Philadelphia, PA, July 18, 2008 – Rhodes College Track & Field Head Coach, Robert Shankman, has been appointed Head Coach of the USA Open Track & Field Team to compete at the 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, July, 2009. Shankman is tremendously qualified to lead the Team of the best Jewish Track & Field athletes from the USA to compete at this international competition.

Coach Shankman is in his 19th year at Rhodes College and is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NCAA Division III Southeast Region. In Cross Country, he has coached 14 individual national qualifiers, while his teams have qualified three times for the National Championship Meet. In Track & Field, Shankman has coached 37 national qualifiers and 10 NCAA All-Americans.? Additionally, Shankman has received considerable recognition among his colleagues.? ?He has been voted SCAC Coach-of-the-Year by his peers 16 times in Cross Country and eight times in Track.? The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has also honored Shankman with Regional Coach of the Year awards in ’02 for Women’s Cross Country, in ’03 Women’s Outdoor Track, and in ’07 for Men’s Cross Country.? He currently serves as the U.S. Track Coaches Association regional representative for cross country.

When asked for a reaction to his appointment, Shankman replied, “I am thrilled to be part of Maccabi!? Having the opportunity to combine my passion for Judaism and Track & Field in Israel is a tremendous opportunity and privilege.”?

Athletes interested in representing the USA as members of the Track & Field Team should visithttps://maccabiusa.com/ to review selection requirements and fill out an application for the Games.? The Open Track & Field Team will depart for Israel approximately one week in advance of the Games to participate in a cultural heritage Pre-camp program and training.?

About the organization:

Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel (MUSA) has an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.? The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, the Pan American Maccabi Games and the Maccabi competitions in Europe and Australia, as well as a co-founder of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.? As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.? We strive to provide Jewish athletes the world over, the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.? We support programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish continuity, Zionism and excellence in sport.?

“Now more than ever, we need to get involved and committed to building a proud Jewish Identity among our young people in the U.S., Israel and the Diaspora,” stated Ron Carner, General Chairman, USA Maccabiah Team. “The Maccabiah (Games) is not just about sports, but about providing for these young people a Jewish awareness of who they are, where they come from and where they are going.”

The World Maccabiah Games are a quadrennial event that takes place in Israel.? The 18th World Maccabiah Games, scheduled for July 13 – 23, 2009 will be the world’s third largest international athletic competition.? Over 9000 of the world’s best Jewish athletes from six continents and over 60 countries will compete at the Games.