After Craig Hyde retired from his post as the NCAA softball national coordinator of umpires, the search for a seasoned veteran to replace him began. It’s an important job, as the role is critical in many aspects regarding communication of rule interpretation and umpire training. The buck stops with this person, as conference leaders and coaches look to this person for accountability and trust regarding the integrity of the games on the field.
The NCAA has decided that Steve McCown will replace Hyde in that position, who has more than 30 years of experience. He has a lot of experience at home plate and on the bases, as he’s worked 15 Division I Softball Championships. McCown’s prowess with the rulebook is known globally as well, as he was tabbed as an alternate official for this summer’s Olympic games, and has umpired in five softball World Cups.
“Umpiring is a passion of mine, and I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to this position to build on Craig’s success and be a positive influence for umpires to follow,” McCown stated. Via NCAA.org
McCown is taking the reigns of NCAA softball at an interesting time. It is looking like video replay will become more a part of the sport’s legislative toolbox in the very near future. The impetus for this stemmed from a couple of questionable calls in the Women’s College World Series, which created momentum for finding alternative ways to get calls right. University of Oklahoma head coach Patti Gasso was outspoken about the need for video review in the sport.
“If it takes a little extra time, our sport is that good that people aren’t going to leave. And if they leave, personally, I would rather a fan leave viewership and us get the call right,” she said. Via SI.com
This will arguably be McCown’s greatest challenge, but if he can successfully implement a broader latitude of replay in softball, it would go down as one of the crowning achievements of any rules coordinator in any sport.