Ron Dunlap

While Ron Dunlap never played softball, he did go on to become one of the top umpires of the late 70s through the early 90s. That doesn’t mean that Dunlap doesn’t have a background in sports. In fact, he is a former second round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls who also played for the Phoenix Suns and the New York Nets in the NBA. He played in the ABA with the Rockford Royals, he played in the CBA, and played with Israel in the European Leagues. Ron Dunlap graduated from Farragut High School with a scholarship to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. At age 28 Ron Dunlap was offered an umpiring job in the Columbus Park Sunday Leagues in 1975. In 1976 he joined the ASA with Ed Bouchee. From 1981 to 1990 he umpired at all the major parks, including those in Cicero, Chicago Heights, Melrose Park, and many others. Dunlap joined the national umpiring scene from 1983 to 1990 when he worked USSSA games with John Mitchell, officiating at the World Softball Nationals in Indiana and Wisconsin. Besides umpiring in national tournaments, Ron Dunlap was a consistent presence behind the plate at Forest Park with Dave Novak from 1982 to 1990. Ron Dunlap’s philosophy of umpiring was simple: arrive on time, dress appropriately, and never be noticed because the fans aren’t there to see the umpire. He always treated players with respect and dignity regardless of their conduct. He believed that umpires should remain consistent in their calls and that they should hustle on every play. Ron Dunlap has been the principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Appleton, Wisconsin since 1990. He and his wife, Yvette, have two children, Patricia and Taylor and one grandson.