February 2017 Luncheon Speaker Jeff Doy NCAA Baseball Umpire
Speaking February 13th was Jeff Doy NCAA Baseball Umpire.
Safe or out? Virginia Beach man will tell you at College World Series
Jeff Doy was at peace with the end of his baseball-playing days, but the void soon begged to be filled.
His grandfather, a former pro with the Pittsburgh Pirates, had the answer – umpiring. A professional umpiring school in Florida provided Doy’s introduction.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” said Doy, a Virginia Beach resident who had moved to Hampton Roads with his military father. “Most of the people at the school had umpiring experience and were looking to make it in the pros.
“I was just seeing if I was interested.”
After earning a marketing degree at Old Dominion, Doy started at the bottom with recreation league and high school games. He liked it enough to dream about one day officiating at the collegiate level – maybe even a conference championship.
His bar has risen much higher.
Starting today, the 46-year-old Doy will be the first Virginian to umpire at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
“I was numb for about 72 hours and couldn’t sleep after I got the call,” Doy said. “You’re just blown away and astonished.
“I never thought this would happen.”
With a wife, kids and successful career at O’Brien Advertising, Doy wasn’t looking to advance too far as an umpire. But after several years working high school and small-college ball, he worked with a couple of mid-level college conferences. That progressed to working for leagues such as the Big Ten, Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference.
“I’m working for four conferences now,” Doy said. “I’m doing about 55 or 60 games a year and love it.”
Doy worked his first NCAA regional several years ago and worked super regionals the past two years. Last year, he worked the plate during a University of Virginia playoff game.
Still, the College World Series seemed like a pipe dream.
“The funnel to move up is so tight and somebody has to drop out of the picture for you to move up,” Doy said. “I knew it was always possible, but it’s so hard to get in. You get evaluated and ranked and there are so many good umpires out there.”
The NCAA picked eight umpires to work two crews for the series. Each crew will consist of two CWS veterans and two rookies working two games a day. Umpires will rotate and each will get at least one game behind the plate.
There’s plenty of swag to go with a pretty good paycheck, although Doy declined to talk specifics.
Doy said he’s received his NCAA uniform and gear for games and to wear away from the field. When he arrived Friday, he was scheduled to get new equipment before meetings with tournament officials .
“All of the stuff we get is really impressive,” Doy said. “This is the big time. Sure, it’s become lucrative for me doing college baseball and it’s afforded me to be able to do other things with my family.
“But getting to do the World Series is about so much more. This is a real honor.”
Doy admits he’s nervous.
“I’ve been so busy at work that I really haven’t had much time to think about it,” he said. “But I talked to one of the veterans who has worked it before and he gave me some great advice.
“He said that the first couple of innings are going to be a blur and I probably won’t remember much about it. But I’m going to soak it all in and after a few innings of being nervous I’ll settle in and realize that this is just another game with two more teams. Umpiring will be the same.”
Doy said his position in the college umpiring world seems surreal, especially given his start.
“I was working four games a day on Saturdays with rec ball and then a few days a week with high schools,” he said. “ The (Eastern Virginia Officials Association) is a great bunch of people who really care about what they are doing. They are the reason I am where I’m going to be for the next 13 days.”