Zigmund J. "Red" Mihalik
Red Mihalik's illustrious career began on a snowy night in 1935 when referees failed to arrive for a high school game. Red took the whistle and hung on. A referee who didn't step away from controversy on the court, Mihalik wasn't afraid to make a big call at crunch time. In a career that spanned more than 40 years, Red had a unique ability to control the game, while still allowing the excitement and intensity levels to rise for the crowd, players, and himself. This made him a favorite especially among Division I coaches who respected his honesty, integrity, and complete knowledge of the game. In 1951, Mihalik was honored when Dell Publications named the Best Referee in the United States. Dell described Mihalik as having a, "fetish for fairness, not being whistle-happy, being mentally alert, in good physical condition, and in good officiating position 99 percent of the time."