There isn’t a college basketball fan in Decatur and Macon County who doesn’t know Big Ten and NCAA basketball official Ed Hightower.
The Big Ten Conference announced this afternoon (Thursday) that longtime NCAA basketball referee and educator Dr. Ed Hightower has been named Special Advisor for Basketball Officiating, effective immediately.
In this role, Hightower will help Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren review, assess, and audit the conference’s women’s and men’s basketball officiating programs and provide regular feedback and assessments of those programs to ensure that Big Ten Conference and NCAA officiating standards and expectations are upheld.
“Dr. Hightower has distinguished himself as an exceptional basketball official, educator, and leader during his storied career,” said Warren. “This combination of experiences makes him an ideal candidate to work with the Big Ten Conference to continue to enhance our women’s and men’s basketball officiating programs while serving as a mentor to both current and future basketball officials.”
Hightower officiated NCAA basketball for 36 years, including 12 Final Four appearances, earning the Naismith Men’s College Official of the Year award in 1992. He retired as superintendent of the Edwardsville School district in 2015 following a 19-year tenure leading the district. Hightower received his bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist’s degrees from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and his Doctorate in Education Administration from Saint Louis University.
“I am proud to join the Big Ten Conference to work once again with the strongest basketball conference in the nation,” said Hightower. “I look forward to making an impact with the talented group of women’s and men’s basketball officials, student-athletes, coaches and administrators from all across the Big Ten.”
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.