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COVID claims well-known sports official

ASHEBORO — As one of the most respected sports officials in the area, Tommy Caudle always knew the importance of helping younger officials as they began their officiating careers. Because of this, Caudle has left his mark on numerous generations.

It is a mark that will not be forgotten.

Caudle, who assigned umpires for American Legion baseball as well as officiated and umpired for football, basketball and baseball, passed away Saturday evening due to COVID. 

“It’s just like losing a father,” said Trinity’s Barry Allison, who was one of the young officials Caudle took under his wing 35 years ago. “Tommy was my mentor, my coach, my biggest cheerleader. The things I have in life are largely due to Tommy taking a notice in me.

“We called high school, college and professional ball together. There’s no place we haven’t been together calling ball or enjoying a ballgame.”

Caudle first contracted COVID in early December and was in the hospital for a while before returning home for one day. But complications arose and he was admitted back into the hospital before passing away.

“It was 1988 and I had just moved to the area and went to my first first football clinic,” said Kip Johnson, who is now head of the Triad Basketball Officials Association as well as an official for ACC football. “He loved helping people get started in the sport. He did all three sports, but baseball was his passion. It wasn’t just me. He helped everyone.”

Scott Faglier, who is a part of the Mid-State Officials organization, worked with Caudle for years.

“It’s a tough loss for everyone,” Faglier said. “Tommy was one of those legendary umpires. He was always promoting. He really helped young officials get to where they wanted to be.”