What began, in 1982, as a small group of our finest officials, blossomed into a much larger contingency in just a few years. Early on, Don Peck, Vern Ringle, Dick Simon, Kerry Glaesmer, Fred Duguay, and Tom Post, formed the skeleton of the Northern Sports Officials Association by having meetings at Inland Lakes High School.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association had been urging officials to try to “unionize”. They were asking local officials to organize better training, believing that this would then, give the group a bigger voice in policies involving officiating.
Fast forward to 1986-87. The NSOA put a call out to all new and experienced basketball officials in the Traverse City area and then held their first local meeting at Timberlanes Bowling Alley, in the pub. Don Peck, Clint Kerr, and Tom Post were the first officers. Clint designed the patch, which we still use, dues and a treasury were established, and semi monthly meeting were organized to train and educate. That first roster contained about 15 names, many of whom are still involved.
By 1990, the roster of officials had grown to include other sports including football, softball, and baseball.
The NSOA also held the first “NSOA Basketball Training Camp” in the early 1990’s. Camp clinicians included NCAA Officials Ted Hillary, Ron Winter, and Mike Conlin. Over 40 campers from the area got the latest video, audio, on court instruction from some of the “best” officials in the US. The NSOA continues that educational process with football and basketball clinics every year.
As the MHSAA encouraged its officiating congregation to join local officials associations, the NSOA continued to expand in numbers. It still continues to be the largest in Northern Michigan with over 150 members and associate members. New sports have been added that now include Volleyball and Lacrosse.
Year in and year out, large numbers of our NSOA officiating members are chosen to work the MHSAA tournaments. This is a testament to our MHSAA Sports Specific Trainers, and all of the hard work that they have put in over the years.
We were the first Association in Northern Michigan to use Arbiter, the officials assigning program, with local MHSAA Registered Assigners now assigning over 2000 games a year in various sports.
Our board with current President Barb Beckett, Vice President/Secretary Dave Taberski, Treasurer Tom Cosgrove, Training Coordinator Bill Parker, and Member at Large Jan Veliquette, continue to put in many hours to ensure that we have a voice.
The goals that were set in 1982 and again in 1987, have never changed or been altered. We exist to provide education, training, consistency, and a voice in all matters regarding officiating.
Thank you all the charter members of the NSOA!