Local Pioneer’s Legacy, Passion Lives With Liberty

Rosemary (Lamb) Groszman lost a long-time battle to cancer earlier this year, but thanks to a little place called “Heaven” in New Jersey, her memory and love for the game of basketball lives on.

Groszman, a physical education teacher and basketball coach at Lyndhurst High School (LHS) in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was considered a local pioneer for women’s sports. She assisted in the development of the LHS’ girls basketball program, beginning with an intramural squad and by the late 1960’s saw the first girls basketball team take the court.

“She ate, drank, & breathed her passion for the sport from day one,” said Arlene Jacobsen, a former student and player of Groszman’s.

Whether it was enlisting the help of the school’s female custodian to sew the team’s first uniforms or traveling across the state to attend men’s basketball clinics to get a better grasp on the rules and latest changes – Groszman’s commitment for the game and helping her students excel never quit.

That work on and off the court for the program paid off in a big way. In 1978, she led the team to the NJSIAA State Championship, soon enough to be followed by the Bergen County Coach of the Year honor. LHS inducted Groszman into its Hall of Fame in 1986.

It was in 1990 that she eventually stepped down from teaching and coaching to settle into retirement. Just seven years later she was honored by the Bergen County Coaches Association for her many years of excellence in the sport.

Although she was away from the sidelines she knew so well, Groszman didn’t have to wait very long to feel the thrill of watching women’s basketball, as the WNBA and Liberty tipped off its inaugural season in 1997.

“She was one of the first to purchase tickets, and without hesitation, became one of the Liberty’s number one fans,” said Jacobsen.

A longtime season ticket holder for the Liberty, Groszman managed the trips across the Hudson to see her favorite WNBA team in “The World’s Most Famous Arena” despite battling with cancer.

“Even when she couldn’t make the journey, you could rest assured she was home in front of her TV, rooting on the Liberty – with a little bit of arm chair coaching, too.”

No matter the role – teacher, coach or friend – Groszman’s beliefs in dedication, team-work, unselfishness, integrity and honesty that she instilled in the lives she touched for all those years still ring true to this day. Since her passing in January, Groszman’s memory has lived on not only with her family, friends and former students and players, but with the Liberty as well.

A former class-mate and friend, Thelma Thompson, sponsored two young girls to attend the Liberty’s week-long annual Summer Camp at Hoop Heaven in Whippany, New Jersey late last month in Groszman’s name.

“When we all learned the name of where the camp was taking place,” said Jacobsen, “we stopped, took a deep breath and thought, ‘How’s that for karma?’”

“Hoop Heaven; that is exactly where she is right now.”

Mallory George and Kayla Eda were the recipients of Groszman’s scholarship this summer (click here to see photos of their experience). Thompson and Groszman’s friends are hoping the scholarship is an initiative they can continue for next summer and beyond as an on-going tribute to their dear friend.

The Liberty hosted its annual “Breast Health Awareness Night” (presented by The Hallmark Channel) on August 21 at The Garden. A favorite theme night of Groszman’s, many of her friends were in attendance on that evening taking in the game, as they did with her so many times before.

"Not many of us get to live out our passions in life, but she saw to it that she did; right up until the end."

Check out some photos of Groszman by clicking here.