OTTUMWA — Molly Bolin Kazmer has received her share of accolades during her storied basketball career.
Kazmer, known as Moravia Molly VanBenthuyzen to Moravians who watched her play and nicknamed “Machine Gun” Molly when she played professional ball, has been inducted into the Iowa High School Basketball Hall of Fame, the Grand View College Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
But Kazmer, a native Canadian who moved to Moravia when she was in fifth grade, has never been honored by her high school — until now. On May 8, Moravia High School will honor Kazmer when it inducts her into the Moravia High School Wall of Fame at the high school gymnasium — the palette where she painted so many beautiful scenes on the basketball court.
Kazmer blazed a trail that today’s WNBA athletes would follow. She was the first woman to sign a professional women’s basketball contract to play in the new Women’s Basketball League; a task she performed in Iowa Gov. Robert Ray’s office in June 1978. She was invited to play in the 1978 U.S. Olympics but, because of a rule established by the Olympic Committee that barred pro athletes from the Olympics, she couldn’t compete. The rule was eventually scrapped in 1988.
Before she played professionall ball, Kazmer established an extremely impressive pedigree for herself at Moravia. Bolin’s career in Moravia is the story of a giant fish in a small pond. During a time when Iowa girls basketball still had a six-on-six scoring format, Bolin was dominant to the point of ridiculousness. She scored 70 points or more five times, posting a career-high 83 points in 1975. Kazmer ended her career with Mohawks averaging a Wilt Chamberlain-esque 54.8 points a game. Her glowing statistics got her selected second team all-state and first team all-conference on two occasions.