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(1948 - 2017) officiated for some of the largest and strongest athletes in the world. He also did the same work for little kids and high school students as well. They all could document a very similar experience in getting to know him.
When Brent Lee was working as a judge at any Track and Field meet the athletes he dealt with all walked away knowing several things:
1) They were blessed with an official who was very fair and very efficient.
2) They had an official who both knew and understood the letter and the spirit of the rules.
3) They walked away with a smile on their face because the official they were dealing with was friendly enough to share a laugh or two when it was appropriate.
4) He had a pretty amazing 19th-century “muttonchop” moustache that could make you recognize him even in the biggest of a crowd at Disneyworld.
Brent was a great all-around official, but most athletes experienced him working either in throwing events in the field or as a starter on the track. He started as a high school official in the early 1970’s, and once he got the bug, he could not get enough of it. He soon began working at collegiate and USATF open events whenever he could find the time.
He became a fixture at New York State High School Championships on the Throwing Officials crew. On many a trip north to State meets, Brent would always regale us with great stories. Among his best were tales of “How to Successfully Endure and Win at an IRS Audit”. Those long trips home through snowstorms went by quickly with lots of laughs had by all.
Meet directors took notice of Brent’s talents and he was sought to work at the Millrose Games, the USA National Championships (Indoors and Outdoors), The Penn Relays, the National Scholastic Championships, West Point’s meets, and many Collegiate Conference Meets.
In 1996 Brent was appointed by USATF to officiate at the Paralympic Games in Atlanta.,
Pretty soon when the New York Games and the New York Grand Prix meets came about, it was Brent Lee who was chosen to chief the Shot Put. When all those huge Shot-Putters walked into the arena, they would greet him by his name with a smile, a handshake, or even sometimes with a startling bearhug. They knew this cheerful man for what he was – a man with great integrity who would conduct their event swiftly and fairly while providing a good, safe environment where they could thrive. After the event he would then always tease the winner that he “had to buy breakfast for the rest of the field”. Adam Nelson once replied to him that he “would have to rob a bank to afford that”.
Brent was active in training younger officials. He was the Rockland Area Vice-President of the Southern Catskill Officials, the Indoor Assigner for Section One meets, and served on the Training Committee for the Metropolitan Athletics Congress.
Brent was loyal most to his family. He had a home in Pearl River, New York with his wife Jo Ann, daughter Cristin, son Brent II, and his beloved grandsons, Shaun, Dakota, and Steven who spent summers at Brent’s house.
We all really miss Brent. He was one of the kindest and most cheerful people you could ever know. He was also an incurable optimist because he would always say that his beloved New York Jets were going to win the Super Bowl again someday soon.
We also miss Brent’s officiating skills and the good vibes he left when doing that job.
Brent, we are proud to have you join the ranks of the USATF New York Officials’ Hall of Fame.