Personalities

Profiles and stories about officials and people close to officiating.

Personalities

Personalities
Profiles and stories about officials and people close to officiating.

Tom O’Neill’s Long Haul

I t’s difficult for an official working a national championship game to avoid the spotlight. But during the opening minutes of the 1997 NCAA men’s...

Kelly Dine Covers All The Bases

The year 2020 was, well, not a great one for many people. But at least Kelly Elliott Dine had wonderful memories of 2019 to comfort...

Ability, Not Disability

will Fried, a basketball official in the Wichita, Kan., area, recently earned a degree in conflict analysis and resolution, which on the surface makes...

Chance Encounters of the Life-Changing Kind

Today, Jim Reynolds is one of MLB’s most accomplished umpires. His resume includes 16 postseason assignments, including two World Series, plus two All-Star games. But...

Muscles and Details Lead to Mike Defee’s Mastery

We'll waste no time addressing Mike Defee’s Popeye-the-Sailor-style arms in an effort to satisfy one of the rages on social media these days. Yes, perhaps...

Back From The Blindside

Veteran football official Robert Watts was recently elected president of the Austin (Texas) Football Officials Association (AFOA). It is all part of moving on with...

Yellow Flags to Checkered

In 2005, Dick Kitchens, from the Gold Leaf Football Officials Association in Tifton, Ga., gave then-17-year-old Jeremiah Thalheimer of Tifton a shot at working...

Ron Garretson: A Life in Officiating

With the ‘Godfather of NBA officials’ as his father, Ron Garretson learned from one of the best in the business. Then he made a...

One and Nearly Done

G was both excited and nervous as I took the field for my first high school game in late summer 2014. It was my third year...

NCAA Referee Keith Kimble Keeps It All In Perspective

Sure, basketball is important to NCAA men’s referee Keith Kimble. But that’s only 20 percent. It’s the other 80 percent of his life that...

It’s Black and White

H ave you ever wondered why officials wear black and white stripes? In the early days of football, referees wore white dress shirts, bow ties...

Home Bruns

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tiger Woods and Randy Bruns have more in common than you might expect. All three have been to the pinnacle of their...

Ron Groover is In the Groove

L Life sometimes can hinge upon a chance meeting. That’s how it worked for NCAA basketball official Ron Groover. From relaxing after a pickup basketball...

NFL Line Judge Jeff Bergman is All Business

Just as Jeff Bergman was starting to relax under the soothing stream of warm water that early spring afternoon in 1983, he was startled...

No Wake Zone

I don’t know if Little League Baseball, small-fry wrestling or other youth sports build or reveal character, but I do believe in the innocence of children. That belief...

Five Decades of Pam Young

When the U.S. Department of Education leveled the playing field for males and females in 1972 by ratifying Title IX, the agency did more than open doors and...

Fighting The Pandemic With Skills Learned As a Referee

As a member of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), I had the privilege of working the Women’s World Cup in France in 2019. Being...

Silent Stands Teach Us A Valuable Lesson

The 2020 New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) State Basketball Championships were able to conclude last March, crowning 10 boys’ and girls’ state champions. The...

“I’ll Never Forget”: Officiating Legends Recall Their Most Memorable Game

  It is June 14, 1998, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. The Chicago Bulls are playing the Utah Jazz in Game 6...

Pati Rolf Moved From College Coach to High Level Official and Has Never Looked...

A lime green toy pig, gifted to Pati Rolf by the distraught motorist who accidentally struck her on snowy Minnetonka Boulevard in Hopkins, Minn., nearly 50 years ago, endures all...

Former MLB Umpire Larry Young Brings Training to the World

Larry Young retired as an MLB umpire at the close of the 2007 season, bringing down the curtain on a career that spanned 24...

“Reggie The Ref” Is More Than Just a Nickname

Embed from Getty Images Nicknames are part of sports. “Hammerin’ Hank.” “The Greek Freak.” “A-Rod.” Sports officials go the same route. “Reggie the Ref.” Catchy nickname,...

Fruits of His Labor

The 44-year-old Julio Rivera- Torres, who now lives in Vancouver, Wash., began life in a small village called San Miguel Del Ojo de Agua...

Hall of Famer June Courteau has Left an Amazing Mark on Women’s Basketball Officiating

A well-read woman with an insatiable desire to cram yet more knowledge into her mind was sitting poolside at an Aruba timeshare dwelling in the summer of 2015. Simply reading doesn’t...

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