For over a half century, Larry Kindred has spent his Friday nights running up and down Arizona high school football fields. Kindred played halfback at Carl Haden High in 1962. Three years later he started officiating football games.
"I work back judge. Every time there's a touchdown I have to run 60 yards to set up the ball. And that's not counting the times you're on long passes, runs, kickoffs," says Kindred, the 2012 Football Official of the Year.
“Not everybody can do it. We have two things we can't teach: common sense and judgement. If you can't do that, you can't be an official."
Despite still actively working, Kindred has been inducted into the Arizona Football Officials Hall of Fame. He’s worked seven state championships and countless marquee moments.
"I love the sport,” says Kindred, a former personal trainer. “You'd be surprised, as an official, how many coaches remember you. I’d have kids that played Pop Warner football come up and talk to me when I was doing college ball. If you do it correctly, then the kids are going to enjoy it and so are the coaches.”
He takes his job seriously, but Kindred has a sense of humor. His set up a “man cave” in his house to celebrate his career. It’s in the bathroom.
“It’s where everybody has to go sooner or later,” says Kindred with a smile. The walls are painted with black stripes, like an officials jersey.
A bathroom “man cave" is a first. His career has been full of them. Kindred trained Shannon Eastin, the NFL’s first female official. He has countless mentees all over the country.
“It’s been an honor to work with him,” says Glenn Russell, a member of Kindred's officiating crew. “He knows a lot about the game. He knows a lot of people who can help officials, which is a really big thing. He’s been a mentor to guys who worked in the NFL, guys who work Pac 12 stuff. He’s been an inspiration to Arizona football.”
Kindred wouldn’t tell AZFamily sports his age, saying “we can do the math.” He doesn’t recommend anybody from the Class of 1962 pick up a second career in football officiating, but also has no plans to stop.
"Why do I still do it? Because I enjoy it,” says Kindred. “When I quit enjoying it then I'm going to quit, when you see one of those headstones in the middle of the football field somewhere. It's been enjoyable. Helping kids learn how to become an official. It's really important to me.”
Kindred shows no signs of slowing down. To stay in shape, Kindred runs two miles and walks two miles every day. That’s not counting his trips up and down the field on Friday nights.
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