West Monroe resident Donnie Aultman is a lead analyst by day – and a football referee by night.
Now, his 25-year journey has taken him to college football’s biggest stage.
“When you get that email and it says, ‘Congratulations, you’re going go be officiating the National Championship Game – the CFP National Championship Game, you go ‘Wait, a minute? Who is that from? Is that spam?”
No, it wasn’t junk mail. Donnie Aultman did receive a special message confirming he’d officiate this season’s final collegiate football contest feature Alabama and Ohio State. With so many cancellations and postponements in 2020, very few predicted we’d get to this point.”
“There was certainly now way when I began this season I would’ve said I would be working the National Championship to end the season. At the beginning of the season, we were told, ‘Be lucky if you get four or five games,'” says Aultman.
The eldest Aultman is part of a sports loving family. His son Reece a former West Monroe kicker, his son Holden a basketball star at Claiborne Christian. But, Aultman’s love for football traces back to his high school days. He was part of Ruston’s 1988 state championship squad.
“I wanted to do baseball – that was back in 1995, ” says Aultman. “I had just got a job. I wasn’t really able to take off because a lot of baseball back then was early afternoon. One day at my job they put a spotlight about a guy that worked at Century Link, and he also officiated football. And, he took me out on the field at Ouachita High School for a spring game. I didn’t even have a full uniform. From then, history I guess you can say.”
Before Aultman and the six other referees join the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes on the field, they’re put through the ringer.
“We’ll have about six, seven zoom meetings before the game, ” says Aultman. “Just a way for us to get to know each other as far as how we officiate. We’ll have a lot of meetings with producers and things like that. And, Monday when we get there, Monday will be really chilled out.”
Aultman’s 25-plus years of hard work has finally paid off. But, Mrs. Aultman quickly reminded him of his duties at home, before going to Miami.
“I went and told her. She sat there shocked. She said, “Congratulations! But, there’s clothes to get out of the dryer.”
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