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William Baxter

Former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball official William C. Baxter, Jr. was born on May 16, 1940 in Harlem, New York at Columbian Presbyterian Hospital. His parents were Christine Juanita Segee Baxter Phillips and William C. Baxter, Sr. Baxter’s father owned a hat business in New York City. Baxter attended St. Augustine College on a basketball scholarship and received his B.A. degree in physical education in 1962. During the 1960s, he played guard in the summer pro-leagues and began officiating high school games 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.

Baxter has worked as one out of approximately twelve African American officials in the New York-New Jersey region. He is also one of the first African Americans to become a basketball official for major college games. Baxter officiated at major annual tournaments for the NCAA. At the same time, Baxter served as Director of Recreation for the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Bronx, New York for thirty-seven years. In 2000, Baxter retired as an ECAC official, but continued to serve as a referee at the high school and junior college levels.

Baxter is married to Thelma Baxter. They reside in Englewood, New Jersey. They have two daughters, Dana and Dawn.

Accession Number

A2005.194

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/10/2005

Last Name

Baxter

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

P.S. 68

Ps 157 Benjamin Franklin School

Cooper Junior High School

Commerce High School

St. Augustine's University

Lehman College

P.S. 65 Little Red School House

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

BAX01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Favorite Quote

You Only Pass This Way Once, So Enjoy Yourself While You're Here.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/16/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Apple)

Short Description

Basketball official William Baxter (1940 - ) was one of approximately twelve African American officials in the Eastern College Athletic Conference during the 1970s. Baxter also served as Director of Recreation for the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Bronx, New York.

Employment

New York City Department of Parks and Recreatioon

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Baxter's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Baxter lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Baxter describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Baxter describes his family's hat business and his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Baxter describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Baxter describes his parents' hat store in Harlem, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Baxter details his career as a recreation director and basketball referee

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Baxter describes his maternal grandmother, May Segee

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William C. Baxter describes his paternal grandfather, Dr. John E. Baxter

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Baxter describes his three siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Baxter describes his childhood home and neighborhood in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Baxter describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Baxter describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Baxter describes New York City's Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Baxter recalls attending P.S. 157 and P.S. 68 in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Baxter remembers Harlem playground director, Holcombe Rucker

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Baxter describes his two part-time jobs in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Baxter recalls attending Commerce High School in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Baxter recounts his decision to attend St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Baxter describes his basketball scholarship to St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Baxter recalls playing basketball at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Baxter remembers his speech professor, Julia E. Delaney

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Baxter talks about his summer jobs during college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Baxter describes his major and his college basketball experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Baxter describes playing semi-pro basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Baxter describes teaching at a junior high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Baxter talks about his wife and two daughters

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Baxter describes his work as recreation director for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Baxter talks about the growth of recreational facilities in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William Baxter talks about his various positions with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William Baxter describes the rewards and challenges of his career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Baxter describes conflicts between different ethnic groups at New York City's St. James Recreation Center

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Baxter describes being recreation director for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Baxter talks about his wife's career

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Baxter talks about becoming a basketball officiate

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Baxter describes his basketball referee training

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Baxter describes the application process for a college basketball official

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Baxter describes his college basketball officiating career

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Baxter talks about fellow African American basketball officials

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Baxter describes referee calls and the physical demands of refereeing

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Baxter talks about officiating major tournaments and awards received

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Baxter describes his post-retirement activities and his role models

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Baxter reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Baxter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Baxter describes people he has helped and his admiration for his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Baxter shares his advice for young people

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Baxter describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

11$7

DATitle
William Baxter describes the rewards and challenges of his career
William Baxter describes his college basketball officiating career
Transcript
Let me come back to the challenges that you found as a recreation professional. What are some of the major challenges that you faced over your long career?$$Well, I know when I got to that recreation center [St. James Recreation Center, Bronx, New York], we had basically Jewish, Jewish personnel using the center as a senior citizen's center. However, there were a lot of Hispanics in the area who wanted to use our center who thought that they had been frozen out. So had to, and we invited them in to run their programs. Also we had to bring youth, youth programs in there also. So we had like a homework workshop and an after school program. We had senior citizens during the day. We had to mix the senior citizens with the youth, which was difficult. You had to, you had to get the Hispanic culture in there where they had, they had, they liked arts and crafts whereas the Jewish contingent, they wanted to go trips to Atlantic City [New Jersey] and places like that. Where the Hispanics all they wanted to do was, they wanted to have arts and crafts. They had, we had a feeding program we brought in there also. So it was very difficult to get the two cultures together, but it worked out after a while.$$How did you manage it? How did you, what resources did you pull in to help you do that?$$Well, we put the food program, we gave the card, they had some card players in there, we gave them a special room. The Hispanics wanted to engage in arts and crafts activities, we gave them a special area. We had a special area for the kids when they came in. We also had an environmental program in there we called the Bronx River Restoration Group was in there also. I'm floundering now, but just trying to touch base on how we did it. But we managed to get all those groups working there at one time and they all co-existed.$$When you were the top person for the borough, Bronx [New York] borough. What was your major challenges in that big position 'cause that was your last major position was it?$$Yeah, the major challenge was trying to motivate twenty-five and thirty year old workers to do, to do a job. It was very difficult to motivate people to work sometimes, especially when they were your peers at one time. We all worked at the same level at one time. I thought that was a major challenge to motivate them to be able to do certain things which they hadn't been accustomed to doing you know.$$All in all then, how many years did you work as a professional in the field of recreation?$$Thirty-seven.$$Thirty-seven years. Does that include the years, the summers that you worked between college [St. Augustine's College; St. Augustine's University, Raleigh, North Carolina]?$$Well, in fact, in those years I only worked two hours, two months in the summertime, but that was only a total of eight months. So when you leave they factor that time in. They factor that time in also.$$Very briefly, before we end this part of the tape, what did you enjoy about doing this kind of work?$$I enjoyed, when I run into, when I run to former kids that I worked with, when I run into them and I see that they're matured and they're grown up in a nice outstanding individuals and they say you were one of my role models, that makes me feel pretty good, you know. That they've done something, that they managed to stay out of trouble and then become productive in society and whatnot.$Do you recall the first college game that you officiated?$$Yeah.$$Where, where was that and what was the--$$Where was that? I think it was Pratt, Pratt Institute [Brooklyn, New York]. That was my first, my first college officiating game. My first varsity college game was at Queens College [City University of New York, Queens, New York]. I remember that vividly because it was my first varsity game. I think I started from there. When you come into college you do a, you go on the associates' list when you first get in. You doing it like freshman. At that time they had freshman basketball. You're doing a freshman game.$$When you started college officiating, how many games would you officiate a season?$$When I, when I first started or after you're seasoned?$$Well, after you, when you first started, how many were you doing?$$They don't give you that many. I had about, I'd say about a fifteen, fifteen games.$$These were night games, weekend games at the college level?$$Night games.$$Night games?$$Sometimes weekend, but after you become established you do somewhere from fifty to eighty, eighty to one hundred games, once you get started.$$A year?$$A year.$$A year.$$The top guys do, they do a one hundred games.$$How do you maintain your physical being for all of that?$$You have to stay in shape. You have to run, do a lot of running. I played tennis so that helped me out a lot. You have to do a lot of running to get ready for the season. They didn't want to see you very heavy. If you get too heavy, they, they drop you out, you know. Can't get too heavy, however, there are some guys that do get heavy, but they have so much experience that they need it, so they try to keep them hanging around.$$What did you have to do, let's say twenty-four hours or twelve hours before officiating a game? Was there any special things that you had to do for yourself to get ready for a game?$$No, normally when you go to those college games you had to be there an hour and a half before, before the game. That way it gives you a chance to have a pre-game with your partner, to relax. The athletic director is relaxed once he sees you come into the building, they give you the quarters and what not so you can discuss how you're going to call the game. You can hang your coat up and relax, just relax. You have to be there an hour and a half before time.$$And once the game is over, can you leave or is there things you have to do after?$$No, you leave. You take a shower and you have to wait for the other guy to finish, then you leave, leave together, make sure everybody leaves together.$$So you had some pretty long days when you were working and then officiating. How did your family live with all this?$$They took it, they took it in stride. You know, it's a very, it's a very well-paid position. People don't realize what the people get for those games.$$Well, I was gonna ask you, what, what was the compensation for the college games?$$Depends on what level. The Division I games, anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per game. And some of those guys do a hundred of those games you know, but Division III levels were hundred and a quarter, up $125.$$Tell me about some of the big tournaments, major tournaments that you eventually officiated at.$$Well, I was chosen to do the Division III Final Four, which was in Roanoke, Virginia. Once I was also sent to Buffalo, New York to do the Division III final. I did the Division II final in Springfield [New York]. It's called the Elite Eight, the last eight teams in the Division II colleges, which, I wasn't up there that year, but St. Augustine's [College; St. Augustine's University, Raleigh, North Carolina] went up there one year. I recall them going up there, for the Final Eight, but it's usually teams like Division II teams, like Virginia Union [University, Richmond, Virginia], St. Augustine, California, Bakersfield [California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, California], teams like that, but it's a good brand of basketball 'cause that's the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association]. And the Division I tournament, of course, is the very big tournament, where you have, where you have all the, Duke [University, Durham, North Carolina] and North Carolina [The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina] and Indiana [University, Bloomington, Indiana] and all those teams. That's Division I.