NFL Director of Officiating David Coleman (right) shakes hands with the referees. Source: WBRC video
Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
The women were in charge Thursday night and making history at the Miles College football game. For the first time ever, there was a majority-female referee crew for an NCAA game.
"It's great because it shows women are interested in the game," Yvonda Lewis, referee, said.
Lewis, the head linesman at Thursday's game, has been refereeing football games for the past 10 years. She started out as a "sports diva" on a radio show in Houston, Tex.
"When I got bored with that, I said, ‘Who else is on the field where you get free food and free stuff?' And I was like, ‘Oh refs!' So I called up the refs and asked if I could participate and they said come on out. They trained me and I've been doing it ever since," she said.
But it wasn't an easy road as she learned the game dominated by males.
"Everyone's used to us now. Coaches know we're out here. I'm just another person out here officiating," Lewis said.
And she does what she can not to stand out.
"That's why a lot of us wear our hair up so you won't notice we're out here," Lewis said.
But the NFL is noticing they're at the games. David Coleman, Director of Officiating for the NFL, was keeping a close eye on the back judge.
"We expect her to do just like any other back judge. She has proven herself at that position. She has the athleticism, agility, and the skill to do it," he said.
Coleman says it won't be long until you see more and more females at the NFL level.
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