The YM-YWHA of North Jersey in Wayne will induct three new members into its Sports Hall of Fame next month. The class of ‘008 Louis Sirota, Bill Dimond, and Barbara Keil will be honored in a ceremony held in the Y’s Senior Lounge on March 9.
Louis Sirota joined the Y in the early 1930s and immediately became involved in a number of in-house athletic activities, excelling, in particular, in basketball and baseball. A member of the Panther Club, a basketball group that played at the Y in the 1930s and early 1940s, he went on to play both basketball and baseball at Paterson State Teachers College (now William Paterson University), where he captained both teams.
During World War II, Sirota served in the U.S. Coast Guard and played both sports on military service teams. Around that time, "the Yankees were after him and he could have gone to the AA level with them," said Marty Rittenberg, chairman of the Y’s Sports Hall of Fame. Additionally, Sirota played with the Boosters, a Y business and professional organization that had started a professional basketball team. The Boosters played professional and semi-professional teams on weekends during the war years.
In 1990, Sirota was inducted into the William Paterson University Hall of Fame. He will be the third Y Hall of Fame inductee to have received both honors. Sirota, who now lives in Florida, will have his two sons accept the award on his behalf.
Bill Dimond joined the Y in 19’0. An original Hall of Fame voter, until his death two years ago he was both an athlete in his own right and a supporter of youth athletic activities.
"He bowled on Monday nights into his 90s, swam almost every day, and played nine holes of golf on Tuesdays and Thursdays," said Rittenberg.
Dimond’s generosity and leadership helped further and enhance the Y’s athletic programs. "Willie was very much loved by all who knew him . He was a very proud, unassuming individual," Rittenberg said.
Barbara Keil will be the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. A Y member since 1981, Keil has been a distinguished athlete her entire life. A graduate of Wayne Hills High School, she captained both the squash and tennis teams at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Her success continued in both sports as a participant in Y in-house and travel leagues and on the national stage. In ‘004 and ‘006, she partnered to win the YM-YWHA Mixed Doubles Tennis Championship and made the finals in ‘007. Additionally, in ‘007, Keil was a squash champion at the Howe Cup, an annual national women’s team tournament, and the winner of the Chatham Eye Opener Women’s Championship.
Inductee plaques, including photos, will be hung in a corridor near the Y’s physical education department. "I’ve seen many people stop and read the information on the plaques," said Rittenberg. "We’re hopeful that when young kids see these plaques, they’ll be an incentive [motivating them to feel] ‘Some day I’d like to be up there.’"