In the world of sports, you hear so much about the record breakers and the coaches with big-time reputations. You read about the Hall of Famers, the Bob Knights and Mike Krzyzewskis of the world. There has been so much made about Barry Bonds this week.
What about the people who are behind the scenes, those who are so vital and incredibly important to the success of their given sport.
Word came out recently that Hank Nichols will retire from his post running the NCAA basketball officials. He was one of the most brilliant workers blowing the whistle for years, and a top-flight administrator after he left the court. Nichols dedicated his life to his profession, and did it in first-class style.
He went around lecturing and promoting the sport he loved. As a referee, when he walked into a building before a game, it was like the John Wooden of officials. You knew it was a big game and coaches understood they would get a fair shot.
Guys like Nichols make the game so special with their passion and love for it. The dedication for it went beyond the call of duty. Officials don't make the mega-dollars, but they certainly are an integral part of the game.
I wish Hank all the best in his retirement.