Granville native officiates biggest game of his career

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Photo courtesy of Kyle Wescott. Kyle Wescott explains a call to a coach at the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Final Four.

By Keith Harrington

The NCAA Division III women’s basketball Final Four was contested last week in Columbus, Ohio, and a local man was right in the middle of the action. Literally.

Granville native and Granville High School graduate Kyle Wescott was part of the officiating team in the semifinal contest between top ranked NYU and second ranked Transylvania. Both teams came into the contest undefeated. Transylvania was the returning national champion and had knocked out NYU in last year’s tournament.

“It was an honor to be selected and to get to officiate in the Final Four. It’s a career milestone and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were flown in Wednesday night and didn’t know which game we would work until the 10 a.m. meeting on Thursday,” Wescott explained. “When the national coordinator read off the names and started with me, the referee for the NYU versus Transylvania game is Kyle, it was an amazing feeling.”

Wescott has been officiating for 21 years and at the college level for 15 years. When he started teaching in 2003, Wescott took the refereeing class and got certified to do high school and youth basketball. He was influenced to become an official by his father, the late Dan Wescott, who was a well-known official and coach in the area.

“I started keeping the scorebook for the JV and varsity girls’ games while my sister, Lisa, was playing on the varsity team and my dad was coaching the JV team,” Wescott said. “Then occasionally, my dad would have me referee practices when I was in high school and college.”

Once Wescott caught the officiating bug he worked hard to move up through the ranks.

“I worked three years of junior varsity and middle school games, then my high school assigner gave the opportunity to move up to the varsity level,” Wescott said. “I reffed for three years of an all-varsity level schedule and I decided to go to a tryout camp for the women’s college assigner and was picked up to start working college.”

Wescott gives his father much of the credit for rising through the officiating ranks.

“My dad was a huge influence to get me started and then my biggest supporter while I took steps in my officiating career,” he said. “He used to always say that he wished he started officiating when he was younger, but that he was happy that I was getting so many great opportunities in my career.”

Wescott explained how he was selected to referee the national semifinal game.

“There are two assigners that cover all of New England Division III schools. They make nominations from their staff to represent Region 1 and Region 2 among the 11 Final Four officials,” Wescott said. “I was nominated by both assigners. Then the NCAA national coordinator and the NCAA committee made up of coaches, ADs and school administrators decide on the 11 officials that are chosen.”

Division III games are not the only contests that Wescott works on. You may also see him officiating Division I games in such conferences as America East, Patriot League, and Northeast Conference, along with Division II games in the Northeast 10.

“My goals now are to go to the Division II championship as well and to continue to work more Division I games,” Wescott said.

Although officiating is a part-time gig, Wescott enjoys the change of pace from his full-time career.

“Officiating is my second job, but it’s not just a job, it’s an outlet, it’s fun and it keeps me busy,” Wescott said. “I referee basketball, but I also referee and assign volleyball at the high school and college levels and I umpire softball at the high school and college levels. I love being a part of the game and I love working with some great people.”

Wescott lives with his wife Michele in Marlborough, Massachusetts, where he teaches high school math.

Next time you turn on the television to watch women’s college basketball, look closely. Kyle Wescott may just be officiating.