INDIANAPOLIS---Hank Nichols, the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating since 1986, has announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2007-08 season.
Nichols, who officiated in 10 Final Fours, including six NCAA men’s basketball national championship games, also served the Association as the secretary/editor of the Rules Committee from 1991-97.
“To have been involved with Division I men’s basketball during such a positive growth period for the sport is something for which I am truly honored and humbled,” said Nichols, whose officiating resume also includes three National Invitation Tournament title games and the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games. “For more than three decades, I have been fortunate to do something I always dreamed of doing. It’s been one heck of a ride.”
Tom O’Connor, assistant vice president and director of athletics at George Mason University and incoming chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, praised Nichols’ contributions to the game.
“Hank’s extraordinary contributions to the game of college basketball have not gone unnoticed by those who closely follow the game,” O’Connor said. “Athletics administrators, coaches and his professional colleagues in every corner of the world are aware of the dramatic progress in officiating that has taken place under Hank’s leadership. The game is much better due to Hank’s hard work and leadership.”
O’Connor said a search committee that includes members of both the championship and rules committees has been formed to begin the process of hiring Nichols’ successor.
In 1983, Nichols became the first person to officiate the NIT and NCAA championship games in the same year. The Niagara Falls, NewYork, native played basketball and baseball while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Villanova as well as a doctorate from Duke University, and was a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Among numerous awards, Nichols is a member of the Philadelphia Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the Villanova Athletic Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame. “I look forward to an effective transition to my successor in order to assure the momentum that has been built continues into the future. The game never leaves you, so I look forward to contributing in a variety of ways going forward,” said Nichols, who also serves the international game as chair of the USA Basketball Officials Committee and as a member of the FIBA Technical Commission.
Larry Keating, senior associate athletics director at University of Kansas and outgoing chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, said that it is of utmost importance that Nichols’ legacy of developing quality officiating continues.
“It is imperative that we find a candidate who can demonstrate proficiency in knowing the rules of the game and officiating techniques and mechanics,” said Keating. “Hank helped promote better communication between a wide range of constituents, and will leave a legacy of dedication, commitment and quality that won’t easily be replaced.”