West Virginia referees make state tournament history as first all-black officiating crew

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Wednesday night a group of referees from the Kanawha Southern Officiating Board made state history as the first all-black officiating crew to officiate a high school state basketball tournament.

“We want to be remembered as three very good officials and that overshadows everything else. yes to be the first African American crew is great but I want people to say that LaKeisha Brown, Steve Robinson, Clarence Woody they were three very good officials very good at what they did,” says 36-year-WVSSAC-veteran, Clarence Woody.

To officiate the State Tournament is to also be recognized as one of the top 20 officials in the state of West Virginia. To be chosen is the highest honor whether it’s your 13th tournament like Woody or your first like Barron-Brown and Robinson.

Courtesy: WV Sports Photograpy

“I was a nervous wreck, more so that I don’t want to be the one to mess up for these guys,” says Steven Robinson.

The trio hopes their success only inspires others and paves the way for kids and even adults in their community.

“This will give the encouragement to say hey I think I can do this and I hope we as a three have set that president for anyone who has been thinking about it or just have doubt in general that they can’t do something you can do anything you can put your mind to and I think that’s what we’ve done over the 36 years 12 years and 6 years,” says Barron-Brown.

While the three are making history together Lakeisha Barron-Brown is scoring another spot in the history books as the first black female to officiate the state basketball tournament.

“Hopefully this experience that I have gained will allow other children in the community to look up to me but it’s not them looking up to me it’s about me reaching out to them to make sure if I see something I can assist them with I will do that as well,” Barron-Brown adds.

The three agree that although they are aware they made history – they hope to be remembered for their hard work because on the court everyone’s stripes are the same colors.

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