By Matt Popchock


Malcolm “Mac” Prine, who lost his life less than a year ago, was part of an ownership group that saved baseball in Pittsburgh long before any of us had heard the name Kevin McClatchy. Not all of us may remember, however, that he was also an amateur sports official for over 30 years.

In addition to his Division I service to the MAC, Prine was a longtime WPIAL football referee. In fact, Prine, out of his own pockets, created the West Penn Football Officials Association Scholarship. He continued to supply funds for the scholarship beyond its advent, with the association routinely chipping in a significant amount of money as well.

According to local football referee and WPFOA co-director Jim Bulger, it was recently discovered that one of Prine’s life insurance policies was intended to foot the bill for the scholarship fund. This latest development will allow the WPFOA to increase the number of scholarships awarded annually.

The WPFOA Scholarships, Bulger adds, were intended for WPIAL football players who might be overlooked, as opposed to highly-touted college prospects already expected to receive a full ride. He says each will be awarded to someone who “is an excellent student; is a leader to his football team; is a model citizen in his community; and has demonstrated a financial need for the scholarship.”

The 2012 winners were Dominic Gibson, a wide receiver/free safety for Uniontown, and Alex Ocilka, an offensive lineman for Elizabeth Forward last fall. Gibson will use the money to seek a law degree at Washington & Jefferson, while Ocilka is majoring in computer engineering at Penn State.

“I want more folks to know about this,” Bulger said. “I want them to know what a selfless thing Mac did.”

Those wanting more information about these scholarships can contact Bulger at

(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)

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