A Tribute to Ray Lutz

Ray Lutz was a significant football mentor from my rookie year in 2007 until his death in December 2017. I was blessed to participate in many of his crew meetings and video reviews and enjoyed multiple personal conversations. Ray’s tutelage helped establish much of my football officiating foundation. 

Ray’s “Forward Progress” posts to the Colorado Springs Football Officials Association were the inspiration for my own “Ready for Play” posts to my crew. The Ready for Play posts are the source for many of this website’s articles.
Ray was a well-known sports official for over five decades. He aided in many capacities and officiated several football, basketball, and track and field contests at all levels – high school, junior college, NCAA Division I, II, and III.
At the high school level, Ray officiated over 2,400 varsity contests, 1,000 sub-varsity games, and nearly 500 playoff games in football and basketball. He worked six football and 12 basketball championship games and was a state meet official in track more than 20 times.
From 1981-1997, he was a Division I women’s basketball official in the High Country Athletic Conference (HCAC), which later became today’s Western Athletic Conference (WAC). He also officiated in the Colorado Athletic Conference (CAC) from 1991-1993, before the conference dissolved in 1996.

Ray served as a Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) official for nearly two decades (1980-1999), and for the last four years, he was the conference’s video observer. He officiated in hundreds of games including the RMAC Tournaments.
With over 50 years of officiating experience, his knowledge, passion, and perspective of the game became extremely valuable to newcomers and veterans alike. Since 1999, Ray spent a lot of his spare time working at summer camps for officials. His dedication to cultivating officials and his impact on sports did not go unnoticed.

Ray was inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Hall of Fame and received the Colonel F. Don Miller Sports Service Award in 2004. The award honors people who have left a lasting contribution to Colorado Springs sports and is presented to those locally dedicated to the importance of sports in building young lives.

In 2016, Ray was one of five recipients to receive the RMAC Women’s Basketball Officiating Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented to those who have shown passion, dedication, and steadfast allegiance to women’s basketball and officiating during their lifetime.The majority of this tribute is derived from an RMAC sports article.

This picture was taken on December 7, 2017; shortly after Ray’s passing. Many of Ray’s officiating brothers gathered to honor Ray and share memories of their mentor. If you want to talk about Ray’s influence on officiating and his officiating family tree, look no further than the gentleman second from the right–Greg Burks. Greg enjoyed great success as a sports official. He rose to the Division I college ranks in basketball and football and is currently the Big 12 Supervisor of Football Officials. In his officiating journey, Greg has influenced thousands of officials.

Here is a testimonial from Greg: “Ray was my first mentor and the most influential. Ray set my foundation in my approach to officiating and the things he shared with me I find myself sharing with officials at all levels. Ray’s insights and his dedication to officiating and the individual official was unmatched. I am forever grateful for having had Ray and his instruction in my officiating career.”