Officially first: Doramus-Kinley is first woman to head football crew


By Travis Mounts

CLEARWATER – On Friday night at the Clearwater vs. Wamego high school football game, Carmen Doramus-Kinley of Clearwater made Kansas officiating history.
At kickoff, she became the first woman to head a high school football officiating crew ever in the state.
Doramus-Kinley began officiating volleyball 21 years ago, and added basketball in 2011. In 2019, she became a football official.
On Friday, she directed the crew of officials, handled the coin toss, and announced all the penalties on a wireless microphone. After the first quarter, she was presented a certificate to mark the historic occasion.
Doramus-Kinley visited with TSnews in 2019 during her first football season. During a volleyball officials camp Doramus organized in Clearwater earlier that year, she heard from a high school league commissioner that a football officiating crew was dissolving.
“So my fiancé asked me, ‘If I put a crew together, will you be my back judge?’ I said, ‘Sure thing,’” Doramus-Kinley said.
From there, Doramus-Kinley studied, passed a rules exam, and attended camps and clinics with her then-fiancé (now husband), Keith Kinley, and the other members of their new crew. They officiated Friday night football games all season, with Doramus-Kinley also continuing to officiate volleyball matches.
Football officials don’t simply show up, officiate, and leave, Doramus said.
“On game day, if kickoff is at 7 p.m., we get there by 5 or 5:15. We have our own pre-game to go through, to make sure we’re all on the same page,” she said. “Then afterwards, we get the film. On Tuesday nights, when I got home from my volleyball match, we would watch high school film. We could look at plays, look at the calls that were made to make sure we’re doing things right. We want to prepare and make sure we’re doing the best job we can for those kids.”
She made a memorable call on one of the first penalties of the game. Unfortunately, the call went agains the hometown Clearwater Indians.
“False start, everybody but the center,” she said, meaning that everyone else on the line of scrimmage was guilty of the infraction.
When on the football field, Doramus tucked her long hair under her hat. She has no desire to “stand out” because of her gender, at least not during games.
“I have to work harder, trying to do the best job that I can at making it a level playing field,” she said. “It is harder, but the good thing is that I have a very good support system, and the officiating community around me is fantastic. … I’m doing it to be the best, and not just because I’m a female. I will earn it, I’m going to earn it, and not just because I’m a girl.”