Fred Gracia

Rio Grande Valley High School Football Referee


A 1982 graduate from Mercedes High School, Fred Gracia grew up in the housing projects with Tiger Stadium as his backyard. Losing his father at the age of 8, he distracted himself from the grief by watching football practice and volunteering to do whatever he could to help the team. He would attend junior high and sub-varsity games and eventually he began helping officials on the sidelines. This passion for sports led him to play football through his junior year and letter in baseball for 2 years. 

In 1990, Fred joined the Texas Association of Sports Officials. 30 years later, he has officiated numerous sub-varsity games and close to 500 varsity games. He has also gone on to officiate 40 playoff games and a TAAP Division I state championship game in 2017. 

Fred enjoys being part of one of America’s favorite pastimes. Being a referee has become part of who he is. He loves the intensity of the athletes, the respect for the game as well as the rules of the game. Unfortunately, an incident on December of 2020 involving an assault on him by an athlete left him questioning whether he would return to the field he loves so much. In the end, he believes that good can come from a bad experience. 

Fred’s tragic event led to an important change by the Texas Legislature in extracurricular activities leading to stiffer consequences for an assault by an athlete and better protection for referees. Fred attributes his strong faith in God to be able to forgive and move forward.


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Proposed museum location is downtown Laredo, Texas, intersection, Farragut at Juarez Ave.