Two veteran high school football officials, Arnold Pope and Tony Haire, were recently honored by the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association at their annual preseason meeting of football officials.
Pope retired after some 60 years of work as both an on-field official and a supervisor who grades and counsels other officials.
He is a Methodist minister and formerly served as dean of students at then-Methodist College.
He was a charter selection to the North Carolina Weightlifting Hall of Fame, winning 27 state and six Southern titles in the Open Divions. He was the 1988 world champion in the masters division, winning 11 consecutive national titles and earning induction into the National Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1988.
He was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame in 2013.
He also competed in the Scottish Games for 20 years and was North American caber toss champion in 1976. That same year he was the first American to win a caber-tossing title in Scotland.
Haire received the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award from Mark Dreibelbis, supervisor of officials for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Haire has been with the SAOA since 1997, officiating softball, football, basketball and baseball.
He has officiated three Eastern Regionals in basketball and one state final, that occurring in 2003.
He has called the state football finals twice, in 2005 and 2017.
He is currently the sports chairman for football for the SAOA. This involves training officials and assisting Neil Buie, the regional supervisor of football officials for the SAOA.
Left photo: Arnold Pope (L) and Neil Buie (R). Right photo: Tony Haire (L) with Mark Dreibelbis, supervisor of officials forthe North Carolina High School Athletic Association (R).