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National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball official William C. Baxter, Jr., was born on May 16, 1940, in Harlem, New York. His parents, Christine Juanita Segee Baxter Phillips and William C. Baxter, Sr., owned Baxter's Hats in New York City. Baxter attended Saint Augustine's University, in Raleigh, North Carolina, on a basketball scholarship and received his B.A. degree in physical education in 1962. After graduation, he began working for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, where he managed various athletic competitions. He later was promoted to supervisor and Bronx borough director. During the 1960s, he played guard in the summer pro-leagues and began officiating high school games, including the Public Schools Athletic League Championship, in New York City. In 1972, Baxter passed the examination to become a college referee and began officiating for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). In 1975, Baxter received his M.A. degree in recreation and education from Herbert Lehman College in New York City. He also served for seven years in the National Guard.
Baxter worked as one of approximately twelve African American officials in the New York-New Jersey region. He also was one of the first African Americans to become a basketball official for major college games. Baxter officiated at annual tournaments for the NCAA. In 2000, Baxter retired as an ECAC official, but continued to serve as a referee at the high school and junior college levels.
Baxter and his wife, Thelma Baxter, lived in Englewood, New Jersey. They had two daughters, Dana and Dawn.
Baxter passed away on October 13, 2021, at the age of 81.