• Ken Furman

    Ken Furman, Tom Smith and Dave Graham

The Ken Furman Award

Ken Furman was a Charter Member of the Boulder Valley Umpires Association and the Area Director for two terms. He was also a member of the Colorado High School Baseball Umpires Association (CHSBUA) and was elected President from 1981 through 1984 and was Colorado State Baseball Rules Interpreter for ten years. In 1997, Ken was given the most prestigious honor of election into the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Hall of Fame in 1997. The following year, Ken was inducted to the CHSBUA Hall of Fame.

Ken’s involvement in athletic officiating extended beyond baseball field and into many other sports. He served as a Member of the International Approved Association of Baseball Officials (IAABO) Executive Committee for eight years. He served as the first Area Director when a specific area was established for Boulder and Longmont by the Colorado High School Softball Umpires Association and was recognized in 1997 for his contributions to high school softball umpiring by the National Federation of International Officials Association (NFIOA). Ken was also recognized with the Al Schalge Award from the IAABO and the Joel Greenstein Award (a local Boulder advocate for the game) for service to amateur baseball in Boulder.

Ken was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1997 and died February 18, 1999. His survivors include his wife Marilyn and daughters Heidi and Kristin.

Founding the BVUA

The Boulder Valley Umpires Association (BVUA) was established in the late 1960's and was comprised of a handful of Boulder area men who were interested in the future of amateur baseball at the semi-pro and high school level. Some of the original members were President Bill Burns, Ken Furman, Jim Graham, Ken Bell, and Lee Merlino. Other members who joined shortly after its inception were Jim Reidy, Greg Childs, Larry Allen, Duke Benz, Gene Yost, Dave Boles, Cottrell "CB" McGowan, Dick Ryan, Fred Reichert, and Tom Smith.

The BVUA logo depicts the flatirons with "BVUA" embroidered across a silhouette of the foothills. It was sewn on the white, short-sleeved shirts worn by umpires at that time. The rest of the umpire uniform in the 70's consisted of a skinny black tie and navy blue pants. And yes, umpires of this era used the signature of “old-time” officiating, the “balloon” chest protector for working the plate. The uniform has gone through many iterations over the last 40 years and we currently wear a navy blue collared shirt with heather gray pants (Colorado has recently adopted the alternative uniform of powder blue with black trim). We are very grateful to no longer need to press our shirts and ties before games!

Local Boulder Baseball

Scott Carpenter Park, named after the Boulder High School graduate who became one of the first seven astronauts selected for NASA’s Project Mercury, is the primary field for baseball in Boulder. Fairview High School, after moving from its location on Cherryvale and Baseline (presently Nevin Platt Middle School) in 1970, designed and constructed an unlighted field on its present location in south Boulder. Boulder High School's games are, to this day, still played at Scott Carpenter. Another field no longer hosting games in the Boulder area was the "Chief" Prentup Field used by the University of Colorado until the late 1970's. The University discontinued baseball as a varsity sport and the school now competes only at the club level and plays its games in Jamestown.

It was a rare summer night when a baseball game was not being played under the lights at Scott Carpenter Park. If neither Fairview nor Boulder teams were playing, then the semi-pro "Boulder Collegians," a team comprised of many future Major League Baseball stars and managed by Bauldie Moschetti, were hitting numerous home runs over Scott Carpenter's relatively short outfield fences. Scott Carpenter Park has been the host of numerous American Legion Tournaments.

The 21st Century BVUA

As of the spring of 2015, our membership has grown to over 40 umpires. Of the original fifteen members, Tom Smith was the last active official, calling games through the 2012 season.

Our legacy of professionalism continues through today's training program, which formally commences in January and continues through April. The program consists of weekly classroom lectures and "field" clinics. New members are assigned a veteran umpire to help mentor them and teach new officials the intricacies of game, i.e.: on-field situations, where certain fields are and where to park, who to contact to work summer games, and changes to rule and umpire mechanics.

"In all the games I called, I never refused to talk to a coach because I understood their perspective since I once was a coach. If a coach wanted to know something, I'd always talk to them." Ken Furman

"Ken's professional leadership and involvement have been the largest contributing factors on CHSAA and its programs. Ken's total involvement as a teacher, coach, sponsor, referee and umpire has had a positive effect on literally thousands of young people and adults." Tom Smith, (CHSBUA Hall of Fame inductee 2013) a friend and partner of Ken's in numerous baseball and basketball contests.

"We've lost one of the greatest people who was ever involved in high school athletics. What stands out about him most is how much he helped other officials. He was never concerned about getting state championship games. He was more concerned about helping other people." Bob Ottewill’s (CHSAA Commissioner) comment to the Boulder Daily Camera following Ken’s death in 1999.

The Ken Furman Award is awarded annually to one umpire who aspires to the following qualities:

  • Enthusiasm for self improvement
  • Sound mechanics
  • Positioning and Hustle
  • Communication and Rapport
  • Professional Appearance
  • Deportment
  • Integrity
  • Mentoring of his fellow umpires
  • Overall contribution to baseball and the BVUA

The following Boulder Valley Umpires have been recognized with the Ken Furman Award:

Keith Turney 2012
Chuck Smith 2011
Gary Mess 2010
Ray Oletski 2009
Nick Ramos 2008
Andrew Waters 2007
Mike Doohan 2006
Dick Piland 2005
Tom Smith 2004
Don Pemberton 2003
Todd Calvin 2002
Dave Dettling 2001
Garry Kubat 2000
Brandon Schrenk 1999