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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Boardman resident embraced to work as ACC football official

BEAVER TOWNSHIP – The upcoming college football season is the 31st for Boardman Resident and Atlantic Coast Conference Officer Rob Luklan.

With 24 years of experience at Division I level, the 2022 season is also his 10th as a back-up judge in one of the Power-5 conferences, a league that boasts two – Clemson University has both – national championships over the past six years.

Luklan handled several rush-hour games during his college tenure, noting the no. 1 prescription from his bosses and the NCAA remains the safety of all players.

“As an official, game management is great, but safety for players is extremely important,” he told the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center. “The NCAA also places the emphasis on no teasing and I could no longer agree. “Spotting out of the game helps with game management while high hits, especially those that occur close to the head, are something that officials always stray on the side of safety.”

Fans can once again expect several rule changes in 2022, one of which is the NCAA’s proposal to allow blocking below the waist, but only for inline men.

A veteran of 14 post-season assignments – Luklan’s most recent match was the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on December 30 when Purdue defeated Tennessee 48-45 in overtime – his team also beat the ACC’s first female official at the field welcomed to Karina Tovar, a field judge.

“The Atlantic Coast Conference added their first female officer last season and I had the honor of working with her when she was appointed to our crew. She is an excellent official who really knows the game, “ Added Luklan, who worked 267 Division I games – in addition to the ACC, he also worked in the Big Ten and Mid-American conferences – and 330 overall when he added his time at the Ohio Athletics Conference. “I feel great and would like to stay on the field as long as possible. When the time comes to stop it, I will definitely consider becoming a repeat officer. ”

Of the 64 teams consisting of Power-5 conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – Luklan has yet to be assigned to just 11 of those teams.

The off-season for college officials is anything but downtime.

“I will get my assignments for the upcoming season in June, then in July, the league will house all officials for a three-day clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Luklan said. “Current and former NFL field officials come in to teach us a variety of things to expect as we go through physical agility tests, written tests, and hours of gameplay. The days are long and last more than 14 hours, but it’s all done to prepare us for the coming season. Dennis Hennigan is our director of officials, is excellent in his work and does a fantastic job of training us. ”

Luklan, who has already worked two spring matches – Syracuse on April 1 and Pitt on April 9 – is also starting his 10th season as ACC link for Pitt University’s practices this year. He has also handled Wednesday practice for the Cleveland Browns for the past 12 seasons and was called up for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ midweek practice last year.

“My responsibility with Pitt is to make sure I take care of the coach. [Pat] Narduzzi’s needs, “ he declared. “I will coordinate their training days and times to make sure they have officers while other ACC officers are also assigned a team to assist in their practices and needs. With the Browns and Steelers, they need officials so they can reduce their game day miscues. ”

Luklan’s official career began at the age of 23 when he worked area collegiate games for the Youngstown Football Officials Association.

Five years later, he was elected as the officials of the Ohio Athletics Conference, and works under the guidance and direction of the then supervisor of officials and local resident, Dr. Larry Glass.

“I consider Dr. Glass my mentor,” Luklan noted. “He had patience with me, always gave me guidance and guidance and I can not thank him enough for everything he did to advance my career.”

In addition to Glass and Hennigan, Luklan gives credit to former NFL official Dick Creed, fellow OAC officials Brian Meenachan and crew chief Ken Swanson, MAC and ACC replay officer Jim Visingardi, who joined Monday’s meeting, Big Ten. officials Tom Krispinsky and Julius Livas, former Big Ten and NFL supervisor of officials Bob Walker and area high school principals of officials, the late Fred Vicarel, Mike Butch, the late Dutch Miller and John Mang as other instrumental in advancing his career.


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