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
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.
“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
“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.