ATLANTA, Ga. — On Monday, the Atlanta Tipoff Club named Mike Eades as the 2020 Naismith Men’s College Official of the Year and Felicia Grinter as the 2020 Naismith Women’s College Official of the Year and for their contributions to the sport of basketball. Both were recognized during the 2020 NCAA Basketball Regional Officiating virtual clinics, which were held this past weekend.
First awarded in 1988, the Naismith Official of the Year award recognizes individuals who display character, integrity and dignity and have contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of college basketball. To be eligible, an individual must have been involved with the sport as a game official for a minimum of 20 years and worked both the NCAA Tournament and a conference tournament as a game official.
Eades has been a Division I official for 23 years in numerous conferences, including in the AAC, ACC, Atlantic 10, Big 12, Big East, Big South, Big Ten, CAA, SEC and Southern Conference. He began his career officiating for the Big South and has spent 20 years serving as an ACC official. His long and successful career as a college basketball game official includes working 13 NCAA Division I Tournaments, four Final Fours and the 2017 title game. Currently, Eades is the Southeastern Conference Consortium Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials.
“I am honored to receive the Naismith College Official of the Year for the 2019-20 season. To be included with some of the greats of college officiating is very humbling,” said Eades. “Early in my career, I set winning this Naismith award as one of my goals. To be able to achieve it means more than I can say.”
During her more than 25 years as a Division I official, Grinter has worked 20 NCAA Tournaments, including seven Final Fours. She has officiated numerous conference tournaments and worked several professional games in the U.S. as well as officiating international events, including the 2012 Olympics. Grinter currently works in the Big Ten, Big 12, C-USA, MAC, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, SEC, Sun Belt and SWAC Conferences and has served as an official for games in the ACC, ASUN and MEAC.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive the 2020 Naismith Women’s College Official of the Year Award. I would like to thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club and all the voting members for this prestigious award,” said Grinter.
“I’m very grateful to all the award winners that have come before me; I understand without their guidance and the support of my coordinators and mentors I could not have accomplished such an honor. I definitely stand on the shoulders of giants. I accept this amazing award on behalf of my family, friends and all the referees that have played a role in my basketball officiating success. It is my passion and purpose to leave a legacy behind and assist those that wish to follow in the footsteps of so many great officials. My career has been nothing short of a true blessing and receiving this award is the pinnacle.”
“Both Felicia and Mike have dedicated their careers to bettering the sports of college basketball, both on and off the court,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
“Their contributions to the sport and mentorship of younger officials will have a lasting impact on the game of basketball."