Hank Nichols

When Hank Nichols walked out onto the floor, coaches and players and even fans knew they were going to get a fair shake. One of the most respected referees in history, Nichols officiated six NCAA national championship games, ten Final Fours, and two Olympics including the 1984 bronze medal game in Los Angeles. The Niagara Falls native called two of college basketball's most memorable games. The first - the 1975 national championship game between college basketball giants UCLA and the University of Kentucky - was the last game in the legendary career of Coach John Wooden. The second was the Bird-Magic showdown in the 1979 national title game, still the highest-rated college basketball broadcast in network history. The only official to work the NCAA and NIT championships in the same year, Nichols assumed the role of the NCAA's first coordinator of officials in 1986 where he studied officiating and began to standardize game-calling across the country. Once called the John Wooden of officials, Nichols commanded respect and gave it back in return.