Leadership, Maccabi USA
Board of Directors, Endower
International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
Newark Athletic Hall of Fame – 1988
National Coach of the Year – 1966, 1967
Lester was a man who inspired others and whose legacy continues to do so. Through sports, he gained the self-confidence and perfected the concept of teamwork and integrity that would guide him towards success throughout his life as a physical education teacher, coach, author, lecturer and businessman.
After earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University, Les served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He took his first position as a Physical Education teacher and coach at Fallsburgh Central School in NY before moving to Weequahic High School in Newark, NJ.
During his 12 years as Athletic Director and Chairman of the Athletic Department at Weequahic High School, Les’s teams won eight city, three county and three state championships. His last season, 1966–’67 was most notable, when his team went undefeated and was named #1 in the USA. He was responsible for helping more than 50 young men earn basketball scholarships to top universities – many became collegiate All-Americans and others went on to the NBA. Lester served on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness in NJ and as president of the NJ Recreation Teachers Association.
Because of his life-altering experiences with sports, Les championed the cause of Jewish athletes. He was active with Maccabi USA, serving as a member of the Board of Directors. One of his crowning moments occurred when the U.S. State Department requested he go to Israel. Based at Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport in Netanya, he stayed four months, coaching and lecturing on Basketball throughout the country. After that, he remained a lifelong member of Wingate, a project of Maccabi USA.
Les’s longstanding and deep-seated commitment to athletics and Judaism was genuine and is shared by his devoted wife Cecile and their children – Kenneth, his wife Cathy and their three children-Jennifer, Danielle and David; and Stephanie and her life partner, Peter Hollander.