Referee Jennings retiring whistle

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Clovis’ Brooks Jennings has been one of the most long-lasting and respected members of the New Mexico high school officiating circle.

Jennings donned the black-and-white stripes for the last time Saturday in Roswell. Jennings, 68, is a former boys coach at Clovis High (1962-69) and a former athletic director at CHS (1985-91).

“It was just like another game, although I certainly was aware this was going to be my last one,” said Jennings after Academy edged Roswell High 42-40 in a Class 4A district championship game. “I felt good that it was an exciting, thrilling and meaningful basketball game.”

Jennings worked with two other Clovis officials, Randy Adrian and Darren Kelley, during his last contest.

Before the game even began, however, Roswell schools athletic director Don Alsup introduced Jennings and asked for a round of applause for the official’s years of service.

“It caught me by surprise, but I was really appreciative of him doing that,” Jennings said. “I also really appreciated the crowd’s response to Don making those comments.”

Last year, Jennings became the oldest official to get assigned to the state basketball tournament and he was part of the team that called the Class 5A championship game.

“He’s done a lot for, not only me as an official, but hundreds of other officials,” Kelley said. “The thing about Brooks that everyone counted on was that he knew the rules inside and out. If you went to a meeting or if you had a problem at a game, you’d always go home and call Brooks.”

Jennings, to keep up with the young athletes, consistently worked out in the gym to stay in shape. He says he’ll continue to exercise, calling that part of his life, “a hobby.”

And as for what he’ll be doing during the basketball season next year?

“I’ll probably just be a basketball fan now and support the Wildcats,” Jennings said.