Not everybody knows that some of our local coaches are also referees when their sport of choice is not in season.
For example, Mexico varsity football coach and assistant track coach Steve Haag works as a wrestling official in the winter. Bulldogs varsity baseball and boys basketball assistant coach Dion Nunnelly also helps lay down the on-field law and order every fall on the gridiron.
That means not being able to sit back and take in Friday night the same way many other Mexico alum choose to. But, the fact some people enjoy the action so much that they find a way to be involved all season long is a statement in itself.
"My friend Jim Jeffries called me one day and asked me if I would be interested in becoming a football official. I've been refereeing for about nine years now," said Nunnelly. "I've also coach travel baseball and basketball for about eight years now. In the Mexico school system I coached seventh grade boys basketball the past two years and now I'm the varsity assistant boys basketball coach. I've also been a Bulldogs baseball assistant coach for four years."
While currently Nunnelly is a 42-year old class of '94 Mexico grad, his first move out of high school was to accept a scholarship to play basketball at Missouri Valley College in Marshall. This came after a prep career that included not only hoops, but baseball and football, as well.
"I worked at National Refractories once I got out of school, which was located in Mexico," Nunnelly said. "I now have a job at the Harbison and Walker brick plant in Vandalia."
As for why Nunnelly coaches and officiates, some of those motivations are right on the surface for all to see, but not all of them. Certainly not the most important ones. Instead, those main motivators have to be said since they can't be seen, and while the number of people he wants to acknowledge for all they've done for him in regards to his coaching existence are many, somehow he still remembers them all.
"I'd like to thank Ed Costley, Darren Pappas, Greg Buescher and Jeff Anderson for giving me the opportunity to coach basketball, and Keith Louder and Kyle Louder for the chance to coach baseball," Nunnelly said. "I'm truly grateful that. I always told my family growing up that I wanted to be a basketball or baseball coach, and my dream came true. I truly believe my calling is working with kids."