Archery Industry Mourns Norb Mullaney

On Oct. 22 at age 94, legendary archery engineer and equipment evaluator, Norb Mullaney, passed away. He will be missed throughout the entire archery industry.
Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin

Author: Cassie Scott

Wisconsin’s Norb Mullaney, a legendary archery engineer and equipment evaluator, died Oct. 22 at age 94. Mullaney is in the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Safari Club International’s Hall of Fame.

Mullaney served nearly two decades as chairman of the Technical Committee for the Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization, the forerunner to the Archery Trade Association. His committees established unprecedented consistency and exactness for the industry’s manufacturing guidelines.

Jay McAninch, the ATA’s CEO/president, praised Mullaney for his many years of professional work in the archery industry.

“Icons in archery and bowhunting come in all types,” McAninch said. “Some have big personalities, some bring loads of charisma, some make great achievements, some win many hard-earned trophies, and some provide service and leadership in various organizations. Norb Mullaney was a unique icon who made substantial contributions quietly and consistently. The essence of Norb’s work is found in the equipment we all shoot and enjoy, no matter its style or brand name. It’s all the work of Norb Mullaney.”

Mullaney earned numerous awards for his work and achievements throughout his 50-plus years in the archery and bowhunting industry. Photo Credit: Archery Hall of Fame and Museum

Mullaney’s work, knowledge and understanding of archery equipment was unprecedented. McAninch calls him a “mechanical-engineer extraordinaire,” and a genius in understanding how archery equipment worked.

Mullaney’s biography on the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum webpage notes that he was inducted in 2002. He held an undergraduate and graduate degree in mechanical engineering and industrial design.

Mullaney worked in the outdoor industry nearly 50 years. He was recognized as a world authority on bow design and performance, and is best known for his technical expertise on archery equipment. The lifelong hunter and bowhunting enthusiast wrote over 230 technical articles that discussed the mechanical aspects of bows and arrows for Bowhunting World and Archery Business magazines, and many other publications.

Besides serving on the ATA’s Technical Committee, Mullaney was chairman of the Safety and Standards Subcommittee and the American Society for Testing and Materials Subcommittee for Archery Products for over 15 years. He also spent time as an instructor for the International Bowhunting Education Program and the Master Coach School of the National Field Archery Association.

Norb Mullaney (right) frequented archery events and regularly interacted with exhibitors and attendees. He’s pictured here at the 2011 ATA Trade Show with two gentlemen from Oneida Bows. Photo Credit: Archery Talk user Big Country

McAninch said Mullaney’s accomplishments will be admired and missed.

“Norb’s passing marks the end of an era,” McAninch said. “He was old-school, and dedicated his life to archery and bowhunting without concern for compensation. He was one of a kind. Everyone relied on him to get the engineering aspects of their equipment right.”

Mullaney was buried Oct. 29 at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee. Memorials in his name can be made to the Wingman Foundation, 603 W115th St. STE 243, New York, NY 10025; or the NAVY SEAL Foundation, 1619 D St., Virginia Beach, VA 23459.

Read Mullaney’s full obituary here.

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