Alumni Profile Chris Healy baseball umpire
Dean of northern Nevada umpires
nears half-century love affair
Story and photos by STEVE MARTARANO ’79
Chris Healy ’79 (journalism) still remembers his first time umpiring a baseball game. It was April 1974 when he was an 18-year-old senior at Bishop Manogue High School. Reno American Little League needed a replacement umpire, and Healy jumped at the opportunity.
Though his 47th consecutive year as a Reno area umpire ended unexpectedly in mid-March due to COVID-19, Healy can still boast of being northern Nevada’s longest-tenured umpire. In addition to working mainly high school games, Healy has also umpired college and even professional games throughout his career. Now age 64, Healy says the excitement he felt when umpiring as a teen still motivates him.
“Yeah, I’m nervous,” said Healy, as he put on his gear before working his first game of the 2020 season at Reed High School in early March. “There are butterflies, and going into a new year, you wonder if you can still do this.”
Healy successfully called Reed’s win against Truckee, then umpired four more games before the week was out. While also serving as a commissioner in charge of scheduling northern Nevada umpires for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, he planned on working about 70 games through the summer before the pandemic prematurely ended the season.
“It’s so great just to be on the field with the young kids,” Healy said. “This is what I do. I don’t get to be the cranky old guy.”
The Reno native and former Nevada Sagebrush sports editor was umpiring Wolf Pack Baseball games while still in college. He worked as a sports reporter at Reno’s KTVN Channel 2 News from 1980-85 and served 30-plus years as a public information officer at the Nevada Department of Wildlife before retiring in 2017.
Healy’s wife Carol, brothers Mike and Con, and children Neil and Ryann all received degrees at Nevada.
Healy said he has no plans to stop umpiring and hopes to reach his 50th year, once he can get back on the field.
“Shortest year of my career,” Healy said about the half-dozen games he umpired in 2020. “But I’m a ‘glass is half full’ guy. I’m saving my legs for next year.”