Camp History

Circa 1983: For an amateur umpire to get any formal umpire training, they had to give up five to six weeks away from their families and jobs to attend umpires school. This was something that an amateur umpire, not looking for a job in professional baseball could not afford to do.

While waiting on a flight at Hartsfield-Atlanta airport, three umpire friends recognized that there was not a weekend camp, nor clinic to teach amateur umpires, which utilized major league umpires.

In the summer of 1984, the idea of incorporating Major League umpires became a reality as National League umpires Ed Vargo and "Satch Davidson" agreed to start the Southern Umpires Camp with former minor league and college umpire, Tony Thompson.

In February of 1985, history was made as the Southern Umpires Camp was started in Atlanta, Georgia. The camp sold out and was a huge success. This would set the pace for continuous sellouts and the model for other camps to follow. The Southern Umpires Camp was the first camp in history to incorporate the two-man system of umpiring, rules tests, classroom sessions, and cage work as the curriculum for the camp session. As the years progressed the camp continued to grow and the need was recognized for an advanced umpires camp. This advanced camp would teach the three-man umpire system, along with other advanced mechanics. Most Youth, American Legion, AABC and Division I conferences started utilizing three umpires in 1988. In 1989 the International Umpires Camp was started and the most respected National League umpire during that time, Doug Harvey, joined the staff.

Amateur umpires from around the United States and other countries would come to the camps over and over again. Umpires from 46 of the 48 contiguous states, as well as umpires from Alaska, Germany and Puerto Rico have attended the camps. In all, both camps have trained over 2250 amateur umpires. Many of these umpires have advanced to the Little League World Series, MSBL World Series, American Legion World Series, NAIA World Series, NJCAA World Series, NCAA Division I, II, and III World Series. The camp has also sent the overwhelming majority of 250 students to the Harry Wendelstedt School for umpires, with many earning jobs in professional baseball. In fact, the first Southern Umpires Camp produced Mark Barron, our first graduate to ever umpire a game in the major leagues. In 1999 Marvin Hudson became our first graduate to be hired full time by Major League Baseball.

The Southern Umpires Camp celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2003. This was the largest gathering of current and former major league umpires (who were instructors) ever. Students were treated to one on one sessions with legends of umpiring, and also with current MLB umpires. The 20th anniversary camp was topped off by a gala banquet recognizing the umpires, and more importantly, recognizing the September 11th victims, our military men and women, fire, police, and EMS.

Each year the Southern and International umpires camps receives a loyal following of students from local associations who take advantage of our discount program (Click here for discount information). Many youth, high school, and college associations send over 10 students per year. The Georgia Officials Association Has sent a record number of students to the camps.

While teaching umpiring to students (ranging in age from 14 to 68) is our primary objective, we are especially proud of the staff and students contributions to various charities over the years. The camps charitable contributions are given to churches, high schools and colleges whose facilities we utilize and to families in need. We are also extremely proud of our continuous donation to the Shriners Burn Hospital in Cincinnati. The staff and students have donated over $18,000.00 to charity, and the camps have been recorded in the Gold Book Society by the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Welcome to our new website. Please take time to browse around. If you are a former student, visit our alumni page and let us know where you are. If you are a prospective student, browse around, sign up and let us train you. We have trained umpires that have never put on a mask, and we have trained umpires that have been in professional baseball. If you love umpiring, learning from the best, then our camps are for you. We look forward to seeing you.

Major League Umpires Who Have Instructed at the Southern Umpires Camp

  • JOE BRINKMAN (AL 1973-1999 / MLB 2000 to present)
  • JERRY CRAWFORD (NL 1976-1999 / MLB 2000 to present)
  • GARY DARLING (NL 1988-1999 / MLB 2002 to present)
  • DAVID "SATCH" DAVIDSON (NL 1969-1984)
  • BOB DAVIDSON (NL 1983-1999)
  • GERRY DAVIS (NL 1985-1999 / MLB 2000 to present)
  • PAUL EMMEL (NL 1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • BRUCE FROEMMING (NL 1971-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • RICH GARCIA (AL 1975-1999
  • TOM HALLION (NL 1986-1999) (MLB 2007 - present)
  • ED HICKOX (AL 1998-1999)
  • MARVIN HUDSON (NL 1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • RANDY MARSH (NL 1982-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • PAUL NAUERT (NL 1999 / MLB 2003 - present)
  • FRANK PULLI (NL 1972-1999)
  • MIKE REILLY (AL 1976-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • STEVE RIPPLEY (NL 1984-1999 / MLB 2000-2003)
  • DICK STELLO (NL 1969-1987)
  • TERRY TATA (NL 1973-1999)
  • LARRY VANOVER (NL 1993-1999 / MLB 2002 - present)
  • ED VARGO (NL 1960-1983)

Learn more about the Southern Umpire Camp

Major League Umpires Who Have Instructed at the International Umpires Camp

  • JOE BRINKMAN (AL 1973-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • JERRY CRAWFORD (NL 1976-1999 / MLB - present)
  • PHIL CUZZI (NL 1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • GARY DARLING (NL 1983-1999 / MLB 2002 - present)
  • BOB DAVIDSON (NL 1983-1999)
  • GERRY DAVIS (NL 1985-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • RICH GARCIA (AL 1975-1999)
  • DOUG HARVEY (NL 1962-1992)
  • MARVIN HUDSON (NL 1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • PAUL NAUERT (NL 1999 / MLB 2003 - present)
  • FRANK PULLI (NL 1972-1999)
  • ED RAPUANO (NL 1991-1999 / MLB 2000 - present)
  • ED VARGO (NL 1960-1983)
  • HARRY WENDELSTEDT (NL 1966-1998)

Learn more about the International Umpire Camp