Mondschein, who was Jewish, was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Boys High School, where he ran track. He also ran for the New York Pioneer Club. He entered the US Army in 1943. He became a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternal organization while attending New York University His son, Brian, was a world-class decathlete in the 1980s. His grandson, also named Brian, was an All-American pole vaulter at Virginia Tech.
Decathlon, high jump, and football career
He was AAU decathlon champion in 1944, and in 1946 and 1947. He won the 1944 Olympic Trials and would have been the top American representative had the Olympic Games been held that year. He was NCAA high jump champion in both 1947 and 1948, competing for New York University. As of 2015, he still held NYU’s record in the outdoor high jump—6 feet, 7¾ inches. He also played football as an end for NYU in 1946, earning All-East honors. He competed in the 1948 Olympics for the United States in decathlon, coming in eighth, as teammate Bob Mathias won the gold medal. In his career, he was ranked third in the world in outdoor high jump and tenth in the decathlon in 1947; sixth in the indoor high jump and eighth in the decathlon in 1948; and third in the outdoor high jump and sixth in the decathlon in 1949.
He later coached track, basketball, and football at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, starting in 1949. He coached the US team at the 1950 Maccabiah Games, and was also an advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Education, helping for two years to prepare the countries athletes for the 1952 Olympics. He was then a coach at the University of Pennsylvania; first the assistant track coach (1965–79) and then the head coach (1979–87). He was also an assistant coach on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. He was previously an assistant coach at Kutztown University, and also volunteered as an assistant coach at Haverford College. He also served as an assistant coach at La Salle University in Philadelphia.
He is a member of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the New York Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the NYU Athletics Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
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