Softball Canada is saddened to announce the passing of Softball Canada Hall of Fame member Wayne Brown on January 31, 2021.
“Our national umpiring program was built on the shoulders of many giants, and Wayne was the biggest of them all” said Softball Canada’s National Director of Umpires Jeff Whipple. “It is simply impossible to measure Wayne’s contributions to our program and the sport in general.”
“We all owe him so much. Being a member of the same local umpire association as Wayne was one of the great blessings of my life. There are too few words and so many stories to share. I will miss his support, wise counsel and, most of all, his friendship. He was a true gentleman and his friends and family will miss him deeply.”
Wayne Brown began umpiring in 1969 and became the living embodiment of what an umpire should be both on and off the field. His national umpiring career began in 1975 when he was an on-field umpire for five consecutive Canadian Championships, followed by serving as a supervisor at 21 Canadian Championships, two Canada Summer Games as well as being the Chair for the 1994 Women’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship.
In 1986, Wayne was promoted to Deputy Umpire-in-Chief for Softball Canada before being named as the National Director of Umpires in 1994 - a reign that lasted until 2004. In 1995, he was named the ISF (now WBSC) North American Regional Umpire-in-Chief and held this role until 2005.
At the international level, Wayne was an on-field umpire at the 1989 WBSC Junior Men’s World Championships and the 1993 Maccabiah Games in Israel. He later held the position of Deputy Umpire-in-Chief for the 1997 WBSC Junior Men’s World Championships, the Men’s Softball competition at the 1999 Pan American Games, the 2001 Women’s and 2002 Men’s Pan American Championships, and the 2002 WBSC Women’s World Championships. He was also an Evaluator at the 2001 WBSC Junior Men’s World Championships.
Wayne’s contributions to umpiring extended beyond the actual ball diamond. He is responsible for the implementation of the Level IV certification program, the restructuring of the Mechanics School and the creation of “Between the Lines” and the “Canadian Indicator” newsletters. He is also responsible for the launch of the “Blue Convention”, the “Umpire of the Year” Award and the creation of the Instructor/Evaluator Clinic.
Wayne Brown was inducted into the New Brunswick Sport Hall of Fame in 2005, the Softball New Brunswick Wall of Fame in 2003, the City of Fredericton Wall of Fame in 1998, and the Softball Canada Hall of Fame as an Official in 2006. In the years following his direct involvement as an umpire, he continued to work on nominating several other deserving umpires for induction to the Softball Canada Hall of Fame.
“Our sincere condolences to Wayne’s family and our extreme gratitude for sharing him with the Softball community” stated Softball Canada CEO Hugh Mitchener. “He is indelibly linked to the excellence of our Umpiring program and as such tens of thousands of Umpires have been positively impacted by him. We are all so fortunate that he shared his knowledge, passion and generosity of spirit with us.”
The funeral service for Wayne Brown will be streamed on Friday, February 5th at 1:00pm EST