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Lyon to umpire in Omaha

College of the Canyons’ athletic director to work on crew at 2009 College World Series

Posted: June 7, 2009 9:29 p.m.
Updated: June 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Chuck Lyon

 
Umpiring has been a passion of Chuck Lyon's since he was in junior high school when he first learned the ins and outs of calling a game.

Back then it was more about finding a way to earn a few extra dollars over the summer, but Lyon has stayed in blue ever since, climbing the ranks from Little League to high school to Community College and all the way through the college levels.

His passion has earned the sport's highest collegiate umpiring honor - a spot on the College World Series crew.

"Obviously it has been a career goal of mine," said Lyon, the athletic director at College of the Canyons. "There aren't a whole lot of people who get this opportunity, so I am very excited to get to go to Omaha."

The World Series begins on June 13, and the final game could be as late as June 24, depending on whether the finals goes the maximum three games. Lyon is among only eight umpires who will call the games, and is guaranteed to be behind the plate for at least two games.

"A lot of the guys who make it to this level are former pro umps who never quite made it to the Majors so they dropped down to college," Lyon said. "I'm different because I've been working toward this for decades, coming from the lowest level and building myself up thanks to hard work and a lot of help from the people I have been around. There aren't many of us left. I guess it's kind of old school."

Lyon has been working at the Division I level for over 20 years, calling games for the Pac-10, WAC and Big West. He also recently completed his 11th season calling the NCAA Regionals, and he has worked five Super Regionals.

The experience he accumulated over the past two decades qualified Lyon to work the 2009 event, where he will umpire a game a day for at least a week, leading up to the finals.

The only games Lyon can't call are those involving teams he has seen during the regular season, which rules out Pac-10 representative, Arizona State.

"I think I did like nine Arizona State games this year so they definitely aren't letting me in on any of their games," Lyon said. "Still, that's the only team that I've seen that could be there, so I should be able to do almost every game."

Lyon also sees his Omaha experience as a chance to represent College of the Canyons.

"It's a good opportunity to get the name College of the Canyons out there in another way," Lyon said. "A lot of people know what we have done with football so this is just a different avenue for people to get to know about our school."

Lyon, as head coach of the football team, led the squad to a national championship in 2004.

While COC will be on Lyon's mind as he flies to Omaha for the biggest event in college baseball, years of hard work and the path he took to make it to the World Series will also be in the forefront of his thoughts.

It's not just Lyon's time as an umpire that has prepared him for a week and a half of calling the biggest games of the season. His extensive coaching experience has also been a major aid.

"I've just kept learning and getting better over the years," Lyon said. "As a coach you learn how to handle people in the athletic atmosphere. My coaching background has helped me with my judgment, and you don't make it this far without strong judgment."


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