It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Mr. Sam Hartstein, z”l who served for over five decades as the Director of Yeshiva University’s Department of Public Relations.
Sam (as he was affectionately known), who passed away this past week, a few weeks shy of his ninety-third birthday, was well known to former YU administrators, colleagues and alumni as the voice of Yeshiva University — the person who told YU’s story to the world. What many of the more recent YU alumni, especially the basketball alumni, may not know was that he played a key role in starting, building and sustaining YU’s basketball Program.
Although only 5’-4”, Sam started for two years for the YU varsity and captained the 42-43 team to a 10-5 record. More importantly he was instrumental in recruiting Red Sarachek to YU. Red was always fond of telling people that the reason he came to YU was because Sam first coaxed him into YU’s basement gym and than locked him in refusing to let him out until he agreed to coach the team. During the team’s glory years of the 1950’s it was Sam’s interest in the basketball program and his PR skills that insured that the entire New York metropolitan area knew about YU’s basketball achievements. When YU defeated Nat Holman’s City College team in 1959 (58-51), it was Sam’s contacts with the New York Times that enabled YU to garner the New York Times sports page headline “Yeshiva ….downs City College Five.” Throughout his tenure at YU he was a master at securing newspaper coverage both for the basketball team and for its players and thus insured that YU players received the same press as all other New York City basketball All-stars.
Beyond his love of YU basketball and YU’s players he was always there to provide support and sage guidance both to Red and to me.
He will be missed by many but the memory of his many accomplishments will serve as a lasting tribute.
We extend our sincere condolence to his wife Rachel, son Jonathan and daughter Gila Heimowitz.
HaMakom yenachem etchem betoch avlei Tzion veYerushalayim
May God comfort you with all those who mourn for Tzion and Yerushalayim