SFU Alumnae makes PIAA history during Women's History Month
Sarah Rebar Fye, 2004 Chemistry major, is the first female to officiate a boys championship basketball game.
Loretto, PA (03/31/2022) — In this year's celebration of Women's History Month, Saint Francis University shares the story of a talented 2004 Chemistry alumnae and former SFU student-athlete who made PIAA history this month.
On March 24, 2022, Sarah Rebar Fye became the first female to officiate a boys championship basketball game in the storied history of PIAA basketball, with championships dating back to 1920. She officiated Bishop Canevin's 64-47 win over St. John Neumann Regional Academy in the PIAA Class 1A title game as part of a team with Wally Reimer and Dave Blair.
The video below released by the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) and PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) highlights the historic moment.
Fye began making history at the young age of 10 as only the third girl to play Little League in her hometown of Ramey, PA in 1992. She developed into a standout volleyball, basketball, and softball player at Moshannon Valley High School before graduating in 2000. During her senior year, she signed a national letter of intent to attend Saint Francis University and play NCAA Division I softball. Playing both second and third base and shortstop, she started in her first year and became team captain as a senior.
Even with the busy schedule of training, practicing, competing, and traveling for softball, she completed a rigorous academic program in chemistry/secondary education. One of her professors and now Dean of the School of STEAM at the university, Dr. Peter Skoner, reflected that "Sarah was able to manage a demanding academic program on top of a demanding athletics schedule. Even when missing classes for traveling to games, especially during the spring semester, she was always in control paying attention to details, meeting deadlines, studying, and as a result excelling as a student-athlete."
Her Saint Francis University graduation in 2004 built upon a legacy following her grandfather and aunt from earlier years. Another part of the legacy is her mother Patricia who worked as a Medical Laboratory Technician at Altoona Hospital. Patricia followed Sarah on SFU fields and courts while continuing her own education, graduating in 2010 with her BS degree. As her mother was fighting a battle with cancer that she eventually lost, Fye reflected "She was so positive all the time and my hero. She made me always realize the more important things in life."
After college, Sarah accepted a teaching position at Tussey Mountain High School in Bedford County. Having passed her PIAA Basketball Official examination, she joined the local PIAA District 5 official's organization. After two years, she accepted her current high school chemistry position at Clearfield High School, where she has been for 13 years. She has excelled there, using any new technology available to increase learning and prepare students for college career paths using chemistry. Though teaching in a school at the southern edge of District 9, and living in a city on the eastern edge of District 6, she maintained her membership in District 5 to the south which has made for many late-night, winter drives south for a game and northeast to go home. At times, she would also accept assignments in districts 6 and 9 as needed. In 2016 after officiating high school girls and boys basketball, she began officiating women's college basketball at the Division III level. Three years later, she began officiating Division II women's PSAC games. Fye officiated her first boys' basketball game in 2011, working a tip-off tournament game between Belleville Mennonite and Fannett-Metal.
She was encouraged by many along the way including her co-teacher at Clearfield Dave Wright, who is also the Statewide Basketball Rules Interpreter for the PIAA. She had been an alternate and a rules evaluator at states after she officiated her first PIAA championship game - the girls' Class 1A final between Cardinal Wuerl and Lourdes Regional in 2016.
Dr. Skoner told Fye that he got chills when he saw her news and witnessed her poise, confidence, communication, and game management skills. Fye told him that she cried when she received the assignment from Patrick Gebhart and Dr. Robert Lombardi of the PIAA. SFU congratulates Sarah Rebar Fye on this well-deserved accomplishment.
About Saint Francis University
Saint Francis University (www.francis.edu) in Loretto, PA is the oldest Catholic-Franciscan college in the United States. Its mission is to help students grow into compassionate, successful professionals through a culture of faith, generosity, respect, discovery, and joy.