Ex-Fencers On Guard For Old Coach


The hundreds of Yeshiva University and Stern College students who took up epee, foil and saber during Arthur Tauber’s quarter-century as fencing coach talk about how he would make time for his young athletes. After practice, on bus rides, often late at night he would counsel the students, serving as a sounding board or surrogate parent.

This month many of Tauber’s onetime fencers will make time for him.
Initiated by them, YU’s Office of Alumni Affairs will sponsor a fencing reunion in honor of Tauber on Sunday, June 22, 5 p.m., at the Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St. in Manhattan, (For information call [212] 960-5400, ext. 5777.)

Tauber, 87, a star fencer at New York University in the early 1940s and a near-Olympian, was YU’s fencing coach – a part-time job for which he received a nominal salary, while working fulltime as a rehabilitation coordinator for the Veterans’ Administration – from 1949 to1985.

Now a resident of Manchester, N.J., and Boynton Beach, Fla., he helped create the fencing teams at YU and its Stern College for Women, which he calls "unathletic" institutions. "We started right from scratch," holding twice-weekly practices in a dank basement, he says in a phone interview.

Over the years, he says, he coached "500, 600" fencers, "800 maybe."

Some of them decided to hold the reunion because of "Hakaros Hatov," says Dr. Larry Rosman, a 1971 YU graduate, using the Hebrew term fro a sense of thanks. "It’s an opportunity to say thank you."

Rosman, a Forest Hills endocrinologist, fenced under Tauber for four years. "He was a superb teacher," Rosman says. "He was a father figure to a lot of the fencers. He was a true, soft-spoken gentleman. This guy never raised his voice."

Rosman invited his former coach to his wedding, keeping in touch "on and off over the years."

"I followed many of [his former fencers’] careers," Tauber says. "I was very proud of the friendships I developed."

Tauber, a Bronx native, is one of five fencers to win individual Intercollegiate Fencing Association titles in two weapons; he was inducted into NYU’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001; he qualified for the 1942 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled because of World War II.

Rosman says he became a fencer at YU because two older brothers had competed under Tauber.

Years later, Rosman says, "I wanted my kids to go into fencing" at his alma mater, "but the coach was no longer at YU." By then, Rosman says, Tauber had retired. "If he had been there, I would have insisted."