Australian Umpire Kyira Cox has been recognised for her outstanding officiating by being awarded the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) 2018 Umpire of the Year at this year’s Congress.
The WBSC Congress is held every two years meaning the Umpire of the Year is awarded for the previous two years. Cox’s 2018 was deemed worthy of an award by the WBSC for her work within the game.
During that year, she was appointed to the Women’s World Championship in Japan, officiating first base in the gold medal game, and Asia Pacific Cup where she was plate umpire in the gold medal game.
The award caps off a big week for Cox who was also recently named as an Umpire for the 2020 U18 Men’s World Cup to be held in Palmerston North, New Zealand 22 February – 1 March.
“I have no words really, I’m over the moon, it’s great to see WBSC recognise Australian umpires,” said a surprised and ecstatic Cox today.
“The funny thing was it was someone from Italy who messaged me and that’s how I found out about the award then I got messages from New Zealand and other places around the world.”
She says the praise from her international peers speaks volumes of how tight the umpiring community is here and abroad.
“It just shows you do make lifelong friends worldwide and we may not speak the same language, but we speak the same softball language,” joked Cox.
“We’ve all got that common love for the sport and that showed through all the messages not only with my success but all the umpires from around the world named in the hall of fame yesterday as well.”
While the international support has been great, Cox says the help she’s had from her fellow Aussie umpires has well and truly got her to where she is in the game.
“I’ve got a few people who have helped me out, I’m currently doing some work with Andrew Rindfleish, but someone I really want to thank is Darrell Shephard, he was the one who actually took me under his wing right at the start 20 or so years ago.
“When I started umpiring he saw something in me that nobody else saw, so I really want to thank him for all the hours he put into me as a junior umpire.
“There have been many other senior umpires who haven’t officially been a mentor but I’ve taken on their advice, their knowledge and their wisdom and built it into my game.
“It’s definitely not just me, it’s the entire community that get recognition for this award.”
Cox’s international appointments will continue in 2020 with her calling the shots in the 2020 U18 Men’s World Cup in New Zealand, but of course her ultimate goal would be to earn selection to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“That’s definitely something I’ve been working towards along with a few other Australian umpires and obviously the greater umpire community around the world all want to be there too.
“That would be the absolute highlight of my career if I was successful to get a role there, I understand it may or may not happen but it’s definitely something I’ve been working towards with my mentors.”
Before New Zealand, Cox will be busy officiating throughout the Summer of Softball at the National Championships, followed by Asia Pacific Cup and Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball duties.
The full list of awards is available at wbsc.org.