Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


MEDFORD – Janice Savitz, head coach of the Tufts University women's basketball team since 1994, was selected to coach the United States team at the 16th World Maccabiah Games to be held in Israel in July 2001.

Since their inception in 1932, the Maccabiah Games have been a celebration of Jewish unity, culture and heritage through world athletic competition. From 1953, the Games have been held every four years in Israel in the year following the Olympics. In 2001, more than 5,600 world-class athletes from more than 50 countries are expected to participate in the 16th Maccabiah.

A head coach at Mount Holyoke College and Hamilton College prior to joining the Tufts staff, Savitz will help select the U.S. Team and then practice and coach it in the Open Division. All Jewish USA citizens are eligible for the U.S. Maccabiah Team. Swimmer Mark Spitz, gymnast Mitch Gaylord, NBA basketball players Dolph and Danny Schayes and Ernie Grunfeld, tennis star Brad Gilbert and World Cup soccer player Jeff Agoos are an indication of the caliber of athlete the Games attract.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for me not only as a coach, but as a person," Savitz said. "I look forward to the challenge of assembling a competitive team, and I also look forward to valuable life experiences that will come from being a part of the whole event."

Savitz is coming off one of her best seasons with the Tufts basketball team. The 1999-2000 Jumbos posted a 15-8 record, the most wins by the team since 1992. She is second on the university's all-time wins list with 64. Originally from Syracuse, Savitz is a graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport. She received her Master's degree in Physical Education from Ithaca College in 1981.

"We carefully reviewed the top candidates for the women's basketball head coaching position and found that Janice was our best overall choice," said Sherry Levin, former Maccabiah Games women's basketball player in 1981 and co-chairperson for the 2001 Games. "Her success at Tufts and experience as a head coach as well as her style and personality put Janice over the top. We are confident that she will not only attract the best Jewish women's basketball players in the United States but mold them into a cohesive group to bring home the gold medal."