Laszlo Jurak

NewsTeam Handball News

Remembering the Life of the Legendary Laszlo Jurak

Laszlo Jurak, who dedicated more than 50 years to the sport of team handball in the United States, passed away on March 4th. Jurak was 92 years old.

Born in Hungary, he was passionate about sports from a young age, initially playing basketball, and training with the Hungarian National Basketball Team, before emigrating to the United States in his mid-20’s.

Jurak had a lifelong passion for the sport of team handball, being involved as a player, coach, and administrator. He was a member of the National Team in the pre-Olympic years, including at the 1963 Outdoor World Championship and the 1970 Indoor World Championship.

After his successful playing career, Jurak had extraordinary success as a coach, as he coached the Junior National Team and at the club level, including at Adelphi University. He is the all-time winningest coach in the United States with an unparalleled 22 US National Championships. 

At the 1972 Summer Olympics, Jurak served as the assistant coach under Peter Buehning Sr., where the United States finished 14th. The 1972 edition of the Games was the first time indoor handball made it onto the Olympic program.

Countless members of the team handball community are where they are today because of the devotion Jurak had to the sport, including a focus on developing athletes to represent the United States at the international level, as more than 15 Olympians and 75 men’s and women’s National Team athletes were coached by Jurak.

Jurak called Long Island home for many years, and developed local talent. When he was the coach of the East team at the US Olympic Festival in 1986, 10 of the 15 athletes were from Long Island. 

He also provided mentorship to other coaches around the country and world, including lecturing about the sport as a member of the United States Sports Academy.

The sadness of Laszlo’s passing is profoundly felt in Garden City, a village on Long Island, New York. He served as Athletic Director, Physical Education teacher, and coach at The Waldorf School of Garden City for more than 30 years. As an honor of his immense impact to the athletes at the Waldorf School of Garden City, the soccer field was named the “Laszlo Jurak Athletic Field” in 2003.

As evident by his expansive accolades and accomplishments, Laszlo was a champion of athletes, but more importantly people, and our community was immensely fortunate to have Laszlo in our lives.

Laszlo’s family requests donations on his behalf to be made to the Laszlo Jurak Athletic Fund at The Waldorf School of Garden City.

The link to donate is https://www.waldorfgarden.org/why-give/donate-waldorf-school-garden-city/
Please select "Laszlo Jurak Fund" within the dropdown list under "designation".

1972 National Team

Coach Laszlo Jurak (Top Left) with the 1972 United States National Team

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