Nemer, Jerry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Nemer, Jerry

Jerome Nemer

The first Jew to captain a major athletic team at the University of Southern California (1933), Nemer was a first team All-America that same season. A two-time All-PCC selection, he also led the Pacific Coast Conference (predecessor to the Pac 10) in scoring in 1931 and 1932.

A lawyer by profession, Nemer was an AAU and collegiate referee from 1936-1944. In 1960, he was named USC's MVP (an honor that covered the last 35 years of school history, dating back to 1925). The annual Jerome Nemer Lecture Series at USC explores the contributions of Jewish thinkers to Western intellectual life.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 7, 1912 - d. Dec. 1980

Career Highlights:
Nemer was a great player at USC in the early 1930s and was one of the top scorers in the Pacific Coast Conference during his career. In 1931, USC had a record of 8-8 (5-4 in PCC) and Nemer averaged 7.8 points per game in conference play (tenth in the league). The following season, the USC squad had a record of 10-12 (8-4 in conference), although Nemer was named first team All-PCC Southern Division as he led the league in scoring with 12.0 points per game; he was also the team's MVP.

In 1933, Jerry was consensus first team All-America and repeated as first team PCC Southern Division as he averaged 9.0 points per game (fifth in the conference). He captained the Trojans to a conference record of 10-1 (18-5 overall) and first place in the Southern Division. In the PCC Championship, USC lost to Oregon State in a three game playoff (33-35, 39-28, and 19-24).

After graduating, Nemer played for the Firestone AAU team from 1933-1935 and then became an AAU referee. While still a ref in 1942, he became the basketball chairman of the California AAU Southern District for four years. In 1948, Nemer joined with Irwin Buchalter and Murray Fields to form a Los Angeles law firm, Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger.

In 1980, the year of his death, the Jerome Nemer Lecture Series was created at his alma mater, USC. The series is intended to explore the contributions of Jewish thinkers to Western intellectual life. In 1998, the Nemer Lecture came under the auspices of USC's Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life.

Chicago, Illinois

Career Dates:
Nemer played forward and center at USC, 1931-1933.

Physical description:
6'0", 165 pounds

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)