It’s a conversation nearly every sports fan has had. In Keith Fisher’s case, it led to a Hall of Fame career.
“It goes back to a comment my wife (Brenda) made after we had watched Tecumseh play a high school basketball game one Friday night many years ago,” Fisher said. “She made the comment, ‘I think you could (officiate) as well as those two guys did.’”
The next game, when he saw an official he knew working it, Fisher asked how he could get involved.
Last Saturday, Fisher — along with the late David Nash of Urbana — was inducted into the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Officials Hall of Fame.
Nash could have gone in a few years earlier. But as the president of the Southwestern Ohio Officials Association in Springfield, he vetoed his nomination several times, according to friend and fellow official Matt Warner.
“He always said there was someone out there just as deserving or more deserving than he was,” Warner said of Nash, who died in April 2013. “He would never let himself be nominated. Everyone else’s needs came before his.”
Fisher, a 1964 Tecumseh graduate, has officiated high school volleyball for 36 years and works as the Southwestern association’s secretary. He started out with high school baseball and basketball. He’s officiated NCAA Division I women’s college basketball, with games in the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Missouri Valley Conference.
Nash, a 1962 Urbana graduate, was named the OHSAA basketball official of the year in 2011. He served as president of the Southwestern association for eight years. He officiated basketball for 45 years and football for 43, working eight basketball state final games and six football title games. He also officiated college basketball for 32 years including the Mid-American Conference, Ohio Athletic Conference and the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Marcia Nash accepted the award in her husband’s honor.
“He was great to work with. He was one of those guys who didn’t have a big ego on the floor,” said Warner, adding Nash’s post-game critiques were invaluable.
“Dave didn’t just tell you what you were doing wrong. He praised you for the things he thought you were really doing right, which is really important for young officials. We all know we screw up. … But he was always very fair in his critiques and he always ended with a positive.”