Brandeis University: A People's History 1963-1964
Brandeis B-Ball: Glory Days?

Brandeis’ basketball team had a difficult decade in the 1960s — I like to say “we started slowly, then tapered off.” Mickey Fisher, an outstanding New York City high school coach, came to Brandeis as Athletic Director in 1962 or ’63. He was one of the most famous names in basketball, having coached Boys High School to several NYC championships and developed stars such as Tommy Davis (who later went on to play baseball with the Dodgers) and Connie Hawkins. His arrival was to signal a rebirth of Brandeis athletics. Unfortunately, within six months of his arrival, Fisher died of a heart attack. His program died with him. He did commit Brandeis to a game the following season against New York University.

NYU was rated the preseason #2 team in the nation, led by future pro stars Harold “Happy” Hairston and Barry Kramer. Brandeis played NYU at their Washington Heights gym, on TV in New York, with Marty Glickman announcing the game. While NYU didn’t do as well as it had hope!, it was still a national Division One power. Brandeis, on the other hand, was 3-12 in Division III. Glickman asked coach Irv Olin: “Where’s your starting five? They have to be introduced for TV.” Olin told Glickman that our players were hidden behind NYU’s team — too short to be seen! (The NYU starters were 6'10", 6'6", 6'7", 6'5" and 5'10". The tallest Brandeis starter was 6'2" (We did have one 6'4" player, but he usually had a medical excuse.)

The story of the game has become a staple of mine as I’ve spoken about Brandeis and athletics around the country in “The Jewish Sports Experience.” Somehow, Brandeis scored the game’s first basket. Coach Olin turned to the crowd and yelled: “At least we won’t get shut out!” We didn’t. Actually, we led most of the first half before falling behind by nearly 20 points. The second half, as the NY Times said the next day, “was played for exercise.” Final score: NYU 81, Brandeis 43. I played the last few minutes and took one shot after a pass from Gary David Goldberg. It fell off the front rim. There went my chance for immortality!

—Michael Leiderman, ’66

First General Purpose Computer

The university acquires an IBM1620 for faculty research and course work. It has a memory of about 7K and an add time of .6 msec. The monthly rental is around $3000. Its elementary storage units are decimal digits (rather than bytes).

—Max Chrétien, Professor Emeritus, Computer Science