April 9, 2009
By Mal Boright
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Dan Shepardson said of his experience last month officiating the NCAA Division III championship basketball game between Washington University of St. Louis and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Shepardson, a veteran college and high school official and current Vermont state rules interpreter, was one of a three-person crew from the northeast chosen for the Division III final four in Salem, Va.
“We flew down to Virginia on the 19th,” said Shepardson, an administrator at Champlain Valley Union High School. He added that assignments for the games were in part determined by regional considerations in that a crew could not officiate a game with a team from its region.
“So we got the title game,” Shepardson said.
The contest was played Saturday, March 21. Won by defending champion Washington University, the game was televised on a CBS college sports channel, which meant some additional considerations.
“National television requires additional two-minute timeouts at the first dead ball at the 16-, 12-, eight- and four-minute marks of each half,” Shepardson said.
Since this was a first for both teams, Shepardson noted, the longer timeouts had both teams wandering onto the court to resume play well before time was up, thus keeping a timeout coordinator busy.
For Shepardson, the busy winter saw him whistling some 65 games, 25 of them at the college level.
Shepardson believes he is only the second Vermonter in recent years to officiate a college basketball championship. He recalled that Al Benton of Brattleboro may have had a game five years ago. A White River Junction official was chosen for a women’s Division III game about the same time but did not call a game due to regional considerations.
Shepardson retired as CVU boys soccer coach three years ago.