Joe 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 10 years ago 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.
To this day, he remains a familiar and friendly face around the Athletic Department and is highly involved in the success of the Penguin Club. For his continuous contributions he is being honored as the 2005 Penguin of the Year.
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. That still ranks as the last time the four-time national-title winning program has won a conference crown.
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 a Division I-AA Independent during his tenure.
Prior to the 1986 football season, he made the shrewd move of hiring Ohio State assistant coach Jim Tressel to take over the Youngstown State football program. In 1987, the Penguins made the Division I-AA Playoffs for the first time. In 1989, YSU won its first Division I-AA postseason game and in 1990 rolled through the regular season unbeaten in 11 games only to lose in the first round of the playoffs.
In 1991, the Penguins won their first Division I-AA National Championship beating Marshall 25-17 capping an improbable end to the season by winning eight straight games. 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 resulting 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 implemented a model drug testing system for the department.
He also increased department revenues to accommodate a self-supporting scholarship system and to cover all department expenditures.
During his tenure, Malmisur also served on the Division I-AA Championship Committee as the Chairman of the Central Region (1991 and 1992).
After he left the Athletic Department, he served as the Director of the Penguin Club and was a Member of the University Development Council. Even today, after leaving those positions in the late 1990's, Malmisur is still involved and maintains a high level of enthusiasm towards the Athletic Department.
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, in 1992, he was elected to the East High School Hall of Fame and in 1995, he was inducted in the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame as a contributor. 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. Also, Malmisur was an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and served as a fund raiser and recruiter for the school.
He brought with him a long list of sporting credentials and was involved in numerous civic functions.
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 began his head coaching career as the football coach at Wellston (Ohio) High School, coaching 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.
He has been involved as a coach or administrator for more than 50 years having coached championship teams on the collegiate and high school level. As an administrator, he helped lead YSU to the 1991 and 1993 National Championships and the finals in 1992.
Malmisur received a degree in education from Heidelberg in 1951 and later earned a Master's from Bowling Green 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.
Joe and his wife, Olga D., are the parents of two children, son Joseph, and a daughter Martha. Joe and Olga D. have eight grandchildren.