Donna Vavrinec, Connecticut – 2016
Donna began her officiating career in basketball through a course offered to senior athletes at Notre Dame HS in Bridgeport, Ct in 1971. She began officiating field hockey in 1975 while taking a college course at Plymouth (NH) State College. After getting a teaching position at Norwalk (CT) High School in 1976 and coaching field hockey, basketball and softball, she was told she could not coach three sports. She gave up coaching softball and became an umpire in 1979.
Her service as an athletic official has spanned 41 years for softball and field hockey, and 21 years for basketball. She was the chairwoman of the CT field hockey board of officials and is currently (since 2010) the NCAA softball national coordinator of officials.
Donna’s umpiring honors include: induction into the Connecticut Scholastic & Collegiate Hall of Fame for softball (2000), for basketball (2005) and for field hockey (2016), induction into the CT ASA Hall of Fame in 2002, and selection as CT field hockey official of the year in 2009. She was also the 2000 CT Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Pathfinder Award recipient.
Donna found her true calling when she began officiating. She was able to stay involved with the sports she loved – field hockey, basketball, and softball. She worked her way up the officiating ranks noting the lack of women officials. It was important to her that women athletes stayed involved in their sports by becoming officials.
“As an official I have been truly blessed with the ability to stay calm, see all possibilities, promote fair play, respect all constituents, enforce rules, and most of all do it for the love of the game. I have had many opportunities to be on the field, court, or diamond to witness the continued development of young athletes as they strive for success.”