Excellence
Herb Bernstein spent thirty-five years teaching physical education in Oak Park and Detroit. He coached for 26 years swimming for the Metro-Detroit contingent Maccabi Youth Games. For 30 years he was the most wanted umpire in Oak Park with a baseball career beginning at age 10, taking the Trumble street car to Briggs Stadium.
Ken Bertin has been a volleyball coach for the Metro-Detroit contingent Maccabi Youth Games for over twenty years and has coached in that time well over 350 young athletes. He has served as a commissioner and as an official with the B’nai B’rith men’s softball, volleyball and basketball league including officiating at the B’nai B’rith national softball tournaments. Bertin has officiated at the highest levels of volleyball, softball, baseball, swimming, basketball and football.
Fred Goldberg (z”l)
Fred Goldberg began his love of sports as a varsity basketball and baseball player at Northwestern High in 1952. His was selected to play on the All City Squad. Upon graduating, Fred was awarded an Athletic scholarship to Detroit Institute of Technology where as a freshman he set a school record for scoring in an individual game. After obtaining his undergraduate in Education and his Masters in Counseling and Guidance, Fred began his forty year career as a Physical Education teacher and coach. He was an iconic mentor who used his passion for athletics to inspire children and teens to excel in life. Goldberg was the Southfield High School Athletic and Activities Director, he served as director of activities at Camp Tanuga, and coached the North Farmington/West Bloomfield baseball team winning the State Little League title and Babe Ruth State Champions. After moving to Scottsdale, AZ he was a counselor, head boys Baseball coach and managed youth summer camps. He was Awarded The Teacher of the Year in Southfield, MI and in Scottsdale, AZ.
Karen Sklar Gordon
Karen Sklar Gordon played varsity basketball, volleyball and softball at Harrison High School serving as team captain and a finalist for the Jack Buller Athlete of the Year Award. She walked on to the Michigan State University and Wayne State University softball teams during her time at school. While teaching in California, she played two seasons on the College of the Canyons women’s basketball team holding the single game rebounding record for six years. She has coached freshman basketball and JV volleyball at Southfield High School. Karen has a long history of involvement with the Maccabi Games organization serving as Juniors Manager for Team USA 1989, JCC Maccabi Coach, Delegation Head, Games Director, member of the Amy Beth Rosenberg JCC Maccabi Leadership Team and co-chair for the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest. Karen is a math teacher at Ferndale High School and still plays B’nai B’rith softball and basketball (ironically, thanks in large part to Ken Bertin!)
Ed Krass was an accomplished baseball player at Wayne State University in 1963, but his 45 years as a teacher in Physical Education is how he is best known. Krass developed and directed the Summer Playground Program, Camp Trailblazer, and after-school floor hockey programs for the city of Southfield. As an educator he has received five times the Distinguished Service Award, the Southfield P.T.A. Area Council award, the Golden Apple Award from Metro Parent magazine, and been nominated Outstanding Physical Education Teacher and nominated for the Disney Outstanding Teachers Award. Krass developed and directed the pilot sports camp program for Camp Tamarack in Brighton. Krass is helping to provide physical education experiences for children with special needs having developed an inclusion sports program in floor hockey, basketball and soccer for the Friendship Circle in West Bloomfield.
2014 Pillars of Excellence
Robert “Bob” Basch attended the State University of New York at Cortland in 1946 through the G.I. Bill of Rights and enrolled in and earned a health and physical education degree. In the summer of 1949, he was hired as the waterfront director for the New Jersey Y camps, and he then started his first full-time job as Assistant Director of Physical Education at the JCC of Rochester, NY. After three years in Rochester, Bob left to become Director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at the Lynn, Massachusetts JCC. At the time he earned his Masters Degree in Health, PhysicalEducation and Recreation. In 1959, he was hired by the legendary Detroit JCC Executive Director, Irwin Shaw, to run the very extensive physical education program at the new JCC on Meyers and Curtis in the city of Detroit. As plans were formulated to move to the Drake Road JCC facility, Bob suggested the design of the indoor swimming pool with its 60 foot width, the Z shape of the outdoor pool, and the track above the gym which are in full use today. After 20 years of service to the Detroit Jewish Community, he left Michigan to finish his professional career as Director of Health Services at the JCC of Houston, Texas. After 43 years as a JCC professional, he retired in 1992 and returned to Michigan to be close to his son and grandchildren.
Irwin Cohen, Mr. Baseball, was born in Detroit and attended the Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, then located at Dexter and Cortland, about one-half mile from his home. In high school, Irwin also attended Central High School as it offered more business courses at the time. While still attending the yeshiva, Irwin graduated from Central. In 1969, he married Davida Greenberg of Rochester, NY, and in 1972, their daughter, Chani was born. After stints in junior college and business school, Irwin went to work for the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. While working for Wayne County, Irwin launched a monthly publication, “The Baseball Bulletin”. Baseball legends Ernie Harwell and Peter Gammons were hired to give the publication a national flavor. At the end of 1983, Irwin accepted the position of Director of Group Sales for the Detroit Tigers. Besides working with group tickets, Irwin spoke to organizations and introduced many new marketing ideas, including Paws, the Tiger mascot.After the Tigers changed ownership in 1992, Irwin left the Tigers, began researching local and national Jewish history, and wrote about baseball. In 1999, Irwin pitched a memoir about Tiger Stadium to sports columnist Joe Falls. The result was the three-hour cassette and CD entitled, “Echoes of Tiger Stadium”. Irwin followed with ten books about the Tigers and their ballparks, local and national Jewish history, and the large iconic local Jewish history, “Echoes of Detroit’s Jewish Communities”
Al Delidow(Z”L) was born in Detroit on October 15, 1938. He attended Detroit Central High School and lettered in cross country and track, 1956-1957. He attended Wayne State University on an athletic scholarship. While at Wayne State from 1957-1962, Al participated and lettered in cross country, wrestling, and track. In 1959, Al began volunteering for the Red Cross. In 1982, he was awarded the Red Cross Century Club Award. He not only ran the Red Cross Learn to Swim program in Oak Park for many years, but he served as a Red Cross Instructor Trainer. Al began his career as a teacher in 1962. He taught Physical Education in the Oak Park School District at the elementary school level and then at the high school level. He taught at Roosevelt Elementary, Pepper Elementary, and Oak Park High School over the course of his thirty-seven year career, spanning from 1962 to 1999. Al coached several sports for Oak Park High School: bowling (1962), wrestling (1962-68), cross country (1968-72), track (1968-1972), and swimming (1972-1988). He was named Coach of the Year by The Detroit News. Many of his athletes were named to the Michigan All-State Track team, and he was awarded a State of Michigan “Concurrent Resolution of Tribute” for his coaching accomplishments in 1972. In 1999, Al was awarded the Official’s Award from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) for his 30 years of service as an official (track and swimming).
Ted Kaczander(Z”L) While attending Northwestern High School in Detroit, Ted won the Golden Gloves Boxing Championship in the Flyweight Division three times from 1930-1932. While at Wayne State University, he was on the fencing team and team captain (1937-1939). Ted earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Education. “There is no way we can talk about Wayne State University athletics without mentioning the role that the fencing program played in its history. Officially established at WSU in 1938-1939, the team was under the command of Ted Kaczander in its inaugural season” (Reuther Library, May 9, 2013). During his service in the army in World War II, Ted was a member of the troops that liberated Mauthausen Concentration Camp.In 1944, Ted married Frances (Burg) and they were married for 50 years. They had 3 sons and, eventually, 6 grandchildren. Ted began his career in the Detroit Public Schools in Physical Education. He primarily worked at McMichael Junior High and Beaubien Junior High. Ted was a forty-year employee of the Jewish Community Center. He began at the Woodward Center, then went on to Dexter-Davison, Meyers, 10 Mile, and finished his career at the West Bloomfield JCC. He was in the Physical Education Department and then an Associate Director of the Health Club. Through his fencing classes at the JCC, he instructed and molded many champions on the local and national level. He developed and ran the popular youth basketball programs and taught a variety of athletic classes, including archery, racquetball, boxing, and trampoline.
Jerry Lewis is a native Detroiter who graduated from Mumford High School and Wayne State University. After a brief period of time with the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company as a Marketing Consultant, he began a twenty-plus year career as a wholesale representative in the clothing business. During that time, he also developed the concept for the Detroit Tiger Fantasy Camps, founded in 1984, with former Tigers catcher and current radio voice Jim Price. The Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp is considered the most successful professional team camp for adults in all of sports. Over 225 people have attended camps in Lakeland, Florida each year. Many more have attended camps and batting practices at Comerica Park since 2000.
Jerry has two children and resides with his wife, Ellen, in West Bloomfield.
2015 Pillars of Excellence
Stephen grew up in northwest Detroit and attended Mumford High School, Wayne State University, and Detroit College of Law (1973). He officiated high school and college basketball, the 1992 Texaco Nassau Sunshine Shootout, and the 1994 Grand Bahamas Goombay Shootout, featuring men’s and women’s college teams from all divisions. He officiated the Special Olympics, Maccabi, St. Cecelia’s, AAU, Gus Macker, Detroit Pistons Old Timers games, and Detroit Shock tryout camp. Stephen has served as an assistant coach at Oak Park High School, Maccabi Detroit, and Isiah Thomas Basketball camps. He is a member of the advisory board for the Detroit Sports Zone, Inc. In 2010, Bernstein received the Award of Appreciation from the Motor City Youth Initiative for helping to sponsor basketball leagues and train prospective officials. He was awarded the Hillel Hero Award from Michigan State University. Hillel which established a fund in his name to support intramural sports programs.
Teacher and Administrator
A graduate of Henry Ford High School and Wayne State University in Detroit, Bob began his career in the Berkley High School District as a physical education teacher at the elementary and junior high school level, where he coached for many years. He was also the assistant basketball coach at Berkley High School for 13 years. For 22 years, Bob served as the Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics for the Berkley School District. Bob was honored with many awards over the course of his career for his service and dedication to high school athletics in Michigan. Bob became a certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) through the National Association of Athletic Directors in 2000. He was the recipient of the Allan Bush Award for outstanding leadership and service to the Michigan High School Athletic Association in 2001, and was named regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2002 by the MHSAA. He retired from the Berkley School District in 2007.
Teacher and Coach
Irvin was born and raised in Oklahoma Citybefore going to Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma. Throughout his youth, Irvin participated in sports with the goal of becoming a teacher and coach. Following college, Irvin accepted a teaching job at East Junior High School and coached football and wrestling. Irvin would spend the next 40 years teaching and coaching in Michigan. During his career as a football, wrestling, and baseball coach at North Farmington High School, he was named North Farmington’s Teacher of the Year and inducted into the Farmington Teacher Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into both the Michigan High School Football and Baseball Halls of Fame. Irvin retired from the classroom in 2002, but continued coaching until 2007. In honor of his years of service, North Farmington High School constructed an entry plaza to the baseball/softball complex in his name to recognize his contributions and career.
Harold Kutnick (Z”L)
Coach and Handball Champion
Born in Detroit, Harold played varsity basketball and was team captain for Central High School. He was named to the All-City team and earned honorable mention for the All-West Side. Harold received a basketball scholarship to Wayne State University and was the team captain for the Cagers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and started a 36-year teaching career at Bagley Elementary. Harold directed the land sports program at Camp Michigania and was an owner of the Thunderbird Country Day Camp. He partnered in the Cincy Sachs Basketball Clinic, the first basketball clinic in Michigan. Harold refereed and played basketball for the JCC where he received league honors as most valuable player. He coached for the Purchasing Service baseball team. As an adult, he played amateur and professional handball. Harold won the Detroit AAU City Doubles Championship in 1953 and Michigan Handball Association State Doubles Championship in 1954.
Mort Levitsky (Z”L)
Teacher, Official, Camp Tamarack Director
Mort began his involvement with young people and sports when he became a physical education teacher at Maccullough Elementary School in the Dexter-Davison area in the 1940’s. Thanks to his dedication and commitment to his students, many of the young men and women he taught went on to become educators themselves. After his years as a physical education teacher, he became an assistant principal, and then principal in the Detroit Public Schools. He was a very well-respected high school basketball and football official throughout the state of Michigan. He officiated every year in the Michigan Basketball State Tournament, including the tournament’s finals in East Lansing. Mort also had a positive influence on Jewish youth during his “summer job” at Camp Tamarack (AKA Fresh Air Camp). From 1944 to 1966, he was the athletic director, waterfront director, and camp director.