Paul Heyse | The Chronicle-Telegram
Published on June 20, 2017
Deb Molnar calls it as she sees it. As a track and field official, she has to.
So she had to do the same when she learned she was named the Ohio High School Athletic Association Official of the Year in girls track and field a few weeks ago.
And just how did she feel about earning such a prestigious honor?
Well, stunned, actually.
“I’m extremely humbled,” Molnar said. “It blew my mind. I had no idea that I was being considered and no idea who put me up for the nomination.”
A Clearview High math teacher, Molnar, 52, has been a track and cross country official since 1990.
It runs in the family. Her husband, Nick, has been a track and cross country official for 17 years. Their daughter, Devan, has been a track and cross country official for three years.
“Officiating allows me to still stay close to a sport that I can’t compete in any longer,” Molnar said. “I got to watch my children compete and I got to officiate them as well. It’s a passion that hasn’t left me. I love the sport. I also love watching the kids that compete reach their next level and that is special.”
Molnar was an assistant track for her first three years at Clearview under Len Nickoloff. She was also a high school track assistant for Ashland High under Dave Smalley while an undergrad at Ashland University. Clearview was her first job interview out of college.
She passed her exam to become an official in May 1990 only weeks before her marriage to Nick.
Molnar has been a starter for 17 years after first serving as an umpire and then as a clerk. She also still enjoys handling middle school meets in addition to her high school meet responsibilities.
“The Mansfield Relays was where I got the bug for officiating,” Molnar said. “I was coaching at Ashland High while I was in college and I was asked to clerk the Mansfield Relays. It’s the place I came to understand that part of track and field.”
Molnar, who is also a starter and clerk for NCAA meets at Spire Institute in Geneva, credits a couple of local officials with helping her development.
“Bill Buttermore had a lot to do with it,” Molnar said. “Bill was like a mentor to me. Larry Dixon has been a big influence as well.
“Track’s my passion. Coaching was very rewarding, but I truly enjoy being a track and field official. I love the interaction with young athletes. I like watching good high school competition.”