ASA umpire Joe Windham, a graduate of Italy High School, was selected along with two other umpires from Ellis County to serve as UIL officials and make the tough calls during the UIL State softball tournament this season.
Windham was recommended for and umpired in the state tournament for the first time in 2004, and was again invited back in 2005, and 2006. Then, umpires were only allowed to do a 3-year stint on the state level and once done, were never asked back again to allow others an opportunity. In 2007, however, Windham and an umpire from San Antonio were asked back for an unprecedented 4th year.
In years preceding 2007, umpires were chosen individually based on coaches’ recommendations and fellow umpire evaluations. This year, the UIL decided to invite crews from various chapters. Ellis County submitted a crew, and they were accepted to call the games in Austin as UIL officials. The Ellis County crew chosen consisted of Joe Windham (crew chief, home plate), Trevor McDonald (3rd base), and Kelly Navarro (1st base).
2010 marks the 5th time for Windham to return; no one in the state has ever been asked to call in the state tournament that many times.
After all of the semi games were completed on Friday night, the Ellis County crew was selected to do the 5A game of Austin Bowie vs. Pearland, the highest honor a crew can receive in the tournament.
Windham, McDonald and Navarro have already accepted an invitation to represent Ellis County and return for the 2011 tournament.
Windham was selected as an ASA Elite Umpire in 2006 and his name is in the ASA Softball Hall of Fame for this award. The ASA ELite Umpire award is chosen from over 50,000 umpires in the nation; less than 400 have qualified for this award.
Windham has been umpiring fastpitch softball since 1999 and started the high school umpiring chapter for Ellis County in 2000. Windham has also umpired college baseball for 2 years and college softball for 4 years.
Under ASA, Windham has umpired for the USA Olympic team on two occasions. He has received various awards including the National Indicator Award in 2002 for doing three national tournaments.
Congratulations to Joe on his history making 5th State softball tournament appearance and to the entire Ellis County crew on their recent accomplishments.