He is finally leaving. The worst official in the entire SEC is officially leaving the conference. I have seen him make more bad calls against Ole Miss than anyone in my entire life. He has upset more fans and than anyone could ever believe. In his last visit to Oxford he acknowledged my presence while I was yelling at him. You all know, you all think he is terrible, you all are praising that he is gone.
ACC commissioner John Swofford has hired one of college basketball's most respected referees to become the ACC's officiating coordinator.
John Clougherty of Raleigh said Tuesday he will retire from refereeing to supervise the ACC's officials. He has been a Division I official for 30 years, refereeing 12 Final Fours and four NCAA title games.
"I don't know if supervising will ever be as good as officiating," Clougherty said. "I've never lost my passion for officiating and still haven't, but you can only do it for so long, and this is a great job for me. I'll be in the arena, but I'll be in a different capacity."
Following the 2004-05 season, ACC associate commissioner Fred Barakat relinquished his duties as supervisor of officials to concentrate on supervising scheduling and the conference tournament for the ACC.
Clougherty takes over as supervisor of a high-pressure element of the game that has been the subject of intense scrutiny in the ACC. With referees' calls sometimes proving pivotal and coaches under pressure to win, officiating has become the subject of ongoing controversy in recent years.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt was reprimanded last season after complaining publicly about a foul called on Jarrett Jack during a 69-64 Duke victory in the ACC tournament final.
In the previous ACC tournament, official Larry Rose angered N.C. State fans with a bizarre technical foul call against the Wolfpack for failing to wipe up an on-court spill fast enough at the end of a timeout.
ACC coaches have complained that referees work so many games that they don't have time to review their performances after coaches question calls.
"There's got to be more time to look at what you just did and how you did and have someone to critique and make it constructive criticism, so that those guys continue to improve," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said in May.
Reducing officials' scheduling load is difficult. Referees are independent contractors and often work games in multiple leagues, which Clougherty said leaves the ACC little authority to demand they cut back their workload.
Williams said one official -- whom he did not name -- worked 90 games last season. Clougherty said he understands those concerns and admitted that he once worked too many games and grew tired late in the season himself.
Clougherty said he prefers highly respected referees working for the fourth straight day to those with lesser pedigrees who are more rested. But Clougherty said he won't schedule officials to work early afternoon games on Sunday in the ACC after they work Saturday night.
"If they want the Saturday night game, fine, then let me try to get them a Sunday evening game," Clougherty said, "but I don't need to have a guy at Providence on Saturday night and have them work at (N.C.) State at noontime (Sunday)."
Clougherty said his most important objective is to ensure that his crew chiefs enforce consistent rules. He doesn't want one crew to allow rough, physical play in one game and have another crew call 70 fouls during a similarly played game a few nights later.
Swofford, who has said the officiating coordinator's job couldn't be filled by a beginner, said in a statement that Clougherty was recommended repeatedly.
"He has earned tremendous respect in the basketball community and brings not only integrity, but a first-hand knowledge of officiating," Swofford said.
Clougherty is looking forward to working in a league with great basketball visibility. He said the Big East has excellent basketball but doesn't command a huge percentage of the audience in Philadelphia (Villanova) and New York (St. John's).
"They get, not all the best players (in the ACC), but a higher percentage of better players than any other league," Clougherty said. "And the games are incredibly competitive."