A worthy Hall of Famer

Published 9:48 am Saturday, July 10, 2010

Congratulations to Courtland’s Larry Rose, who will be inducted into the Hampton Roads African American Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 6.

For 36 years, Rose was a college basketball referee. It was a career that took him from intramural college games to the NCAA Final Four.

During Rose’s career, he called 22 straight NCAA Division I tournaments. Eighteen of those 22 years, he officiated Sweet 16 games, and 12 of those years he called Elite Eight games. He made it to the Final Four six times.

In 2002, Rose was the Naismith Award Winner for the College Official of the Year.

What’s amazing is how the 60-year-old Rose got into officiating.

While attending Hampton University on a baseball scholarship, he had a work/study job on campus. When professor and coach Isaac Morehead, a native of Franklin, asked Rose to officiate an intramural basketball game, he initially refused.

Morehead gave him no choice.

Rose, in some respects, can thank Morehead for a career as a referee that took him to more than 2,300 basketball games all over the United States. That’s because Morehead made him try something new.

When you’re young, as Rose was while attending Hampton University, you’re not necessarily supposed to know what you want to do. That’s why you have to explore your options and keep an open mind. You never know where it will take you.

Rose has a second career that ties in with being a referee. He’s the intervention specialist at Southampton High School, working with students who are at-risk of not completing school.

He’s what you would call a true disciplinarian, enforcing the rules on the basketball court and in the classroom to play the best game possible.