She worked high school games before moving up to the colleges and eventually to the MEAC, where she is the first woman to be a crew chief. Eastin also trains officials in football and basketball at SE Sports Officiating, a company she owns.

"There are probably not as many women (students) as I'd like," said Eastin, who now lives in Tempe, Ariz.

Eastin mentioned former NFL referees Red Cashion and Jerry Markbreit as significant boosters for her career. And she cited NBA referee Violet Palmer as one of her inspirations.

Palmer began officiating NBA games in 1997 and still is doing it.

Bernice Gera became the first woman to umpire in baseball's minor leagues when she worked a New York-Penn League game in 1972. Pam Postema (1989) umpired major league spring training games. Championed by commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, Postema made it up to Triple-A for six seasons. She was fired a few months after Giamatti's death, filed a sex discrimination suit against baseball and settled out of court 5 1/2 years later.

While Eastin says she has dealt with sexism during her career, she doesn't harp on it. Plus, players, coaches and other officials have been supportive - for the most part.

"I am sure everyone knows there will be some of that along the way," she said, referring to sexism. "I try to stick with people who want me to succeed, not the people who don't want a woman to succeed."

Can she succeed? Eastin insists she has no back-down in her makeup.

"I'll be working even harder," she said, "to show I am capable and I am where I should be."