Deron Dolfi, a three-time All-American javelin thrower at Chadron State College in the late 1980s, and a highly successful educator in northwest Nebraska and South Carolina, died at his home at Murrells Inlet, S.C., on Monday, Nov. 25 following a year-long battle with cancer. He was 52.
Dolfi was born Oct. 12, 1967 at Bethel Park, Pa. He came to Chadron State from Pennsylvania in the fall of 1985 and competed in the javelin for the Eagles four years.
The javelin was Dolfi’s only event and he made the most of it. His best marks still rank first, third, fourth and fifth on the Eagles’ all-time javelin list: 206-8 in 1986, 206-1 in 1987, 205-6 in 1989 and 204-10 in 1988.
Dolfi was the NAIA District 11 (Nebraska) Track and Field Meet champion three times, winning in 1986 with his record 206-8 throw, in 1987 at 192-6 and in 1988 at 197-11. In 1989 he was second at districts to teammate Danny Moore. He also placed at the NAIA National Meet three times, finishing eighth in 1987 at 194-0, third in 1988 at 204-1 and sixth in 1989 at 199-3, gaining All-American honors each year. The placing his junior year was the highest by a Chadron State athlete at a national track and field meet at that time.
Besides the three district championships, he was first in the javelin at 11 other meets during his career. He was inducted into the Chadron State College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Possessing a charismatic personality, Dolfi was well-known on campus. One of his activities was serving as the public address announcer at basketball games. He got the crowd “into the games,” to say the least.
Frequently an honor student, Dolfi earned his bachelor’s degree in 1989 and his master’s degree in 1993, both from CSC. After initially teaching and coaching in Rushville, Dolfi was assistant principal at Alliance Middle School for five years before becoming the principal at Alliance High School in 2003.
During his time in Nebraska, the program he developed to reward students who had no discipline referrals was recognized across the state. While at Rushville, he was selected to coach a girls’ team in the Panhandle Prep all-star basketball game. He also officiated high school football for 12 years and was a member of the officiating crew for the Nebraska Shrine Bowl in 2007.
That also was the year he was named Nebraska’s Region 5 Principal of the Year and he and his wife Kelli, also a Chadron State graduate, and stepdaughter Tia moved to South Carolina. He became assistant principal at Myrtle Beach High that autumn and two years later was named assistant principal at nearby St. James High School. In 2015-16, St. James High was selected “Palmetto’s Finest,” recognizing it as the outstanding high school in South Carolina.