|William Bate in his familiar stripes.|
The Utah High School Activities Association recently had the pleasure of notifying William Bate that he had been named the 2005 Girls Basketball Referee of the Year.
This honor was awarded by the National Federation of High School Officials. It was an honor well deserved for Bate who has been officiating for 35 years.
Bate was nominated for the tribute by his peers that work the games with him. Consistency, dedication and longevity are some of the qualities that made Bate an excellent choice for the honor.
Bate works games in the southeastern region. That area includes Blanding to the south and occasional trips up to the Uintah basin in the north. He referees both basketball and football games. He mainly handles the high school and junior high level now but in the past he worked some of the college games and officiated for state tournaments.
Bate stated that he got his start by refereeing recreation league games and then expanded to work the church league games. He then went on to join the high school officiating program and has been seen at games with his whistle ever since.
He enjoys officiating the basketball games the best, but they are the most difficult to do.
"Basketball requires many more split second decisions that the football games do," he stated.
He has seen several positive changes in basketball that have sped up the game in the past 35 years. The 3 point shot, team fouls, and the alternating possession rule have all had a positive influence on the game in Bate's opinion.
He continues to officiate because he enjoys being involved with youth and sports.
"When you're too old to play, then you officiate," Bate chuckled.
He does want to say that there is a shortage of officials for every sport. If someone is interested in being an official they can contact him and he will help get them to the right people to talk to.
"You don't need any experience, just a willingness to learn and be a bit in shape to keep up with the game," he said.
Bate is currently teaching physical education at Castle Heights Elementary School during the day.
"I get to do what I enjoy everyday," he said with a smile.