PHILADELPHIA -- The Penn Relays is pleased to announce the honorary carnival referees for the 123rd running in 2017, set to take place April 27-29 at Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
Honorary Carnival Referee
Peter Diamond, an integral part of the televising of the Olympic Games for more than four decades, is the Relays’ Honorary Carnival Referee for 2017. Diamond has worked on 17 Olympic broadcasts of the Summer and Winter Games, for the networks ABC and NBC, beginning with the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. Now an executive vice president for NBC, he is working on the telecasts of two more upcoming Olympics, the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. A Yale history graduate, 1974 was a turning point for Diamond. “I’ve seen so many fabulous events since my first relays in 1970, but my personal favorite is Denis Fikes becoming the Ivy League’s first sub four minute miler in 1974,” Diamond says. “It was one of those moments that helped me become a track—and Penn Relays—fan for life.” He joined ABC Sports that summer as the network’s Olympics researcher.
Honorary College Referee for Relay Events
Three decades after single-handedly winning the Pennsylvania state title for Penn Wood High School, Leroy Burrell – the head coach at his alma mater, the University of Houston – is this year’s Honorary College Referee for Relay Events. After a prestigious career in college and afterward as a sprinter and long jumper, Burrell retired from competition to become a coach. He has been the Houston coach for 19 years, winning numerous team championships in both Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference. Along the way he was the Penn Relays 100-meter champion in 1989 and ’90, he still holds the meet record at 10.10. Burrell was also NCAA champion in the long jump (1989-90) and 100 meters (1990). He has held world records in the 100, 4x1 and 4x2, and won gold and silver medals in the 1992 Olympic Games, seven years after capturing the 3A state title by winning both dashes and both horizontal jumps, accounting for all of Penn Wood’s points.
Honorary College Referee for Individual Events
Ralph Spry, coach of the 2006 NCAA championship women’s team at Auburn University, is this year’s Honorary College Referee for Individual Events. A long jumper of note in his own right, he has coached 29 individual NCAA champions – 19 outdoor, 10 indoor – as well as two world champions, the Bahamians Avard Moncur (400 in 2001) and Donald Thomas (high jump in 2007). The head coach at Auburn the past 15 years, Spry was 1983 Penn Relays and NCAA long jump champion for Mississippi, long- and triple-jump national junior college champion for Anne Arundel Community College in his home state of Maryland, and world military champion in the long jump in 1986 while an Army officer.
Dr. Robert Beale
Honorary High School Boys’ Referee
The coach at Cheltenham (Wyncote, Pa.) for 33 years, Bob Beale, is Honorary Referee for High School Boys for 2017. After his boys’ teams won the state championships in Pennsylvania in 2014 and 2015, he was named state Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association both seasons. Dr. Beale received a Doctor of Education degree from Temple in kinesiology and sports administration. Starting with the 4x4 in 1984, his Cheltenham teams have won 23 state championship relay or individual titles.
Honorary High School Girls’ Referee
Coach of the Relays’ dominant girls’ team in the current era, Michael Dyke is Honorary Referee for High School Girls for 2017. His teams at Edwin Allen – located in the mountains of Central Jamaica, Clarendon parish – have won six of the past eight sprint relay championships and have 15 overall Championships of America, trailing only the Jamaican rivals Vere Tech and Holmwood. Edwin Allen won the Girls Champs in Kingston this spring, its fourth team title in a row, defeating 2nd-place Hydel by some 50 points. They have also won 11 individual girls titles at Penn, in the high jump, long jump, discus and hurdles. The 2011 400H winner, Ristananna Tracey, was 5th in the Rio Olympics.