Billy Schrivner’s game of life is nearing an end, but his sense of humor and appreciation for 81 blessed years remain intact.
On Jan. 24 doctors told the popular sports official from Jackson that his cancer has spread. They took him off medication and told him he has three to six months to live.
Schrivner rests comfortably in his favorite chair at home and stays busy on the telephone. One day last week he received 127 calls.
But nothing has surprised him more than a call on Friday, informing him of plans to honor his contributions to West Tennessee sports.
In a Thursday night meeting at Old Country Store, a dozen coaches sports officials, friends, media representatives and city leaders settled on three proposals:
1. Ridgecrest Road Extended, from F.E. Wright Drive east, past The Ballpark of Jackson to Tenn. 70, will be designated as Billy Schrivner Drive by the city and have signage placed along that stretch. Official addresses, however, will not change for businesses and Liberty Tech High School, which are located in the designated area.
2. The gym floor at Oman Arena will become Billy Schrivner Court and have his name on the surface.
3. The Coach of the Year award, given by the Southwest Football Officials Association, will bear Schrivner’s name. He is supervisor and assigning officer for the organization.
All three proposals have to be approved by the parties involved, but Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist and Larry Lewis, president of the officials’ association, said they anticipate no problems.
Told about the coach’s award bearing his name, he quipped, “The award goes to a coach, not an official, but I’m not going to balk at that. The coaches may refuse the trophy with my name on it, but that’s up to them.”
Donations are being accepted to pay for the process of putting Schrivner’s name on Oman Arena’s basketball court. The cost estimate is $1,500. For more information call Bill Hamilton at 731-267-4858.
Schrivner officiated basketball from 1952 to 1985 and football from 1953 to 1988. He has officiated nearly every high school sports. He worked the NCAA Division II football championship game in 1986 and two NAIA football championship games. He has since worked as a supervisor of officials.
He is a founding father of the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame, which began in 1986. He has been inducted into that hall of fame, the TSSAA Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in San Antonio, Texas.
He credits Margie, his bride of 58 years, for keeping him focused as he worked full time and also officiated. Her love, along with family, friends and faith, are keeping his spirits high.