Penguin News


YSU Mourns the Loss of Former Athletic Director Joe Malmisur
by YSU Sports Informatation
Sunday, Oct 14, 2018 10:34 pm
YSU Mourns the Loss of Former Athletic Director Joe Malmisur
The Youngstown State Athletic Department mourns the loss of former Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Joe Malmisur, who passed away on Saturday evening. Malmisur, who was YSU's Athletic Director for 11 years, was 89 years old.

Malmisur, a native of Youngstown and graduate of East High School, served as the Athletic Director at Youngstown State from July 1, 1983 through June 30, 1994.

His dedication to Youngstown State University didn't stop when he left his position as athletic director. He worked as the Director of the Penguin Club and served on the University Development Council upon leaving his athletic-director post.

He was always a familiar and friendly face around the Athletic Department and was highly involved in the success of the Penguin Club. He was honored as the 2005 Penguin of the Year and was enshrined into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 for his contributions.

He is survived by his wife, Olga D., are their children, Joseph and Martha, and eight grandchildren. The Malmisur family has announced that calling hours will be from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday at Rossi Brothers-Lellio Funeral Home on South Ave. Services will take place on Friday at Sacred Heart Church.

Malmisur helped shape the athletic program in numerous ways during his tenure.

In his early career, he watched as the Penguins were competitive in the Ohio Valley Conference. The men's basketball program came within an eyelash of making the NCAA Division I Tournament in 1985 losing in the conference tournament final. Youngstown State lost a heartbreaker, 66-63 at Middle Tennessee State that year. The football program won a conference title in 1987.

Following the 1987-88 athletic year, the Penguins left the Ohio Valley Conference to serve as an independent in all sports until 1992. In 1992, Youngstown State's sports programs - except football - joined the Mid-Continent Conference. YSU would be affiliated with the Mid-Con until May 2001. The football program remained as an FCS/Division I-AA Independent during his tenure.

Prior to the 1986 football season, he made the shrewd move of hiring then-Ohio State assistant coach Jim Tressel to take over the Youngstown State football program. In 1987, the Penguins made the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the first time. In 1989, YSU won its first FCS postseason game, and in 1990, it rolled through the regular season unbeaten in 11 games.

In 1991, the Penguins won their first National Championship beating Marshall 25-17. That capped an improbable end to the season as YSU won eight straight games on its way to the title. In 1992, YSU reached the National Championship Game coming up three points short at Marshall. In 1993, the Penguins won it all again in Malmisur's final year as athletic director posting a 13-2 record and beating the Thundering Herd 17-5 on their home turf.

Off the field, Malmisur created an Athletic Academic Counseling Center for YSU student-athletes, which resulted in one of the most successful graduation rates for student-athletes that still continues today at YSU. He hired full-time academic advisers and purchased computers to provide a study area for student-athletes.

He worked to increase department revenues to accommodate a self-supporting scholarship system and to cover all department expenditures. He created the YSU Scholarship/Ring Dinner, which has been used to raise funds for championship rings for all YSU teams and salutes a Penguin of the Year annually.

He was involved as a coach or administrator for more than 50 years, having coached championship teams on the collegiate and high school level.

A local legend, his impact is felt on the number of Hall of Fames he has been inducted to. In 1991, he was enshrined in the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame and in 1992 he was elected to the East High School Hall of Fame. In 1994, he was named a YWCA Youngstown Man of the Year.

Before coming to Youngstown State in 1983, he was the head football coach at Hiram for 14 seasons. Malmisur was an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and served as a fund raiser and recruiter for the school as well.

He began his professional career upon being discharged from the service as an assistant football coach, head track and field coach and assistant Dean of Men at his alma mater, Heidelberg College.

He was the head football coach at Wellston (Ohio) High School where he coached the Golden Rockets through the 1958 season. His next high school head coaching experience was at Lima (Ohio) High School from the 1960 through 1968 campaign.

On the collegiate level, he served as the head football coach at both Heidelberg and Hiram until 1982, leading the Terriers to a President's Athletic Championship in 1981. He was also a past president of the Football Coaches Association for the Ohio Athletic Conference and the PAC. He was also a District V representative of the American Football Coaches Association.

Malmisur received a degree in education from Heidelberg in 1951 and later earned a master's degree from Bowling Green State University.

At East High School, he was a three-sport athlete lettering in football, baseball and basketball. He was offered a contract at one point in his baseball career by the St. Louis Browns.

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