SCRANTON, Pa. — Penn State Scranton Athletic Director Jeff Mallas was named to the Robert J. Scannell Roll of Honor at the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference's annual awards luncheon on May 23.
The honor is bestowed upon an athletics administrator, coach, faculty or staff member who has served Commonwealth Campus athletics, intramurals and recreation programs with distinction.
Below is an excerpt from Mallas' nomination, submitted by athletic department staff members Sara Rinkunas, coordinator of athletic programs and Mar Tsakonas, staff assistant and assistant softball coach at Penn State Scranton.
"If there is one person at Penn State Scranton who truly “Bleeds Blue and White” it’s Athletic Director Jeff Mallas," read the nomination. "As a 1975 graduate of Penn State University, Jeff has been a strong supporter of Penn State and athletics, serving the university through non-profit work, coaching, teaching, and administration.
"Not many people get to see Jeff’s work for Penn State beyond the Multi-Purpose Building where we are located, but this is a man whose life embodies the definition of Penn State Pride. Every day Jeff is a Penn Stater in everything he does and the scope of his dedication to the University is far reaching.
"Looking back on the last 40 years, from his time as a student-athlete at the Scranton campus, to his current status as an Athletic Director, Jeff has done more than fill a position, rather he changed the lives of students, athletes and even the campus community."
Currently serving as the president of the Greater Scranton Penn State Chapter, Mallas has been with the group since 1981, as president, vice president and a 30-year member of their board.
"[Mallas'] work with the Penn State Scranton Chapter reaches far beyond most volunteer service," read the nomination, "as he works year-round raising funds for scholarships for Penn State Scranton students through community events, tailgates, speaker events and an annual Penn State Night Dinner that has become a staple in the Scranton area where University head coaches share their views with the community.
"In 1986 he instituted the Male and Female Academic Athletic Award, which honors two student athletes from the Scranton campus for their excellence in sports and in the classroom, given out at the annual Penn State Night Dinner.
"Under his presidency Mallas has secured a $25,000 endowment from the Scranton Chapter for Penn State Scranton Athletics to help teams travel to playoffs, purchase equipment, host an athletic awards banquet, and even help with needed upgrades for the athletic facilities."
In 2004, the Chapter named Mallas “Alumnus of the Year” for his unyielding dedication to the group and betterment of Penn State.
"As a coach, his work can be seen, quite literally, written in the hallways of the gym at Penn State Scranton," read the nomination. "As you walk around the trophy cases you begin to notice that almost every team photo has the same man leading a varsity squad to victory since the early 80’s; that man is Jeff Mallas."
In the last 40 years, Mallas has coached men’s soccer, men’s baseball, tennis, wrestling and even bowling. In his coaching tenure, he earned coach of the year for men’s soccer in 1990, when the team secured the league championship. He was also an institutional part of the campuses baseball program, which he started in 1981. Two years later he helped cut out the infield for the team’s first on-campus field. He also took his bowling team to seven EPCC championships.
Mallas remained a coaching figure on campus until 2006 — over 25 years of coaching service at Penn State Scranton.
"His dedication to athletics reaches beyond the varsity level as Jeff has taught kinesiology courses each semester since 1981, up to six sections a year, including golf, bowling, basketball, fitness walking, and tennis," continued the nomination. "He also hosted a youth soccer summer camp from 1995-2009 on campus, a popular camp for young co-ed players from the area to learn the fundamentals of soccer.
"In addition to coaching and teaching, Mallas serves on both campus and conference committees. In the PSUAC he has served on committees for the last 18 years, including: Competition and Ethics; Tournament and Awards; Men’s Soccer; and is the chair of cross country, as well as serving as a USCAA liaison.
"He was an instrumental part of the Athletics Expansion Committee, where he, along with former coaches, student-athletes and community members he reached out to, donated funds to renovate the baseball and soccer fields, as well as to build the campus' first softball field, improving the facilities for future Penn State Student Athletes."
The Scranton campus awarded him the Gertrude Hawk Service Award for service to the students of Penn State in 1995 and the K. Bruce Sherbine Penn State Pride award in 2011. This past December marked his 39th year of service as an employee.
In his last 18 years Jeff has served as the campus athletic director, starting a new women’s soccer program; hiring new positions in the department, including a coordinator of athletic programs; re-instituted women’s basketball; and has given his all to the student athletes that have come through his door.
"In the community," the nomination read, "Jeff is well known by local high schools and young athletes as he has served as a PIAA referee for the last 25 years for girls’ and boys’ soccer and basketball.
"Jeff is more than an athletic director — he is a coach, a teacher, a father figure and a friend. He would call this a 'tour of his life' but we like to think of it as a giant piece of Penn State history that we can all be thankful for."