Violet Palmer, coordinator of women’s basketball officials for the Pac-12, West Coast, Western Athletic, Big Sky and Big West conferences, received the 2023 Gold Whistle Award on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in Riverside, Calif., during the Celebrate Officiating Gala, sponsored by Fox 40 International. The Gala capped off the 2023 Sports Officiating Summit.

“Violet has shined a positive light on officiating for decades,” NASO Founder Barry Mano said. “She broke trail in the NBA. She has become revered as a collegiate coordinator for a plurality of conferences. She served for four years on the NASO board. All these things show her commitment to making officiating better. Her unanimous selection was fated by the work she has done. Few have blazed such trails in a manner that makes all of us in the officiating world proud. ”

Palmer’s officiating career included stops at many of the highest levels of basketball. She was assigned five NCAA women’s Final Fours and two NCAA women’s Championship games. She worked in the WNBA, including the 1997 finals. That same year she made history, becoming the first female to officiate an NBA game when she refereed the season opener. In 2006 she became the first woman to officiate an NBA playoff game and in 2014 became the first woman to officiate the league’s all-star game. In total, she worked nine NBA postseason assignments.

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Violet Palmer served on the NASO board of directors from 2005-08.

“This is an amazing award” Palmer said. “Having the Summit in Riverside and being able to celebrate with family and friends was extra special.”

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