East Lansing — Mark Uyl has officially handed in his umpire gear to focus on his new job as the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, replacing Jack Roberts in that position later this summer.
Uyl, the former assistant director of the MHSAA, was promoted last month to take over for Roberts, who has held the top job since 1986.
Uyl was hired by the MHSAA in 2004 and has coordinated the Association’s 10,000 officials in addition to working as the director of baseball, cross country and wrestling.
Uyl said he would be at Michigan State for the state finals in baseball and softball all weekend.
In past years, Uyl worked College World Series games. The College World Series gets underway Saturday in Omaha, but this time it will be without him calling outs on the bases or balls and strikes from behind the plate.
But, no doubt the 44-year-old Uyl will long remember his final collegiate baseball game, working behind the plate of the NCAA Tournament regional opener at Tallahasee on June 1 when Oklahoma came back from a 10-7 deficit to defeat Mississippi State, 20-10.
“I retired from umpiring, worked Big Ten games for the past 20 years,” Uyl said. “That 20-10 game, first game of the regional, I’m behind the plate, it’s 102 degrees in Tallahassee, game lasted four hours and 58 minutes. I called some 480 pitches.”
Yes, he called enough pitches to last a lifetime.