The Atlantic Coast Conference will make history this weekend with an all Black umpire crew for the Virginia at North Carolina baseball series. It will mark the first time an all Black crew has worked a game for a Power 5 Conference or in Major League Baseball.
Veteran ACC umpires Linus Baker, Damien Beal, Greg Street and Randy Watkins have been assigned to work the series.
“I approached Kris Pierce [Senior Associate Commissioner, Championships & Senior Woman Administrator] in the winter and asked permission to have an all Black crew and without hesitation, she gave me the go-ahead,” said Troy Fullwood, ACC Supervisor of Umpires. “These guys are ACC umpires, veteran guys that have been umpiring a long time and they deserve this opportunity to be a part of history. Hopefully we’ll get to the point where this is not a first, but this is the norm.”
The series gets underway Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., followed by game two on for Friday at 3:30 p.m. and the series finale is slated for Saturday at 2 p.m. All three games will be held at Boshamer Stadium on UNC’s campus and each game will air live on ACC Network Extra.
The historic assignment coincides with the ACC’s Winter Unity Week (Feb. 20-28), as well as its celebration of Black History Month, which will culminate in league-wide celebration of the ACC’s diversity across all member institutions.
Throughout the month of February, ACC student-athletes have shared their stories on the importance of Black History Month, leadership, education and changing the generational divide.
ACC play begins this week with six conference series. Each ACC team is scheduled to play 12 three-game conference series this season for a total of 36 league games – two more series and six more ACC games than in recent years.