Starobin, Mort : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Starobin, Mort

Mordecai Starobin

Starobin was an All-East tackle at Syracuse University in the 1920s, and later became a line coach at NYU (New York University) and Manhattan College. An all-around athlete while at Syracuse, Mort won the National Junior Indoor shotput championship (41'7 3/8") in 1924.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1902 - d. June 13, 1942

Career Highlights:
Starobin, who grew up in Brooklyn and attended Commercial High School, played tackle at Syracuse for three seasons in the early 1920s. In 1922, Syracuse finished 6-1-2 and Mort was named Christy Walsh Syndicate All-East second team, and New York Times All-East honorable mention. In December of that year, Starobin was highlighted in the American Hebrew's 'Who's Who in Colleges.'

The first game of the season against Hobart happened to land on Rosh Hoshana and Starobin was selected to start at left tackle. The Hebrew proudly stated that, "In his enthusiasm and success, however, the lad remembered he was a Jew, and placed his religion above sports. His action in not playing on the Holy Day was followed by the other Jewish members of the squad [including Benny Moses and Dave Ziff] who did not appear in uniform."

The Hebrew continued its praise and stated: "Excluding the Hobart contest, Starobin has participated in every Syracuse game this season. His brilliant playing has been commented on by leading critics in the East...acclaiming him as one of the best linemen in the game..."

In 1923, the Orangemen (8-1-0) dominated their opponents by outscoring them 237-19. Their only loss was to Colgate (16-7); otherwise, they did not give up a touchdown to any other team and had 7 shutouts!

In 1924, Syracuse won their first five games by a combined score of 95-13. They finished the season 8-2-1 and Mort was named Walter Camp, Christy Walsh Syndicate All-America honorable mention. After graduating in 1925, Mort became an assistant coach at Syracuse, then moved with Syracuse head coach Chick Meehan to NYU the following year.

From 1926-1932, Mort was the line coach with the Violets; in 1928, they won the mythical Eastern championship. In 1933, Starobin became the line coach at Manhattan College, where he remained until 1937. Mort was selected by football historian Dr. L.H. Baker as a member of the Syracuse All-Time team.

In 1979, Mort was given the Syracuse Letterwinner of Distinction Award; it is the most prestigious honor a former varsity student-athlete can receive (other winners include Joe Alexander, Myles 'Bus' Friedman, Marty Glickman, and Harry Kallet).

Brooklyn, New York

Career Dates:
Starobin played tackle at Syracuse University from 1922-1924. He was the line coach at NYU from 1926-1932 and at Manhattan College from 1933-1937.

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
American Hebrew, December 1, 1922