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Enshrined : 2014
Central Football Officials
Paul Zukis first donned the stripes in 1977, becoming a member of the Central Connecticut Approved Football Officials. Little did he know at the time it would begin a decades-long journey that would bring him to some of the most historic venues in the game's history.
Like many who start to officiate, the first years were spent learning the craft, getting to understand the rules, and honing one's mechanics. To those who mentored Zukis, they could see something special in him and saw that he was a student of the game.
For 22 years he worked as a member of the CCAFO, working two CIAC playoff contests and becoming one of the top referees in the association, earning the respect of coaches and fellow officials.
In 1989 he was recommended and accepted as a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials as a referee, and became known as a quick study, transitioning from the high school to the college rules. During those early years he worked two NCAA playoff games at the Division II and III levels, and in 1997 was recommended to become a Division I official.
Those were years of transition, and Zukis was picked up by the Colonial-Ivy-Patriot (CIP) staff and became known as a quiet leader, using example as a means of getting his crews ready for contests.
He has worked two NCAA Div. I-AA (now called FCS) First Round contests and one FCS Semi-final, Appalachian State v. Montana, that was played in sub-zero weather. In his career he has been chosen to work on Yale-Harvard game and on Lehigh-Lafayette contest.
Known for his organizational skills, he was elected treasurer of the EAIFO-CT Chapter in 2001, a position he still retains.
This year, Zukis has decided to make the move from the field to the press box, becoming a member of the American Athletic Conference replay staff.
Professionally an educator, Zukis worked for the Bristol School System for 36 years as a teacher and then a guidance counselor before his retirement.
He has been married to his wife, Shirley for 37 years, and the couple has two children, Marshall and Erin.