Six alumni join ranks of Athletic Hall of Fame

Induction ceremony held in Gosman Sports and Convocation Center March 31

Photos/Heratch Ekmekjian

From left: Ruth Porter Bernstein '57; Melissa and Doug Zinn, daughter and brother of Harold Zinn '61; Robert Nayer '70; William Carpenter '81; Geoff Getz '99; and Maya Marx '04

As Athletics Director Sheryl Sousa and Jim Lahey ‘85 inducted the 14th class into in the Brandeis University Joseph M. Linsey Athletic Hall of Fame last weekend, Sousa reminded attendees “no one gets to this level of achievement without support from loving family.”

That was clear, as friends, family and former teammates traveled from around the country to be at the ceremony in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center honoring this year’s inductees.

Ruth Porter Bernstein ’57, who was previously inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the 1955-1956 basketball team, the first undefeated team in Brandeis history, was honored this year as a “tireless advocate for women’s athletics,” said Lahey, a 1997 Hall of Fame inductee, who introduced each of the athletes. While at Brandeis, Bernstein, the first woman in her family to attend college, said she participated as fully as possible. Not only did she play on the basketball team, she also played intramural sports and was a cheerleader for the men’s football and basketball teams.

“That’s what they thought women did,” she said of cheerleading, still a little incredulous of women’s standing in sports while she was in college.

In the years since her graduation, during which she worked as a guidance counselor at Winthrop High School, Bernstein has continued her involvement with the athletics department she loved; she served as a president of Friends of Brandeis Athletics and was instrumental in the establishment of the Hall of Fame.

Bernstein, who still lives in Winthrop, was surrounded by family as she accepted the award. Hoping she could serve as a role model for students and for her own young grandchildren, she said: “Finding something you love and giving your best to it will bring untold rewards.”

Harold Warren Zinn ’61 was a founding member of the Brandeis golf team in 1959. He was considered the de facto coach by his teammates and is still considered one of the top golfers in school history. Zinn, who worked as an attorney in New York, passed away in 1991; his brother Doug and daughter Melissa accepted the honor on his behalf.

An emotional Melissa first addressed her dad directly, telling him the induction showed how many lives he touched, and then thanked the committee for “truly touching our hearts today.”

Robert Nayer ‘70 was known as a tenacious scorer and rebounder for the men's basketball teams of the late 1960s and 1970, and also as an unselfish player who always put the team first, Lahey said. He was the seventh men's basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and he’s currently ranked 18th. He still ranks second in career rebounds, just seven shy of 1,000 for his career.

“I always felt that if played correctly, basketball is the ultimate team game,” said Nayer, who was joined by relatives from far and wide. Before the ceremony, he recalled a championship game in Montreal, during which teammate Tom Haggerty ‘69 got into a fight with a player from the opposing team. In trying to break it up, Nayer risked being suspended from the game, but ultimately was named MVP. At the ceremony, the two players saw each other for the first time in 35 years.

“I’m thrilled, honored and humbled,” said Nayer, who is the director of operating and capital budgets at Lewis & Clark College and lives in Portland, Ore.

William Carpenter ’81 was a star shortstop in the university's first great diamond era, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Among the Judges' career leaders in six different statistical categories, he was the Greater Boston League MVP as a senior, when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

Lahey said Carpenter’s coach recalled him not only as a standout player, but also as an athlete who just loved playing the game. Carpenter said his coach’s assessment was accurate and recounted a story to prove it. When his father picked him up at the airport after he was let go by the Red Sox, he asked his father if the summer league he played in during college had a game that night. His father said they did, adding that Carpenter’s uniform was in the car. Carpenter played that night.

Geoff Getz ’99, had an illustrious career as a middle-distance runner, winning three NCAA Division III national championships and finishing runner-up twice at 800 meters. He also claimed five New England All-Division titles at that distance.

Accepting the honor, Getz shared one the most important lessons he learned on the track team is that “success is measured by the individual.” The team celebrated when a runner beat his personal best just as they celebrated race-winning times.

“The best part of being on the track team was just being on the team,” Getz recalled. “We ran together, worked together, lived together.”

Getz, who lives in Wayland, Mass., and is the director of technology at Z-TECH Associates, met his future wife on the track team during freshmen year.

Maya Marx ‘04 qualified for the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships three times in her career and was a three-time All-American in the breaststroke, finishing sixth in the nation as a junior. She won two University Athletic Association championships and was Brandeis' nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year as a senior.

Marx said she on her first day at Brandeis, she walked into Gosman with her parents for convocation and was awed by the Hall of Fame plaques that hung on the wall.

“Coming full circle is a totally humbling experience,” said Marx, who shared stories of learning about good sportsmanship at Brandeis. “We never arrive at success individually – we arrive at it together.”

Marx, who lives in Amherst, Mass., where she owns her own design studio, teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. She was surprised to find three tables that comprised three generations of swimmers cheering her on at the ceremony. Adding a little more cheer, she announced that she and husband, a fellow swim teammate, are expecting their first child in the fall.

Categories: Alumni, Athletics

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