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Ray Walker met Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo at last year’s Minnesota state boys basketball tournament. Walker accomplished one of his life-long goals by officiating the Class A third place game. Walker died last summer in an ATV accident. Submitted Photo

Bemidji area basketball officials honor fallen comrade

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Bemidji area basketball officials honor fallen comrade
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

NAYTAHWASH — Last summer Clint “Ray” Walker, 38, of Naytahwaush died in an ATV accident.

Among Walker’s passions was officiating basketball games and his goal was to work a game at the Minnesota State High School basketball tournament.


Last winter Walker, who was a member of the Bemidji Basketball Officials Association (BBOA), accomplished that goal when he and his crew members worked the Class A third place game between Rushford-Peterson and Upsala.

During the holiday break the BBOA crew officiated a tournament in Walker and, as a tribute to Walker, his crewmates dedicated their customary fees to Walker’s family.

“Our group met prior to the start of this season and decided that we wanted to do something in Ray’s memory,” said BBOA official Brian Schultz. “We decided that the money we earn working the Christmas tournament in Walker would be donated to Ray’s family, or to a cause that Ray’s family specifies.”

The family, in turn, requested that the proceeds be given to Life Source, an organ matching company, and to the Mahnomen Youth Basketball Program.

“Our group has also decided that this will be an ongoing donation in Ray’s memory,” said BBOA official Brian Schultz. “Every year we will donate our Christmas tournament earnings to Ray’s family, or a cause that they specify.

“Ray had a passion for officiating basketball and he officiated many Bemidji girls and boys games,” Schultz continued. “His professional approach to officiating served him well.”

Pioneer staff reports