POR: Randy Powell March 15, 2009
“I like spending more time with the athletes,” Powell said.
Randy Powell always has a lot on his plate, whether it’s his day job, night job or hobbies.
Powell’s day job is as the athletic director at Central High School, a position he took over earlier this year.
Already an assistant principal at the school, Powell gained the job he had been wanting for a long time.
“I like spending more time with the athletes,” Powell said. “When you are doing a lot more discipline and things like that you don’t get to spend as much time with those first-class athletes.”
Powell earned his master’s degree in sports administration and said he has wanted to become an athletic director for quite some time but the opportunity never presented itself.
“I know there has been two or three positions that have opened up in the valley,” Powell said.
“But it was too hard to leave Central because the people here are phenomenal.”
While Powell’s job now revolves around sports, it is really nothing new. He played basketball at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, and coached girls and boys soccer as a teacher at Rampart High School. During his current day job, Powell has built a solid relationship with the coaches at Central but also has earned the respect of basketball coaches across the state in his night job.
After putting in hours figuring out athletic budgets and schedules, Powell trades in the suit for stripes.
Powell is a certified basketball official.
“I get real excited for the environment,” Powell said. “I don’t care who is playing, you go to some of these smaller schools and if there is a good active crowd you get into it. The adrenaline begins flowing and it is a lot of fun to do.”
For 13 years Powell has called girls and boys high school, and for the last three years has
been an official for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. When Powell took over as the Central AD he wasn’t about to give up the whistle.
“When I took over this position I said I wasn’t going to do any 5A games because of conflict of interest,” Powell said. “So I will still do the RMAC as well as 4A and anything below that.”
One of the major jobs of an AD is being at the sporting events to make sure everything runs smoothly. Powell makes sure to keep Central a high priority.
“When Central is playing at home or playing any of the other schools in the league, I tried to block those nights out,” Powell said. “But I love officiating so I didn’t want to give it up.”
Exposed to officiating while doing an internship with USA basketball, Powell picked up a whistle in 1992 and officiated for seven years before putting it down for four years to coach at Rampart. When Powell moved to Grand Junction in 2002 he began officiating again.
But with officiating comes the expected backlash from fans and coaches. Powell said he learned early on in the process that it is not smart to take anything to heart.
“For 100 years people have complained about officials,” Powell said. “The best officials in the nation get yelled at, so I focus on not taking things too personal and I think the big thing is if you are really focused for a game, you don’t give them much opportunity to chirp at you.”
For Powell, the officiating is more then just a way to earn some money. He takes pride in being a good official and hopes that his hard work will continue to pay off.
“I go to officiating camps every summer just trying to get better,” Powell said. “I have been in the RMAC for three years and that is being lucky enough for an assigner to see me when I had a good game. So I would love to do this as long as my body holds up and I would love to travel a little more with it.”
While traveling with officiating has taken Powell around the state of Colorado, traveling for basketball has become a hobby for him and his family in the second weekend in March. Every year, Powell, his wife and two kids will travel to attend the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament somewhere in the country.
Powell has attended first weekend games everywhere from Denver to Florida, Texas to Arizona. This year he will be in Kansas City, Mo.
“We are a sports family so we have done March Madness every year,” Powell said. “I always get a T-shirt and a game program, so I have a collection of 19 game programs from the tournament.”
Powell said that, like officiating, the thing he likes best about the tournament is the atmosphere. He has forgotten a lot of teams and players, but the hoopla around March Madness always sticks with him.
“It’s watching people who love the game of basketball,” Powell said. “From concessions to the bands and even the tailgating in the parking lot. I get caught up in the atmosphere.”
Powell also admitted to getting caught up in something else.
“My biggest mistake is I get caught watching the refs,” Powell said. “For me it is like ‘What are they doing and what do I need to do to improve my game?’ Everyone would aspire to be a Division One official and so few get to do that, so if I can take little tools from those officials, I will do that.”