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Whistleblower relishes his role in sports

Don Umland’s “real job” facilitates intramural sports for the Augustana College student body.

He is in his fourth season as a coordinator of umpires nationally for NCAA Division III college baseball. That work — along with his role as Augustana’s director of campus recreation — dovetails nicely into his work to help Umland cultivate the next generation of officials.

“I have a chance to get kids involved at the intramural and youth levels, and then help them climb up to high school and college,” he said. “So that’s become my calling as much as anything.”

The most recent success story is former Augustana basketball player Carly Adams who started refereeing intramural games as a senior last year. She followed the steps Umland recommends to anyone interested: reach out to those already in the business, find a mentor, and then get in front of decision-makers as often as possible by working games and attending camps or clinics. 

“She was at the camp at (Rock Island’s) Sharp Shootout this summer, and they were so impressed with her, she’s working small college basketball now in Chicago,” Mr. Umland said. “Not everybody moves that fast, much less gets to that level, but there are plenty of opportunities to work.”