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CHAPEL HILL –Three outstanding individuals from the world of high school officiating are being honored with an award for lifetime achievement.
Russell Ward of Elizabeth City, Brad Allen of Fayetteville and Ron Sebastian of Garner are recipients of the third annual Golden Whistle Merit Award, created in a partnership among the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) and the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA).
Criteria for the award include demonstrating leadership, performance, service and training for the betterment of officiating, possessing officiating abilities emulated by fellow officials, being regarded as a person of integrity and character, and a minimum of 10 years of experience as an active official.
This year’s recipients of the Golden Whistle Merit Award include:
Russell Ward called his first high school game in North Carolina in 1972 and has been very active in the officiating community since then. A member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Hall of Fame, he officiated in the CIAA from 1976 to ’92 and for the past 10 years has run a camp in Elizabeth City for training and developing officials. Currently an advisor and observer for the CIAA, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Northeast Officials Association for high school officials, Ward also teaches sports officiating classes at Elizabeth City State University.
Brad Allen is a basketball, football and baseball official in the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association while also serving as an accomplished collegiate official. He is a current Atlantic Coast Conference referee and crew chief and worked the 2007 Motor City Bowl and the 2009 International Bowl. Allen has worked NCHSAA championships in football, baseball and basketball and serves as the clinic leader and booking supervisor for officials in the Southern Officials Association, serving Robeson County and all of its recreation programs.
Ron Sebastian has an amazing record as an NCHSAA official, including over 40 years in basketball and baseball and over 20 years in volleyball and softball. He has been an NCHSAA baseball booking agent for over 30 years and has officiated multiple state championships in baseball and basketball. In addition, he has been an Atlantic Coast Conference umpire 40 years and has worked the ACC tournament 16 times. He has also been an umpire in the NCAA Division I baseball regionals 13 times, the super regional on five occasions and once in the College World Series.
“These three are truly representative of excellence and leadership in officiating,” said Mark Dreibelbis, supervisor of officials for the NCHSAA. “We are extremely proud to honor these individuals who have demonstrated sacrifice and commitment.”