By John Kovach
The area sports scene lost a popular and colorful statistician, reporter and baseball umpire with the passing of Paul “Scooter” Trgovac, 53, on Thursday.
Trgovac, a 1974 Austintown Fitch graduate who lived in Youngstown but considered Campbell his home, wore many hats in area sports, including being a correspondent for The Vindicator, a high school and sandlot umpire and rules interpreter.
But professionally, Trgovac basically was considered a pure statistician who worked primarily area baseball, football and basketball games and as a free-lance regional statistician for ESPN. He worked Youngstown State basketball and football games for ESPN, as well as other area professional sports events.
He also served as a statistician for Youngstown Pride and Cleveland Cavaliers games, and for ESPN at the LPGA tournament when it came to Squaw Creek Country Club and Avalon Lakes.
“Scooter had a mathematical mind and in the stat business, that is both a blessing and a curse,” recalled Greg Gulas, former YSU sports information director, author and a correspondent for The Vindicator. “He was always one step ahead of the play whether it was in the football press box; as an umpire on the baseball diamond or courtside doing the statistics and public address, simultaneously for a basketball game. His knowledge of the three major sports was unparalleled.”
“He loved his numbers,” said Rick Love, associate athletic director at YSU, who worked recently with Trgovac.
“Back on Jan. 22, YSU hosted Wisconsin-Milwaukee game on ESPNU as part of the Horizon League deal with ESPN, and ‘Scooter’ was the head statistician hired by ESPN. He was a regional statistician. He also did last year’s game.”
Love said Trgovac “made the transition well from pencils and long-hand [statistical recording] to computers and eventually television.”
Ron “Red” Baker, the Class B League baseball announcer, said Trgovac was an important fixture at Cene Park games.
“Scooter was the chief Class B statistician and he sat next to me during the games. He also was a rules interpreter for the umpires and they would come up to him if they made mistakes on occasions, and he would give me a printout of the rules in some cases so that they could read it. He was very knowledgeable in that area,” said Baker.
“He also would collect baseball trivia and bring it in to a game and give me some game notes and I used to announce it during the game,” said Baker.
Trgovac also was statistician and reporter for Campbell Memorial High, and was succeeded in that job by his daughter, Bobbie, a Memorial graduate, and one of three children by “Scooter” and his wife Joan.
In fact, being a statistician was indeed a family affair in the Trgovac household, as both of his sons, Mark and Phil, also are statisticians, including with the Class B League. Mark also is a Campbell graduate, Phil a Woodrow Wilson alumnus.
Brian Danilov, the Campbell basketball coach, said that he is enduring a double loss with the recent passing of his mother and now Trgovac,
“They’ve both got the best seats in the house,” he said. “That’s what I tell myself. It’s been hard for me to look up in the stands for awhile.”
Gulas also said Trgovac was an outstanding bowler.
“His one game total was my three-game set,” said Gulas.