Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 13

Winslow turns out top officials along with star athletes

When one thinks of sports in Winslow, the tendency is to think of exceptional players such as Mike Madeo, Isaac Bonds, Claude Renfro, Anna Van and Stephanie Garnett just to name a few.

This community has produced some talented athletes and the list here is just the tip of the ice berg so to speak.

One could write several pages on the athletes this town has viewed with pride and awe and we should never forget those men and women and their accomplishments.

There is another group, though, that also deserve recognition.

Winslow has produced more than its share of proficient and respected sports officials. Again, the list will probably not be comprehensive enough to include all who have served in this capacity.

Indeed, memory will probably fail and some of the finest umpires and referees will be omitted.

Hopefully, it will suffice to say that by remembering those who are mentioned we will be calling up memories of those deserving ones who were not mentioned.

Some who made their names as coaches or athletes also served or still serve as sports officials.

Legendary Winslow High School football coach Emil Nasser was an excellent referee of basketball games, calling both high school and college games.

He served many years as area commissioner and recruited, assigned and evaluated other officials. He also umpired baseball and probably officiated all sports in some fashion.

Other coaches who served as referees or umpires were Art Griffith, Ellis McIntosh, Ted Wilcox, B.J. Little, Don Petranovich and Carl Weatherton. The late Clyde Gardner served many years as the clock operator for Winslow High School basketball games.

One of the best and most often used umpires for all summer baseball games was Pojo Powell. He was one of the best ball and strike umpires you would ever want to see.

Clyde McGlothlin was another Winslow citizen whose name was almost synonymous with umpire. Doug Simpson is a name that is also mentioned when one talks about Winslow umpires.

Former star athletes who referee and umpire would include such people as Gary Calhoun, Dennis Laur, David Sedillo and Quinton Hayes. There are probably many more athletes who belong on that list. The ladies who have done such duty would include Lexie Pugh, one of the best female umpires you would ever want to see.

The Hancock family has produced more than its share of fine officials. Jeff and Gene Hancock are both excellent baseball umpires. It is likely that the rest of the family is equally talented and willing to serve their community in this capacity.

Buddy Pate was an excellent basketball official. He was also a talented athlete and one of an amazing number of Winslow golfers capable of playing with the best the state had to offer. His frequent partner in the sixties was local business man Johnny Pyatt, a former NFL player with the Washington Redskins.

James Dupree was an official of the highest integrity. He was also one who was willing to work with youths who wanted to learn the profession and did much to build their confidence ant help them improve.

When one who has been around this area since the sixties thinks of officials, it would be difficult to omit some of the finest basketball referees ever to wear the zebra shirts.

Frank Greer from Heber and Tim Storms from Lakeside/Pinetop were a team that was really fun to watch at work. They were as knowledgeable of the rule book, as skilled in administering those rules and as fair as anyone could expect.

Of course, one should never forget the late Lupe Acevedo, a great basketball player and just as good an official.

His brother Mannie must be in his eighties now, but he is still taking his turn behind the plate at high school softball games.

The most notable umpire of this region was probably the late John Barrow from Holbrook. Barrow devoted his life to baseball and spent over 50 years umpiring high school and little league games.

There are probably men in Winslow who played games umpired by Barrow who have grandfathers who shared that experience. Now that is what devotion to a sport is all about.

These were all good people who served an under appreciated but vital function for this part of the state.

Many listed here are no longer among us. Some are still going out there every time they are called upon to serve.

When you see them, tell them, "Thank you." And if you call them "Ref" or "Ump" or "Blue," say it with respect. They have earned it.

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