Sport Officials Surrendered (S.O.S) is extremely pleased to announce the completed lineup of speakers for the second annual Referees Embracing Faith “REF” Conference, which is upcoming this August 17 at Prasco Laboratories in Mason, Ohio.
This year’s lineup of speakers features representatives from multiple sports, each bringing with them a unique background and faith-centered message that is specifically geared toward sport officials.
2019 REF Conference Speakers –
- Ted Barrett, MLB umpire
- Nate Harris, NCAA Div. 1 basketball referee
- LaMorris Crawford, Cincinnati Bengals (NFL) chaplain
- J.D. Collins, NCAA basketball officiating coordinator
- Dustin Kaehr, Author, leadership consultant, pastor, former college basketball official
- Hosts: NBA referee Pat Fraher & NCAA basketball referee Darron George
Ted Barrett joined S.O.S as an advisor in the fall of 2018 and will speak at REF Conference for the first time in 2019. Barrett is a 20-year veteran Major League Baseball umpire, who has earned numerous playoff assignments, including working four World Series. The high point of his MLB career came this past season, when he was appointed crew chief of the 2018 World Series.
Barrett has a degree in theological studies, which he earned from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburg, IN. In 2004, Barrett co-founded Calling for Christ, a faith-based fellowship for major league and minor league umpires. He also serves with Umps Care, the charitable arm of the MLB Umpires Association.
Nate Harris recently committed to attend and speak at his first REF Conference in 2019. He has been a referee at the NCAA Division 1 level since 2010, working in the Pac 12, Mountain West, Big Sky and WAC Conferences. Having reached the Div. 1 level at the young age of 25, Harris is already a 10-year veteran with multiple Pac-12 and Big Sky Conference tournaments, as well as two NCAA Div. 1 tournaments on his resume.
Harris co-founded Harris Shamion Officiating camps to help fellow officials develop and realize their potential, and is on staff at Emerald City Officials Academy, which is based in Seattle, WA.
LaMorris Crawford is a team chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League, and a gifted communicator who speaks frequently to various audiences including sports teams, organizations, churches and conferences.
Crawford’s bio from LaMorris Crawford Ministries –
Born on the south side of Chicago, LaMorris Crawford was only ten months old when his mother was shot to death at the young age of seventeen; to this day he still has no idea who his father is. Growing up without parents, in poverty and a city of violence, LaMorris found his own way of survival through gangs, drugs, popularity, and basketball.
Although he was a popular athlete, this attention could not fill the void in his life. When LaMorris was nineteen years old he had an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed him forever. Christ completely changed the course of his life. The first in his family to attend college, LaMorris earned both an undergraduate and graduate degree.
Today, LaMorris and his wife Megan have four beautiful children, and they serve as the team chaplains to the Cincinnati Bengals. He has a passion for preaching, communicating clearly and effectively the Word of God by sharing with others how God can also do an incredible work in their lives.
Dustin Kaehr, a respected author, leadership consultant, pastor and basketball official, will speak at REF Conference 2019. Kaehr, who serves as director of the Lippert Academy for Leadership, has more than 20 years of experiences working with organizations of all sizes, providing his expertise in regards to leadership challenges, operational management and customer engagement. He was previously the Director of Leadership Development in Lippert’s RV Products division, providing leadership training, one-on-one coaching to the division’s 1,100 team members and 200 leaders, and served on the core leadership teams of both of the division’s two facilities.
Kaehr possesses his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and has authored two books. The first is entitled “Retail is – 50 thoughts, ideas, and conversations to make your business better,” and his newest book, released in October 2018 called “Dear Boys – The letter every son needs from his father.” He also serves as a teaching pastor at River Oaks Community Church in Goshens, IN, and enjoyed a basketball officiating career that spanned more than 20 years at the high school level, and four at the collegiate level.
Pat Fraher and Darron George will serve as hosts for REF Conference 2019.
Fraher is a 19-year veteran NBA referee who has officiated more than 1,000 regular season games and 40 playoff games in the NBA, in addition to the 2015 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fraher began officiating at 17-years of age, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and prior to reaching the NBA, officiated in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
George began officiating high school basketball in 1993, and worked his first NCAA Div. 1 game in 2000. As a 20-year veteran NCAA Div. 1 basketball referee, George has officiated in eight NCAA tournaments, including two assignments in the regional rounds.
Fraher and George co-founded Elevate Officiating in 2011, which is focused on providing supplemental training to basketball officials. Both serve as advisors to Team SOS and were integral to the development of the REF Conference vision.
For the second consecutive year, Joshua Koch will return to lead worship to begin REF Conference. Koch, a college basketball referee and founder of The Present Day Man men’s ministry, is a tremendously gifted musician who will help set a tremendous Christ-focused atmosphere for the conference.
For complete information on REF Conference 2019, and to register, please visit: https://www.sportsofficialssurrendered.org/events-1/2nd-annual-referees-embracing-faith-conference
Sport Officials Surrendered (S.O.S) was established in 2018 out of a heart to cultivate Christ-centered fellowship for in-game sport officials across all levels of all sports. Co-founders Dan & Alicia DiFolco make their home in Ellensburg, Washington. Dan is a college basketball referee who graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) with a degree in political science, and is a former college baseball player. Alicia completed her Discipleship Training School at Youth With a Mission (YWAM), and is pursuing her master’s degree in nutrition at CWU.
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S.O.S is always looking to develop new relationships with fellow members of the officiating and faith communities. Email S.O.S (firstname.lastname@example.org) to speak with our team regarding partnership opportunities, as well as to submit prayer requests to our team, and to sign up for our free newsletter subscription, which grants you first notification on REF Conference news as well as other content from Team S.O.S.