After his football playing days at Union University, Patey began officiating, governing over 200 games including many traditional SEC rivalries such as seven consecutive A" />
JACKSON, Tenn. – July 31, 2003 – A Union University sports legend has been named the 2003 Outstanding Football Official by the National Football Foundation. R.L. "Buddy" Patey, ('49), will be honored at a December ceremony in recognition of his achievement.
After his football playing days at Union University, Patey began officiating, governing over 200 games including many traditional SEC rivalries such as seven consecutive Alabama-Auburn encounters. His resumè contains numerous "big" games and a number of bowl appearances, including the Bluebonnet, Cotton, Peach, Gator, Liberty and Orange Bowls.
"It is an honor for all of us at Union University to call Buddy Patey a 'Unionite,'" said David S. Dockery, president of the university. "His life and work have demonstrated a commitment to excellence and integrity in all things. We are proud of him and his accomplishments and thankful for his continued commitment to Union University."
The Bulldog alum earned his stripes officiating for 48 years, 20 as supervisor of officials for the Ohio Valley Conference.
Patey has been inducted into the Tennessee State High School Athletic, Jackson-Madison County Sports, and the Ohio Valley Conference Halls of Fame. He was the recipient of the Lawrenceburg Quarterback Club Officiating Award and the Jackson's Young Man of the Year Award. More recently, he was inducted into the University of Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, in February of 1999.
Distinguished Sportswriter and longtime National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Honors Court chairman Fred Russell, called Patey "one of football's best ever officials." Patey authored a children's book on officiating, hosted radio and television sports shows, and wrote a column for two newspapers entitled "Ask the Ref."
He also served as vice-mayor of the City of Jackson, which included numerous posts in community service groups. Patey has been honored with "Buddy Patey Day" in Camden, Tennessee, and served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Jaycees, and Lions Club, among others.
Currently, Patey is the secretary of the Collegiate Commissioners Association and Football Supervisors Committee and a member of the Editorial Committee for the NCAA Football Rules Book.