In last month's newsletter, we introduced you to Kevin Hetherington, the Culligan City of Palms Classic supervisor of officiating. As a 40-year veteran of officiating, Hetherington knows a thing or two about what makes a great referee. It is for this reason that the responsibility of recruiting and scheduling the 50 or so officials needed for the country's No. 1 high school basketball tournament rests solely on his shoulders. As at any tournament, COP officials are responsible for enforcing the rules without bias, managing the speed of the game and above all maintaining a high level of authority on the court.
We had the pleasure of meeting with Hetherington to learn about the process of this all to important task.
Q. What is the process for selecting the COP officials?
A. The process begins during the previous year's tournament when officials begin to inquire about officiating for the next year. However, not all officials are able to return year after year. As such, each summer I travel the the state of Florida visiting a number of summer camps and tournaments to scout various officials. With connections in the NBA and NCAA officiating circles new talent is always being presented for assessment.
Q. What are you looking for when evaluating a potential official?
A. Their are a variety of elements one could review when assessing officials. I tend to focus my attention evaluating their control of the game while on the court, understanding of the rules and experience officiating. Good officiating comes from years of confident judgment and presence of mind in stressful situations.
Q. What is the biggest challenge in recruiting officials?
A. The biggest challenge is two-fold. First, the tournament's close proximity to the holiday season can cause scheduling issues. Second, the City of Palms is an official FHSAA tournament which means each referee must be registered with the state. These two factors often weigh on an official's ability to attend the COP. Despite these hurdles we continue to provide the best officiating in the country for the COP.
Check out next month's newsletter when we discuss the history of officiating at the Culligan City of Palms Classic.