The 2010 National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductees include: two-time heavyweight wrestling champion and former professional football player Bill Goldberg; Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg; female judo champion Rusty Kanokogi; Olympic freestyle swimmer Jason Lezak; Penn State Women’s Volleyball Coach Russ Rose; Achilles Track Club founder Dick Traum; and former NFL football offensive lineman Alan Veingrad.
“Our inductees and honorees truly exemplify what the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is all about,” said Lynne Kramer, Esq., Chairman of the Hall of Fame. “In their own way, each one of them have overcome adversities, challenged stereotypes and blazed a trail for others to follow. We hope by honoring these Jewish men and women for their accomplishments we can show young Jews that there are no limits for them.”
Here’s a look at the seven honorees:
Bill Goldberg- Wrestler and actor Bill Goldberg is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the gold belt in both World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the first wrestler in history to do so. The renowned professional wrestler began his athletic career as a defensive end at the University of Georgia and in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons from 1992-94. Following his wrestling career, Goldberg got involved with mixed martial arts and has served as a commentator for the now-defunct EliteXC.
Seth Greenberg- The well-respected college basketball coach is known for his aggressive, up-tempo style and tremendous leadership skills. Now entering his seventh season with the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team, Greenberg has guided the team to new heights in its bid to re-establish its place among the collegiate basketball elite. Greenberg came to Virginia Tech from the University of South Florida, where he led the Bulls to two NIT appearances and victories in Conference USA play against nationally ranked opponents. Twice honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Greenberg has served as a NCAA Tournament television and radio analyst and is very active in a number of charitable organizations and causes.
Rusty Kanokogi- Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi holds a seventh-degree black belt in judo, making her the highest ranking American woman in the sports. She launched her career in the 1950s, when women were barred from judo leagues, and was forced to disguise herself and compete as a member of the all-men’s team. She was discovered and ultimately disqualified. Since that time, Kanokogi has dedicated herself to women’s rights in the sport, earning the honor of World Pioneer of Women’s Judo by the International Judo Federation Congress in Japan. A member of the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, Kanokogi was also awarded the prestigious John Osako Award, given to those who unselfishly contribute to the Olympic sport of judo.
Jason-Lezak- American Olympic freestyle swimmer, Jason Lezak has earned four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronzes since 2000. But the one he is best known for was his remarkable come-from-behind victory in the 4×100 medley at the 2008 Olympic Games that kept the dream alive for teammate Michael Phelps to capture eight old medals. A specialist in the 50 and 100 cm freestyle races, Lezak owns long course world records in the 400m freestyle and medley relays. He has earned gold medals at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships and Maccabiah Games. He plans to compete in the 2010 Olympic Games.
Russ Rose- Coach Rose has guided the Penn State Women’s Volleyball Team to an unprecedented three straight NCAA National Championships and four overall. At the end of the 2009 season, he had led his team to a 1,000-159 overall record since becoming the head coach of the program, an .863 winning percentage and 13 Big Ten titles, including a seventh in 2009.
Dick Traum- An above the knee amputee marathoner, Dick Traum was the first runner to complete a marathon with a prosthetic leg. In a quest to encourage other disabled people to participate in long-distance running with the general public, Traum founded the international non-profit Achilles Track Club to supply support, training and technical expertise to disabled runners at all levels. The organization has expanded into 40 chapters in the United States and over 110 chapters on six continents.
Alan Veingrad- Former NFL offensive lineman Alan Veingrad played for the Green Bay Packers for five seasons, and two seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, where he was a member of the 1993 Super Bowl championship team. Following that win, Veingrad retired from football and began an affiliation with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. He now travels the country offering inspirational talks and rediscovering his Jewish heritage.