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Harlem Elementary PE Teacher Selected to Officiate State Championship
 Carl Gray, Harlem Elementary PE teacher, officiating the state 2A championship game. Photos by Randy O’Brien.
Photo by Randy O’Brien

Carl Gray, Harlem Elementary PE teacher, officiating the state 2A championship game.
Harlem PE Teacher Selected to Officiate State Championship

By Beth Dombrowa

During his 10 years as a physical education teacher at Harlem Elementary, Carl Gray estimates that he’s tied students’ shoelaces 16,219 times.

When he’s not teaching kids at school, Gray has a passion for officiating college and high school basketball games.   This year, he was again selected to officiate at the Texas UIL state tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio.  Few officials ever get a chance to referee a state championship game, but this year Gray was selected for the Class 2A final that pitted Muenster and Clarendon.  

As a member of the local Bay Area Chapter of officials, Gray’s name was submitted to the UIL for consideration to officiate the state tournament.  He’s unsure of how he was selected, but honored that he was.

“It was a huge privilege, not just for me but also for the Bay Area Chapter,” he said. “Many chapters around Texas don’t ever get playoffs or a championship game.”

The huge crowds weren’t an issue for Gray, who officiates college and local high school games almost every night of the week during the season. He originally started officiating for extra money, but that’s no longer his primary interest. A love of the game and an opportunity to see young people compete keeps him going.

Outcries from fans who don’t agree with his calls don’t bother Gray.

“One side of the stands usually doesn’t like a call,” he said. “I just ignore all of that and focus on the kids and the court to make sure the game is being played – and called – fairly.”

Gray, who was Harlem Elementary’ s Teacher of the Year in 2014-2015, learned he had a passion for elementary physical education when he received his first subbing job at Highlands Elementary. He believes the character traits the kids learn are as important as their physical activity, although he is a firm believer in participating in activities with students that keep them healthy.

“We talk about good sportsmanship. When you’re not as successful as you want to be, you offer congratulations to the winner and keep trying to get better,” he said. “We also discuss hardworking ethics, never giving up, and integrity.”

Gray teaches different games and sports to kids of varying ages at the school, there is one unit in the physical education curriculum that is a favorite for Gray: basketball.


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