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Jackson's Richard Kalahar Receives Norris Award
Richard Kalahar, flanked by MHSAA Executive Director Jack Roberts (left) and Vern Norris (right).

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Richard Kalahar of Jackson was honored as the 1999 recipient of the Vern L. Norris Award by the Michigan High School Athletic Association at its 20th Annual Officials' Awards and Alumni Banquet Saturday evening, April 10, at the Sheraton Lansing Hotel.

In his 39th year as a registered official, Kalahar has been selected to officiate at the MHSAA boys and girls basketball finals six times, most recently the 1999 Boys Basketball Final in Class D on March 27. Currently a teacher in the Parma Western School District, he is a registered official in boys and girls basketball.

Voted the Jackson Area Officials Association (JAOA) Official of the Year, Kalahar has been instrumental in improving the level of officiating in Jackson. Kalahar devotes extra time after JAOA meetings to help new officials with technique and answer questions or concerns they might have. He developed a detailed official's evaluation form for Jackson-area coaches to fill out in addition to watching many officials throughout the regular season. He is on the board of directors for the Jackson Southwest Little League, manager of Little League facilities and has been an instructor at MHSAA officials camps. Kalahar also takes time to visit Jackson-area high schools and speak about sportsmanship and officiating.

The Norris Award is presented annually to an official with more than 20 years of experience who has been active in their local officials association, has mentored other officials, and been involved in officials education. It is named for Vern L. Norris, who was executive director of the MHSAA from 1978-86. Kalahar was nominated by Greg Putra of the Jackson Area Officials Association.

Previous recipients of the Norris Award are:
1992 - Ted Wilson, East Detroit
1993 - Fred Briggs, Burton
1994 - Joe Brodie, Flat Rock
1995 - Jim Massar, Flint
1996 - Jim Lamoreaux, St. Ignace
1997 - Ken Myllyla, Escanaba
1998 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo