PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. Stu Wittner, a former Pace University mens basketball head coach and an alumnus of Pace, led the Mens United States Basketball Team to a gold medal at the 2011 Pan-American Maccabi Games in the Open Division.
The team beat Canada 72-62 in its first game on Dec. 26 and then dominated Israel the next day, 82-44. The U.S. team needed every second to get past Brazil, the host nation, on Dec. 28 in a 72-69 win. The Americans finished a run of four wins in as many days with a 92-45 drubbing of Mexico on Dec. 29.
The U.S. won two rematches to claim the gold. The team beat Israel in the semi-finals by a score of 96-86 on New Years Day and won the gold medal on Jan. 2 by once again defeating Canada, 87-70.
Coaching the National Team for the Maccabi Pan Am Games was a very special experience, Wittner said. We had a wonderful group of players to work with. The Gold Medal ceremony was very emotional for all of us. One of the highlights was beating the host country Brazil at the buzzer in the opening round."
Wittner played for Pace in the 1973-74 season and recorded 363 points, 139 rebounds and 105 assists. He was named a Knickerbocker First Team All-Star and then transferred to the University of Georgia, where he graduated and became a graduate assistant coach.
Wittner became head coach at Pace in 1979, a position he held until 1982. He finished with a 35-47 record.
After his tenure at Pace ended, Wittner held sales and management positions at Rockport, Converse and Timberland. He now works at the director of podiatry at Aetrex Worldwide, Inc.
Maccabi USA, an organization that supports the American Jewish community, sponsored the Maccabi Games. The 330 members of the organization, along with 100 other fans, traveled to Brazil to root for the United States team.
Twenty-five families took part in the games as representatives of the United States, including Fred Cohen, the General Chairman of the Maccabi USA Team and a Masters Softball athlete, and his wife Dhana, who co-chaired the supporters program.
From a report by Pace University Athletics / John M. Tagliaferri
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