It’s been an offseason of transition for some of the officials who have managed to become household names in recent years.
John Cahill and Mike Kitts will both make the move from the court to administrative roles following the 2013-14 season, with Cahill becoming the coordinator of officials for the “new” Big East and Kitts moving into a similar role in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
And last week, long-time official Ed Hightower stated during an appearance on Spartan Nation Radio that the 2013-14 season would be his last as a college referee.
Hightower’s officiated college games for 31 years, working in leagues such as the Big Ten and Big East. The superintendent of schools in Edwardsville, Ill., Hightower has worked 12 Final Fours and was named the Naismith Division I Men’s College Basketball Official of the Year in 1992.
When an official becomes a household name as Hightower has over the years, there’s certainly no shortage of opinions in regards to his work. And his thoughts on the best compliment he can receive seem to reflect that:
This is not a job just for you to go out and make income. It’s a job that you should try and refine your skills, improve upon what you do and make the game better for the players. That’s what this is about. So that both teams have an equal opportunity to win the game. I guess the best compliment that I enjoy reading is, Boy he doesn’t like our team. Then we go to the next school, He doesn’t like our team. When we get all the way through the Big 10, I don’t like any of the teams. It’s all about being fair and not doing any more for one team than the other.
The question now is what kind of reception Hightower will receive when he enters Big Ten (and other conferences) arenas for the final time this coming winter.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.