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After 48 years, his last hoorah in high school sports

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Terry Bupp ended his officiating career in the same place where his love of sports began.

Bupp, a 1964 William Penn graduate, retired after working as a member of the three-man officiating crew in the South Western at William Penn girls’ basketball game Friday night.

It’s the last hoorah, in a way, for Bupp and high school sports.

Bupp, 69, walked away as head football coach at West York after 33 years in 2005.

A few years later, he stepped down after 18 years as the Bulldogs baseball coach.

And, last weekend, he severed his longest tie to local high school sports. The longest-tenured official in the York-Adams chapter of PIAA basketball officials, Bupp is walking away from officiating after 48 years.

“You know when you sort of get to the end,” Bupp said. “You have that feeling, the time’s up."

He turned to face the crowd during pregame warmups, waving when William Penn acknowledged his final game. Just moments before, he reached into the bleachers to hug two of his grandchildren when he posed for a snapshot.

“There were so many games, but the ones you always look forward to doing are like a district final up at Hershey," he said. "I got to do that, I got to do a lot of county finals.”

Bupp registered with the York-Adams chapter of officials in September 1969.

“It was very easy for me, because my father did it for many years,” Bupp said. “He was a softball and basketball official, and I think he might have done it for 50 years.

“Even when I was a little boy, I’d go to games and watch him officiate.”

Bupp won’t be completely removed from local sports. He plans to continue as a manager in Special Olympics. He still golfs. A grandfather of six, with another grandchild on the way, he expects to remain busy.

Bupp began officiating boys’ basketball games before the York-Adams area even had a girls’ basketball league. But it soon became apparent, he would have some awkward encounters if he kept officiating boys’ games.

"I was a boys' basketball official, and that was OK until all of a sudden I was the head football coach at West York (starting in 1982). The crowds started taking notice, especially in Dover. They would yell, 'This isn't football Bupp! They aren't supposed to be able to tackle!' They were just going bananas."

But during the same time, the York-Adams chapter of officials desperately needed officials for girls’ basketball in the 1980s.

So Bupp made the jump, around 1984, and was surprised by what he found.

“They were so polite, they were so happy to see us … and I really enjoyed it,” Bupp said.

He no longer had issues with the crowd riding him for any perceived conflicts of interest. He no longer had to worry about the awkward possibility he would officiate a player he coached in football at West York.

So he remained in the girls' game, an official even after he stepped away from his teaching job and coaching duties in football and baseball.

But Bupp didn't want to hang on. He wanted to step down while he could still officiate at a high level. It was the right time, and the right place, to finally step away.