Special Recognition


Don Woodward

Being an official is a tough and thankless job. For 46 years, Don ìWoodyî Woodward did it at a high level and with class.

Originally from Masontown, PA, Woodward was part of Albert Gallatin High Schoolís first graduating class in 1961. He was also a standout end/defensive back on the football team and was elected to the All-County and All-State teams.


Chuck Muncie  

I attended Salem College for a semester, and I went out to Northwest Missouri State for a semester,î Woodward said. ìCollege wasn't for me, so I went to the school of hard knocks and became a salesman.î

Woodward moved to Washington, DC in 1962 and was there until 1969. He left Washington and moved to Davidsville, PA and got a job with Potter McCune company as a salesman. He was transferred to Fayette County in 1971.

ìI had moved to Davidsville-Hollsopple and I came home one night from work,î Woodward recalled. ìThe football stadium was about a block from my house. I came into my house and told my wife I was going over to see the football game. I would go to all of the home games at Conemaugh Township the first year I was up there. The second year, I held the first down sticks on the sideline, probably the second or third game of the year I came home one night and told my wife I'm going to become an official, and she said what for? I did it because I didn't like what I was seeing. I applied for the test and took the test, and I got transferred to Western Pennsylvania. That was in 1971.î

Woodward began officiating youth and junior high football in 1971 and steadily moved up the ranks as a PIAA licensed official. Woodward worked 30 years of college football and refereed over 300 college varsity games through the Tri-State Officials Association. Working mainly NCAA Division II and III games, Woodward was the referee at the 1998 NCAA Division II National Championship game between Northwest Missouri State and Carson-Newman in Florence, AL.

ìWhen I started officiating, I had no idea what it would turn into,î Woodward stated. ìI had a great career.î

Woodward has received several honors for his officiating, including being named the Tri-State Official of the Year in 2001 and by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1999. He was awarded the Bill Christy Memorial Award Excellence in Officiating by the Tri-County Coaches in 2010 and was honored by the PIAA for 35 years of service. Woodward was inducted into the W.P.I.A.L. Hall of Fame in the class of 2013 as a contest official. He was also honored for his service by the Laurel Basketball Officials Chapter in 2010.

ìI'm so pleased with the honors,î Woodward stated. ìThe WPIAL puts an official in their group each year and it's quite an honor to be recognized by your peers for what you've done.î

Woodward worked over 500 high school varsity football games in his 41 years of officiating. He worked numerous WPIAL championship games in both football and baseball. Woodward officiated two PIAA state championship games, one AAAA football championship game and one AAA football championship game, three baseball championship games and one softball championship game. Woodward served for 14 years as District 7 Football Rules Interpreter.

He retired as a college football referee after the 2008 season, and as a scholastic football referee after the 2012 season. Woodward still serves as a high school referee and umpires for scholastic baseball and softball. He was a basketball official for 18 years and assigns officials for all of these sports. Woodward has also been the official timekeeper since 2005 at California University of Pennsylvaniaís home football games and menís and womenís basketball games.

Looking back, Woodward had some influences as an official.

ìProbably three influenced me the most,î Woodward explained. ìGene Steratore, Bob Fee and Buck Grover, that's a pretty good trio of officials. Fee went to work in Division I, and I took over as crew chief. The Lord has blessed me with great people around me. The two Steratore brothers were on my high school crew. People don't realize how many good officials we had out of this area. My favorite sport to work was baseball. It was my favorite because you are one on one.î

Woodward worked games with many great players and coaches.

ìI saw Lavar Arrington of North Hills, Sean Lee from Upper St. Clair and Brandon Short from McKeesport,î Woodward said. ìCoaching wise, I had some favorites like Jim Render of Upper St. Clair and Art Walker Sr. and Art Walker Jr. In basketball, I basically stayed local with guys like Dan Andria and Ray Trincia. One of my favorites was the late James ìLashî Nesser.î

A U.S. Army veteran who served in Viet Nam, Woodward was a Specialist Fifth Class. Following his tour overseas, he worked in sales for 20 years for Sysco Corporation and for 22 years for U.S. Foods, Greensburg Division in purchasing as a Senior Buyer, before retiring in 2013.

Woodward, 74, and his wife, Diana, reside in New Salem, PA. He has a grown daughter, Angela, two step sons, Dave and Scott Carney, and two grandchildren, Michael and Ashleigh Carney.


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