Walter Dorman has refereed long enough in San Juan County to see players he used to officiate become head coaches.
After 18 seasons behind the whistle, Dorman is hanging it up.
“It has been a big enjoyment for me — the friends I have met, the comradery I have had with fellow officials and the memories I have made,” Dorman said. “I have done it for the kids.”
Dorman also operates Wally D Sports, which brings local prep sports throughout the Four Corners to the radio.
He has coordinated with local coaches and sports figures to help broadcast games for years.
“What else can you say about Wally D other than he loves high school sports. I work for him in the football season calling games, and he gets games on the radio and does all kinds of different things,” said Kirtland Central girls’ basketball coach Kevin Holman. “He loves kids and he loves Four Corners sports. He is a great man. We will miss him and I couldn’t be happier for him to get out and focus on being the head assigner.”
For the last four years, Dorman has also had the responsibility of assigning officials to basketball games in San Juan County as well as Gallup and Grants.
His four-year contract is up at the end of this season, but he plans to reapply.
“I will still be involved, I just won’t be officiating games. I will continue to be a regional assigner, hopefully,” he said. “I have plans and goals for the next four years, and I am really working hard with them.”
Having so many responsibilities through the years hasn’t been a burden for Dorman, he said he thrives in the craziness that is his daily schedule.
Dorman remembers refereeing games when Bloomfield head coach Devon Manning and Piedra Vista head coach Adam Huff played together in Kirtland.
“I remember the years when Manning and Huff played in all of their scrums,” he said. “When I started seeing Manning come up through the ranks over at Bloomfield I was like, ‘Man, I am getting old.’”
Thinking back on his career in stripes, Dorman recalled several memorable games he was a part of.
“Last Saturday, (Piedra Vista at Farmington) was definitely one. I have done a lot of the boys’ district championships over my career. Probably one of the first ones I did was Kirtland and Farmington back when Kirtland won three out of four state tournaments,” he said. “I have also done three state tournaments and three state title games.
“I remember one game I did, the first game we in The Pit to open the state tournament. It was Silver girls’ against somebody. There was 0.3 seconds left on the clock and a girl caught it and shot. One of my partners waved off the basket. It was the right call, but it was very controversial. I really remember that.”
Refereeing the Webb-Toyota Invite games at Farmington High was is also a fond memory for Dorman.
“Back in the day, that was really big. Some of the games over there were awesome,” he said.
Just like an athlete, Dorman said it was important for him as an official to leave on top of his game.
“I have seen too many officials stay around too long and the game has passed them by,” he said. “I definitely could have two to four more good years I could have given, but I wanted to go out on top.”
What kept Dorman around the basketball court 18 years and what will keep him coming back to do more radio broadcasts has and always will be the student athletes.
“Just being a part of the student athletes lives and seeing where they have started and where they have gone, it is neat to see some of those kids who have gone on to college or have come back to coaching,” he said. “I will still go to the state tournament every year, which I started doing in radio 12 years ago. I love going to the state tournament and being in that great atmosphere. I will be down there next week assigning officials to tournament games and I hope to continue doing that.”
If he gets any more free time, Dorman hopes to put his knowledge of basketball to use behind the microphone to call a few more games, he said.
“I stayed away from radio during basketball season when I was calling games. I probably will be calling a few more games on the radio now,” he said.