IBJNews

Top NCAA hoops official retiring after 2015 season

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

John Adams started refereeing basketball games for grocery money.

He's leaving the sport as the head of college basketball officiating. On Thursday, the 65-year-old Adams said he will retire following April's national championship game. Adams took the job in 2008-09 and said it was the "perfect time" to leave following a championship in his hometown.

"Since I've been out of the military I've only had six jobs," said Adams, who served in the Indiana and New York Air National Guard from 1971-77. "I told the first (NCAA) committee I worked for that I felt like I was living the dream, and I told the committee yesterday that I was still living the dream. How else does a guy like me get involved in arguably the best sporting event?"

The NCAA said a search for a replacement will begin this fall.

For more than four decades, Adams attended 50 to 60 college games each year to evaluate officials and better acquaint himself with refs, coaches, conference coordinators and reporters. He earned the respect of many with quiet, even-handed explanations of questionable calls and controversial decisions.

It was a long way from his start—officiating intramural games at Indiana State, the school he graduated from in 1971. Adams didn't make it back to the court until 1973 after seeing a couple of poorly officiated high school games.

"I thought, 'Man I'm better than these guys and I should be a ref," he said. "I did it, literally, to make ends meet."

Adams said he used the $17 paychecks to buy food for himself and his new wife, and he never turned away from the game he loved again.

Adams served as officiating coordinator for three conferences with headquarters in central Indiana—the Horizon League, the Great Lakes Valley Conference in Division II and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in Division III.

He also spent nine years evaluating refs at the NCAA tournament. But until 2004, he was still a part-timer in officiating circles and a full-timer in financial services. Four years later, Adams was promoted to national coordinator of the men's basketball refs, succeeding Hank Nichols.

The silver-haired Adams, a familiar face in the Midwest, soon became a national figure who worked routinely with all the officials, conference coordinators and regional advisers.

Dan Gavitt, the NCAA vice president for men's basketball, credited Adams with providing more consistency and clarity in calling games and creating more defined standards. Gavitt also thanked Adams for improving communication among officials, coaches and media.

"We've gotten younger, more athletic and more diverse in officiating, and I think the officiating has gotten better," Adams said. "So the goals I set out six years ago, we accomplished. It is time and it's also a chance to do it in my hometown. It's kind of a perfect storm."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

ADVERTISEMENT