Two local sports officials honored by AHSAA

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Players and coaches aren’t the only ones who receive praise and accolades after a successful season. Each year the state’s finest officials are honored as well.

This year two local will be recognized at the annual Alabama High School Athletic Association Officials Awards Banquet to be held August 5, at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel.

Bruce Mathews will be honored as this year’s AHSAA Baseball Official of the Year. Tracy Deal, a resident of Banks, will be recognized as the Southeast District Football Official of the Year.

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“I am very humbled by it,” Mathews, who has been officiating baseball games for 15 years said. “I am honored. I’ve been (officiating) a long time, I love it.”

Both Mathews and Deal found out about their selection by letter from the association but it wasn’t long before they began receiving calls.

“I’ve had several guys call or bring it up,” Mathews said. “Knowing how many good officials there are in the state makes it that much more special.”

Mathews also serves as the president of his officiating association, the Southeast Alabama Baseball Umpires Association, and was selected as the Southeast District Baseball Official of the Year which put him in the running for the statewide award selected by the AHSAA.

Deal, who has been calling games for 28 years, said he was honored as well.

“I don’t care how you look at it, it is an honor,” Deal said. “We are one of the largest districts in the state and have a lot of excellent football officials in our association. You have to feel proud to represent them.”

Deal has served as a district officials camp instructor for several years and has been state camp instructor for 20 years.

Mathews was one of eight baseball officials nominated for the state award. He estimated there were approximately 300-500 baseball officials in the state.