Wadesboro resident Elwood Greene Jr. was recently recognized for his 45 years of refereeing volleyball, basketball and football.
Greene was awarded the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award by the Metrolina Football Officials Association on Aug. 12 and the Lawrence Izzard Award by the Metrolina Basketball Officials Association. He was also given an award for his service refereeing volleyball by the Triad Volleyball Officials Association on Aug. 18.
He first began his career in 1968 when he attended the Al Somers Umpire School (renamed the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School in 1977) in Daytona Beach. Greene began his career as a professional baseball umpire in Florida in 1968, then continued as a football referee later that year out of Fayetteville, S.C., through the Southeast Athletic Officials Association.
Greene began officiating basketball in the 1968-69 season through the Carolina Basketball Officials Association based in Concord. When Carolinas disbanded he went to the Southeastern Athletic Officials Assocation before working for Metrolina in the 1984-85 season until his recent retirement.
He first began officiating baseball while still in school in 1960 for Little League games for $3 per game. He then officiated for professional baseball for four years from 1968-72 before officiating for college and high school baseball. In 1972, he began officiating volleyball for the Triad Volleyball Officials Association in Mocksville, N.C.
In 1983, Greene worked the State 4-A Football Championship game in Greensboro between Douglas High School in Fayetteville and Page High School from Greensboro. While he never worked a state baseball game, he did work the state basketball game in 2000 in Zebulon, N.C. between Apex High School and Richmond Senior High School from Rockingham at the 5-County Stadium.
Greene also used to assign officials for Anson County sports for the Anson County Basketball Association. Each community had middle school basketball teams that he would officiate or assign officials for. He did the same for Anson County Parks and Recreation games, as well as for college baseball games for Wingate University, Pembroke State University (renamed UNC Pembroke in 1996), St. Andrews Presbyterian College (renamed St. Andrews University in 2011), and Francis Marion College (renamed Francis Marion University in 1992) in Florence, S.C.
Now, Greene is retired — mostly. While he no longer officiates for football, baseball, softball or basketball, he still does referee for Triad Volleyball. He retired from Metrolina this year, partially due to breaking his leg on Sept. 23, 2011 while officiating a football game.
Over his career, Greene has officiated for approximately 4,500 games, he said. “I’ve been living out of my suitcase for all of my life, just about, going place to place,” he said. He chose his career because of his love of sports. “I just liked it — I wanted to be around the game. My favorite games [to officiate] are basketball, then football, then baseball, but I just like them all.”