About Josef Molnar
The University of British Columbia was deeply saddened at the passing of Josef (Joe) Molnar on June 3, 2016 at the age of 91 years. Joe had deep roots at UBC, having served as the assistant coach of the UBC men’s soccer team for almost 30 years, between 1960 and 1989. He made a huge impression during his time at the university, and was an outstanding mentor to UBC soccer players.
Together with his wife and son, Joe came to Canada in 1957, having fled his native Hungary to escape the turmoil resulting from the uprising against the Soviet Union. They landed first in Halifax, before staying in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto and Nakusp, eventually settling in Nelson, BC, where Joe worked in construction to provide for his family. It was there that he had the fortune of playing soccer with Joe Johnson, who was soon to become head coach of the men’s soccer team at UBC.
Joe Molnar had a passion for “the beautiful game.” He was a skilled soccer player who had been a member of the world-renowned Hungarian national team, and a team-mate of the legendary Ferenc Puskas. Joe Johnson had recognized him—and his skill—during their time on the same field in Nelson. Once in post at UBC, he wasted no time in phoning Joe and offering him a job in the maintenance department and, of course, as an assistant coach for the soccer team. So Joe Molnar began his long association with UBC in this dual capacity. Despite his long residency in Canada, Josef’s use of English language was often very creative, but he was always able to make his point. His quips were legendary and continue to make people smile when remembering him.
Joe was married to his wife Elizabeth for 71 years. In 1989 they retired together to Kelowna where they assisted their grandson Joey and his wife Alanna, as they raised their young family. Joe loved his family, and had been extremely proud to have four great-grandchildren to share his retirement with. He will be missed by his family, friends and everyone who had the fortune to know him.
“Joe was absolutely passionate about the game of soccer, but even more so for the players around him. He worked hard to make us all better. ‘As you in a practice, as you in a game’ has been a part of me ever since we first met.”
“Joe Molnar played a special role in my life. For me and I’m sure for many of us, he was much more than a coach. He was a mentor and tremendous source of soccer knowledge and encouragement. We were all very fortunate to have Joe in our lives.”
The impact of your support
The Josef Molnar Memorial Award in Men’s Soccer has been established by Joe’s family and friends. With your support, we hope to endow the award, which is open to student athletes playing on the UBC Men’s varsity soccer team.
Joe made a huge impression at UBC and was a mentor to UBC soccer players for three decades. Your gift will pay tribute to his life and ensure his legacy lives on, by helping future generations of student athletes playing “the beautiful game.”
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