We mourn the passing of our fellow official and friend Benjamin (BJ) Kennedy, Sr. on Friday, January 24, 2020. BJ had been sick before, but he did not let his being sick stop him from coaching and officiating. Regardless, BJ wanted to be at the meets doing what he loved, track and field. In 2006 BJ became a USATF certified official and enjoyed starting track events and officiating field events.
Track and field was a big part of the Kennedy family, his wife Angelyn and Benjamin “BJ” Kennedy, Jr. would volunteer as a family. Ben Jr. had been running since he was five years old. Both Angelyn and Ben, Jr. became officials too.
The Kennedy family have been great supporters of the race walk, signing up as umpires, starters, and volunteers. B.J. worked in all of these capacities plus the pit lane and DQ board for the race walk events.
In 2007, BJ branched off from another team to form his own, the Southeast Striders track and field team. His primary goal was to mentor the kids on his team and get them to college.
“My thing is to get somebody into college,” Kennedy Sr. said. “I don’t care if it’s a junior college, NCAA level three, two or one. Whatever it is [my goal is] to get them to a college.”
In 2018, BJ Kennedy received the Murray Sanford Service Award the highest award presented by the USATF Georgia Association Officials Committee. He received the award as a tribute to his dedication to the sport and his work as an official.
BJ will be greatly missed, and his legacy will live on in the athletes he inspired to do their best on and off the track. He will also be remembered for his dedication and tenacity for officiating track and field. But most of all, he will be remembered as a friend to all who knew him.
BJ Kennedy, Celebration of Life