Sam Borozan, or Mr. NAU to those around the Northern Arizona community, died Thursday night. He was 90 years old.
The Bisbee native was a fixture in Flagstaff and the surrounding area as a longtime official and most knew him for the massive support he had for his alma mater through the years.
Borozan first came to Northern Arizona on a football scholarship after serving time in the United State Marine Corps. He graduated from Northern Arizona when it was called Arizona State College with a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1957 before going on to earn a master's degree in education administration and another master's in educational psychology.
Shortly after finishing his undergraduate degree, Borozan created the Borozan memorial scholarship in memory of his father.
It was hard to miss Mr. NAU at athletics events on campus. Camera in hand, he would often be on the sidelines taking photos, chatting with coaches or cheering on players. Borozan helped establish numerous scholarships at Northern Arizona, including a scholarship for the women’s soccer program in the early 2000s. He created the Coach Max Spilsbury Scholarship (1986) for Arizona high school football recruits. All while helping to create scholarships for athletes and non-athletes, he contributed funds to many facilities projects undertaken by Northern Arizona Athletics over the years.
Borozan held many roles when he returned to Northern Arizona as an employee, first working in the school’s financial aid office in 1970. He then found himself in the Northern Arizona alumni office before making his way over to athletics, where he remained until his retirement in 1992.
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Once he retired, Borozan spent most of the year in Tucson, leaving Flagstaff shortly after the end of the fall semester and returning once the next fall semester was set to start up again.
Borozan was a professor for about 20 years, teaching classes in the Health Sciences Department geared toward refereeing. Borozan impacted many people, but much of his influence can be seen in what he helped create within Lumberjacks athletics.
For his long-held support of the university, Northern Arizona Athletics inducted Borozan into the NAU Hall of Fame in 2004.
"Sam is a mental snapshot that generations of past student-athletes will carry with them forever," said Mike Marlow, Northern Arizona vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in a press release. "NAU Athletics is eternally grateful for the passion that Sam consistently exhibited proudly for his beloved Lumberjacks."
Outside of the university, Borozan worked as an official at all levels for over 50 years. A member of the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame as an umpire, Borozan officiated all sports at multiple levels for much of his life -- traveling across northern Arizona for games.
During retirement, Borozan was a common site in southern Arizona officiating softball and other sports.