Originally created 07/22/98

Local NFL official honored



Keven Mack almost had a standing-room-only crowd for lunch Tuesday when more than 100 people showed up to honor the Augusta city official who recently wrapped up his first season as a National Football League official.

The luncheon was organized by friends, family and the United Way to honor Mr. Mack not only for his NFL work but also for his community work.

"A lot of folks from all over showed up -- fortunately, we had put out extra tables," Chris Naylor of the United Way said with a laugh. "It was just a nice event honoring him for all he's done. He's a great man, but very quiet, very humble."

Mr. Mack, the director of housing and neighborhood development in Augusta, was an official for football and basketball games for more than 20 years before he was selected to wear the black-and-white striped uniform for the NFL. He had previous experience with the Atlantic Coast Conference, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the World League in Europe.

"To be an official for the NFL -- that's pretty impressive," Mr. Naylor said. "There are only 112 in the league."

Mr. Mack is expected to call about 20 games, including four exhibition games, during the upcoming season, which starts Sept. 6. Now that he has finished his first season, he also will be eligible to work during playoff games.

"Everybody's eyes light up on Monday night," he has said about the ball games.

He began officiating at games after he was injured playing football in high school. One of the speakers Tuesday afternoon was David Dupree, Mr. Mack's football coach at Lucy C. Laney High School.

Other speakers included Tim Maund, executive director of the CSRA Regional Development Center, where Mr. Mack worked for 16 years before beginning his job with the city. Shirley Lewis, chairwoman of the United Way, also talked about the volunteer work Mr. Mack has done during the past decade, including serving on the organization's board of directors.

"We were very impressed with his dedication and his thoroughness in doing his job," Dr. Lewis said later. "He's obviously very interested in his community. He's also officiated at some of our basketball games, so it was a pleasure to be involved today."