Local ref to handle title match

A longtime Altoona volleyball official was selected as one of the referees for the NCAA Division I men’s national championships.

Bill Wolf of Altoona will serve as a referee for the championships to be held Thursday and Saturday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Wolf’s appearance at the NCAA men’s championships marks the first time in Altoona history that an official has worked the national championship as a referee. Wolf, along with three other local officials, (Chuck Gojmerac of Roaring Spring, Tim Rough of Cresson, and Chad Oberholtzer of State College) has worked the men’s national championships as line judges.

“I was honored and a little bit shocked,” Wolf said. “There are a select few who get to referee Division I men’s volleyball and do the championships in Pauley Pavilion. It’s still a little bit overwhelming.”

Wolf has received a referee assignment for the Division III men’s volleyball national championships, but he is savoring this DI assignment.

“Doing the (Division I) championships is really the only event left on my bucket list as an official,” Wolf said. “I have done the D3 men’s championships a few years back and it was an awesome experience. And also I got to be the line judge for the Division I championships interestingly enough at UCLA and also Penn State.”

Wolf, who lists officials Scott Atkinson, Brad Weirich, Jerry Durishan, Chuck Gojmerac and Bob Kasun as referee influences, started officiating after a back injury sidelined him and limited his playing.

“I got hurt playing volleyball in 1995,” he said. “I couldn’t play so Chuck Gojmerac asked me if I wanted to officiate the local co-ed corporate league at the Hollidaysburg Junior High. From there, it went to high school official in 1995 to USA Volleyball official in 1996 and PAVO official in 1998. I received my junior national [certification] in 2002 and national badge in 2005.”

Wolf, a 1982 Altoona Area High School graduate, loves to travel so officiating in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico has given him the best of both worlds.

“I have gotten to see a large part of the country,” Wolf said. “Just this year, I will visit St. Louis, Los Angeles, Edmonton, Orlando and Phoenix. I am also thinking of refereeing a tournament in Hawaii next year.

“In May, I’m one of 22 officials invited to the Canadian National Championships in Edmonton, Alberta. I have done three of them including Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.”

Wolf, who has also officiated two PIAA state championships, is the son of Ann and Bill Wolf of Altoona.