BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- SWAC baseball history was made as Natola Hawthorne became the first female to officiate a Division I baseball game.
On Feb. 28 she called the plate for Alabama A&M-Stillman College.
“Being the first woman is surreal,” said Hawthorne. “Mr. Holloway and his ability to see my potential and take a chance on me made me want to do nothing but make him and this conference proud. My goal was to work hard, finding out I would be the first woman was extra.”
Hawthorne, who has been officiating since 2017, has worked in three conferences and will have the opportunity to officiate additional league games this season.
“We are elated to have Hawthorne on the SWAC staff because she has demonstrated the ability to umpire at the Division I level proficiently,” said SWAC coordinator of baseball official Robert Holloway. “Her being a barrier breaker as a minority female is icing on the cake.”
“Being able to not only tell others how hard work is its own reward but showing them as well as my driving purpose,” said Hawthorne. “With my organization, “She Calls It All,” I want to tap into women who no longer are in the game as athletes, but their experience and knowledge is valuable and can be used to grow the world of officiating.”