Baldwin's Matt Miller closing in on 25 years of officiating

Baldwin's Matt Miller (right) is pictured with Terry Gibson, who got him into officiating, and now lives in Belding. (Courtesy photo)

Baldwin's Matt Miller (right) is pictured with Terry Gibson, who got him into officiating, and now lives in Belding. (Courtesy photo)

BALDWIN -- Matt Miller focuses on soccer officiating in the spring but, like a lot of umpires and local officials, he has the next several weeks off.

He's a Baldwin resident, and currently on his plate is officiating football and basketball games, plus soccer.

"I've done baseball and softball in the past and I also did volleyball," Miller said. "But I'm only doing (football, basketball and soccer) right now. Baseball my last year was 2009 and I did softball until 2016. Personally for me, soccer made more sense, especially since a lot of schools have just one team so I get home earlier. Baseball is my favorite sport but it made more sense to do soccer.

"In this area, they're always doing (baseball-softball) doubleheaders and Saturday tournaments, too."

He usually works three to four nights a week on basketball games.

"In football, right now I'm only doing varsity because my daughter is playing middle school basketball," he said

Miller, originally from Baldwin, works as a counselor at the Youth Opportunity Evart Academy, formerly the Muskegon River Youth Home. He graduated from Baldwin High School in 1996.

"I was asked ahead of my senior year if I was interested in reffing and I said 'that makes sense,'" Miller said. "I stuck with it ever since. It will be 25 years in September. I started in basketball, and added baseball and softball the next year and volleyball the year after that. I've done basketball ever since. Football I picked up in 2001 and soccer I didn't start until 2011."

He officiated both boys and girls soccer games. He had perhaps 20 to 25 girls games set for this spring before the MHSAA canceled the season because of the coronavirus issue.

"I was disappointed for the kids more so than anything," he said. "I had the thought if for some reason they could do the games, I'd ref them for free so the kids could crown champions. This is a year people won't forget. It's disappointing and sad."

Miller said "basketball by far" is his favorite sport to officiate.

"Some of my best friends are officials," he said. "I get to see them more during the basketball season or other stuff."

He had four overtime games in less than two weeks.

"That's pretty odd," he said.

Miller has officiated state quarterfinal games for basketball and semifinals in football . He's usually a back judge or referee. He also coached Baldwin JV basketball and has coached junior high and JV teams at Crossroads and his daughter in elementary basketball.

"I would imagine I could keep officiating another 15 to 20 years," he said. "I may return to volleyball and stuff."