DIRECTOR at the South Gippsland Umpires Association, Gary Scholz, is leading the way on and off the field – with over 25 years’ experience, his umpiring skills and family inclusion have reached fairy tale heights.
At the weekend he umpired together with his 14-year-old son Zack in the middle for the first time, his wife Sarah goal umpiring and it was Gary’s 800th game.
Gary says with his dad and brother both umpires, it wasn’t long into his junior career until he put down the boots and picked up the whistle.
“I sort of realised I wasn’t the best footballer and really found my calling umpiring,” says the former Moe footballer.
His son Zack has also followed in his
father’s footsteps.
Zack leads the way for his younger brother Luke who plays footy and is looking forward to the day he’s old enough to be a boundary umpire.
Abby, the youngest, says she is also interested in footy and is excited to play youth girls in the future.
Gary recommends football umpiring as a great way to keep in touch with the game and community, stay fit and make some money.

Joining 800-gamer Gary Scholz before the big game are other umpires and family members including Harrison Bell, Sarah Scholz (Gary’s wife), Abbey Scholz, Gary, Luke Scholz, Harrison Taylor-Smith, and Zack Scholz ready for his first Gippsland League senior game. Gary had 16 years as a Latrobe Valley umpire and 10 years with the South Gippsland Umpires Association where he is the panel’s senior advisor. The best thing about being an umpire? “Just being involved in the footy, and now with the family and young ones.” Don’t like: “The good-natured banter is ok, but we can do without the abuse.” M133419

“We have a really great group of umpires who train weekly at the Leongatha Velodrome. We’ve got good numbers, but we’re always open to new faces,” says Gary.
Gary says that although competition and crowds have decreased in the past 10 years, Wonthaggi is still his favourite ground to
umpire at.
“Wonthaggi is the best surface in the area, second would likely be Tarwin,” said Gary.
When asked if there were any games that stood out for Gary’s umpiring careerm he recalled the glory days of the late 2000s.
“Umpiring some TAC matches when young players were on their way to get drafted was some of the best footy I’ve experienced.”
Gary says the one downside of umpiring is missing Hawks’ Saturday matches.
“We’re a big Hawks family, so it’s a little tough to miss matches but umpiring together is pretty good,” he said.