Jewish Hall of Fame honors go to diverse athletic field

An NBA Hall of Famer, a longtime Bay Area sports columnist and a 6-foot-4 girls basketball player are among the people being honored this year by the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California.

The induction ceremony, usually scheduled for the spring, will be held Jan. 27 to allow some usually unavailable baseball people — players, team officials and commentators — to attend. The venue is the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.

The seventh class of inductees consists of former San Francisco State football coach Vic Rowen, longtime sports columnist Art Spander, S.F.-based sports agent Matt Sosnick, former NBA coach Herb Brown and NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry. Brown is receiving the Greenberg Award, which goes to someone without a Bay Area connection; Barry is receiving the 2013 Mensch Award, which goes to a deserving non-Jew.

Rick Barry

In addition, several Jewish high school athletes will be honored: girls basketball star Drew Edelman of Menlo School (Atherton), baseball standout Andy Glickfeld of Lowell High (S.F.), figure skater Sarah Sinizer-Hopkins of Notre Dame High (San Jose), multi-sport athlete Rachel Teel of San Marin High (Novato) and soccer standout Freddie Whitman of Hillsdale High (San Mateo).

All of them have compelling credentials, but the most eye-popping belong to Edelman, a 6-foot-4 senior who was recruited by some of the top women’s college basketball programs in the nation. Averaging more than 21 points and 11 rebounds per game this season, she has verbally committed to play for USC.

The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame NorCal, which has a “wall of fame” on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto, held its first induction in 2006 and then skipped 2007 before becoming an annual event.

Drew Edelman

Barry, 68, the most recognizable name on this year’s list of inductees, was named one of the 50 greatest players in history by the NBA in 1996. Nowadays, the former Golden State Warrior does a lot of work for charitable causes.

“He does a lot of stuff where he is the main guy at [charity] golf tournaments, like for the March of Dimes or the American Cancer Society,” said Gary Wiener, director of the JSHFNC. “He has helped raise a lot of money.”

Rowen, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1919, was the head football coach at S.F. State from 1961 to 1989. The Gators, who no longer play football, were a small-college power in the 1960s, and two of Rowen’s assistants, Andy Reid and Mike Holmgren, went on to win Super Bowls as NFL head coaches. Rowen, 93, is expected to attend the ceremony.

Vic Rowen

Spander, an Oakland resident, has been honored with high-level awards by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the PGA. Now 74, he is still writing regularly for several publications, including’s “49ers Insider” digital magazine.

Brown, 76, led the Detroit Pistons to the NBA playoffs twice in the 1970s and went on to work for many NBA teams. Also, he coached an Israeli team to a European title in the 1970s and has coached Team USA in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. His brother, NBA coaching legend Larry Brown, received the Greenberg Award last year.

Sosnick, 42, a graduate of Burlingame High, is a sports agent who represents more than 40 professional baseball players. A handful are expected to attend the ceremony, including slugger Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds and pitcher Josh Johnson of the Miami Marlins.

Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and ESPN baseball expert Jay Crasnick will be among the presenters. Crasnick based his 2005 book “License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent” on Sosnick.

Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California dinner and induction ceremony, 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market St., S.F. Celebrity reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. $225. or [email protected]

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr was J.’s managing editor and Hardly Strictly Bagels columnist until he retired in 2016 to travel and live abroad. He and his wife have a home base in Mexico, where he continues his dalliance with Jewish journalism.