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    Byrd did it on and off the court

    By Mark AboyounMark AboyounMark Aboyoun,


    If you were at a youth basketball game or watched one of the infamous Shoe City Classics, there’s a good chance you saw Lou Byrd refereeing the sport he loved. A kind soul with an infectious smile, Byrd died June 6 at the age of 67.

    He leaves behind his son Jordan Byrd, his brother Jeff Byrd, as well as his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

    Lou was a member of the Lynn community and made a lasting impression – one that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

    During his high school years, Lou was considered one of the top athletes to come out of Lynn Tech. Scoring more than 1,000 points while leading the football team as its quarterback, his athletic ability was second to none.

    One of Jeff’s favorite memories of his brother came in the Harry Agganis All-Star Games.

    “One of the big games we had in Lynn, his senior year, we put together the first-ever Harry Agganis Basketball Game at Manning Bowl before the football game,” Jeff said. “Me, Arthur Fiste, and Dave Johnson got the AD to approve it. We had a lot of the North Shore kids like (Tony) Thurman, Scott Brown from Wakefield, and Louie. They played against a lot of good guys like Jerry Scott and Rudy Williams. Louie had 26 points against them. It was something to be remembered.”

    Friend and Lynn Classical boys basketball coach Marvin Avery gave Lou high praise for his athletic abilities.

    “I knew Lou for 30 years. He’s one of the reasons why I went to Lynn Tech and he’s just a good friend of mine. Not only on the court, but off the court, too,” Avery said. “I took him under my wing and he coached with me in AAU for 10 years. When he was in high school, he was probably one of the best players in the country.”

    Former Tech Coach and Principal Jim Ridley also spoke highly of Lou on the basketball court.

    “When he was in high school, he was such a great player, but you wouldn’t know that because he was humble,” Ridley said. “He scored 1,000 points in two years without the 3-point line. He was dominant around the basket. He was only around 6-1. His footwork was before his time.”

    Not only was Lou smooth on the court, but, according to Jeff, he was that way on the dance floor, too.

    “He was a well-known dancer. He was winning all the top disco dance competitions in the early ’80s in Boston, New York, and Connecticut,” he said.

    Despite those abilities, Lou made his biggest impact through youth sports in the community.

    “Lou was a very strong advocate for Lynn youth sports,” Avery said. “He was always around the game helping the kids, whether it be by reffing, giving them water, or whatever they needed.”

    “As good as he was as a high school basketball and football player, when he came back to referee around 20 years ago, he really made an impression on the younger kids,” Ridley said. “As he was reffing, he would also be coaching the kids and explaining the game to them. He didn’t just referee; he was explaining the game to the kids to help them improve.”

    Ward 6 City Councilor Fred Hogan, founder of the Shoe City Classic (formerly known as the Hogan Basketball Classic), talked about how Lou was there from the start, always asking if any help were needed.

    “Since day one, Lou was always there to help whenever I needed anything, and our relationship took off since,” Hogan said. “Anywhere you needed Lou to be, whether it was reffing or being part of something like Mr. Ridley and the (AAU) Thundercats, or going to see some basketball games in Boston, Lou was there.”

    Lou did it for the kids and, according to Jeff, when he refereed games, he made sure every kid played.

    “During tournaments, he’d go over to the coach and say, ‘You sure you don’t want to make a sub?’ insinuating that the coach needs to sub someone who hasn’t gotten playing time,” Jeff said. “That’s the type of ref he was and the type of person he was. He always cared about the children.”

    According to Jeff, Lou devoted the last three or four years of his life to his grandson, Isaiah Shepard, “who he used to pick up every day at school and take him to hang with my grandson. They couldn’t separate the two kids. … He loved to ref. Just last week, he was refereeing games at Marian Gardens.”

    The City of Lynn will miss Lou and his contributions. If you wish to donate to the Byrd family, a GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for funeral costs.

    Click the link below for more details on Louis funeral services.

    The post Byrd did it on and off the court appeared first on Itemlive .

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