Local official inducted into Hall of Fame

Local official inducted into Hall of Fame

FLETCHER, OK (KSWO) -After more than 20 years of refereeing high school basketball games in Southwest Oklahoma, Lonnie Sanders, a Fletcher native is now a part of the Officials Hall of Fame.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association held the ceremony last weekend at Choctaw High School.

"You sort of had Goosebumps when they called your name to walk on the stage and present you this," said Sanders.

Sanders first started officiating to make extra money for his family, but it ended up being a true calling. He says calling himself a Hall of Famer will take some getting used to.

"People don't realize, this old man almost came to tears up there with this thing," said Sanders."It was really nice."

Sanders had to retire in early 90's because of an injury with his Achilles tendon. He says it made it very hard to run up and down the court and not be in pain. But even that didn't stop him hanging up the towel and being done with sports just yet. Sanders still coaches golf at Fletcher and recently retired as the athletic director.

"It was a down," said Sanders."When you were there and watching the ball games and things. Of course, you would try to call it from the stands, which is bad, but it took awhile for me to get used to not being out there."

He credits his success as an official to the mentors, friends and family that have been there for him. He says meeting new kids and people was the best part about being an official.

"Met them for life and good friends to this day and I got to see good ball players that I would have never saw," said Sanders. "Different Athletes out there, boys and girls and it was fun."

Sanders hopes to inspire other people who hope to become an official one day to get started and learn the rules, first.

"Get involved in it," said Sanders. "Go to your referee meetings. They even have places early in the year that you can go up there and they can train you where they will teach you some of these things. And you need to go to them. Just get hooked up and go."

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