FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Pat McKee, 317-403-1665
March 16, 2023 IBCA Director of Special Projects
Officials to receive 2023 Gardner and Ball awards
Coburn, Day to be honored by Indiana Basketball Coaches Association
Game officials Eric Coburn and Ron Day will be recognized with special awards in 2023 by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Coburn and Day will be honored as respective winners of the Roy Gardner and Mildred Ball awards as outstanding officials throughout long careers on the hardwood. The two officials are being cited for their work impacting the game floor, Coburn from 1985 to 2022 and Day from 1991 to the present.
Coburn officiated for 38 seasons, including five times in the boys' basketball State Finals and five times in the girls' basketball State Finals while a member of the Northern Officials Association of Indiana. The Leesburg resident received the IHSAA Award as Official of the Year in girls' basketball in 2007 and the IHSAA Award as Official of the Year in boys' basketball in 2015. He served as association secretary for 10 years, association president for eight years, has been an IHSAA clinician for 10 years and an IHSAA rules interpreter for 12 years. He also has mentored five officials who have gone on to work the IHSAA boys' and girls' State Finals.
Day, a Plymouth resident, just completed his 32nd season as an official. He has worked the boys' basketball State Finals five times and the girls' basketball State Finals five times. He has been a member of the Northern Officials Association of Indiana for 30 years and also the Lake County Association for 15 years. He has served as a clinician for a number of years and mentored many younger officials.
The Gardner Award is named after the late Roy Gardner, a Lawrenceburg native, Ball State graduate and former Batesville High School math teacher who worked three boys' basketball State Finals and officiated in the Big Ten from 1959-69. He passed away in 1977, and the IBCA has presented an award in his name since 1978. Gardner was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Ball Award is named after Mildred Morgan Ball, a graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School and Indiana University who served as an IHSAA assistant commissioner from 1977-97. During her time at the IHSAA, Ball was responsible for licensing and training of contest officials and also worked with the National Federation of High School Associations rules committee. The IBCA has presented an award in her name since 1997. Ball was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, and she was the 2022 recipient of the Richard G. Lugar Award for Distinguished Service.
Coburn and Day each will receive his award during the IBCA's annual clinic on Thursday, April 20 at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville. For more information about the IBCA, go to in.nhsbca.org.
More information about each award winner follows. In addition, a list of previous winners for these awards follows the biography information.
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2023 IBCA Roy Gardner Award
Congratulations to the Roy Gardner Award Winner: Eric Coburn
Eric Coburn of Leesburg is the winner of the 2023 Roy Gardner Award.
Coburn is a 1974 graduate of Wawasee High School, where he participated in football, basketball and track. He then went to Ivy Tech, where he earned a certification in aircraft maintenance. He was a Warsaw city police officer for 32 years and has been teaching Aviation Ground School at Warsaw High School for nine years.
Coburn started officiating in 1985 after providing a police escort for the Warsaw Tigers, who won the IHSAA boys’ basketball state championship that season. He and his long-time police partner and 20-year basketball officiating partner, Lance Grubbs, argued calls during that championship game. They both agreed to get licensed in basketball and started officiating together at the elementary level, then moved into middle school and freshman level.
After joining the Northern Indiana Officials Association and being mentored by many veteran officials and learning from several past winners of the Gardner Award, they started working junior varsity games. Coburn’s first boys’ varsity game came at Penn High School in the inauguration game of the new “Penn Palace” basketball court.
After 38 years, Coburn has worked in both the girls’ basketball and boys’ basketball state tournaments. For girls, he has worked 28 sectionals, 19 regionals, 11 semi-states and five State Finals. For boys, he has worked 21 sectionals, 13 regionals, nine semi-states and five State Finals. He also has officiated in three Hall of Fame Classic events in New Castle.
Coburn received the IHSAA Outstanding Girls’ Basketball Official Award in 2007 and the IHSAA Outstanding Boys’ Basketball Official Award in 2015.
As a member of the Northern Officials Association of Indiana, Coburn has served as secretary for 10 years and president for eight years. He has also been an IHSAA clinician for 10 years and an IHSAA rules interpreter for 12 years. Coburn has mentored five officials who have gone on to work the IHSAA boys’ and girls’ State Finals.
He enjoys golf, hunting and flying. He has been an Angel Flight pilot since 2006, providing no-charge airplane flights for people in need to hospitals or doctors.
Coburn is humbled to receive this recognition from the IBCA and would like to give credit to mentors Gene Butts, Frank DeSantis, Tim and Jay Smith, Clark Hamilton, and current partners Kirk Robinson, Trent Long, Brett Patrick, and many others with whom he has officiated.
He also would like to thank the athletic directors who had confidence in hiring him and to the coaches who made him get better in officiating. He also expressed gratitude to his wife of more than 49 years, Yvonne, daughter Erica and son Will, who did not realize what they had gotten into.
2023 IBCA Mildred Ball Award
Congratulations to the Mildred Ball Award Winner: Ron Day
Ron Day of Plymouth is the winner of the 2023 Mildred Ball Award.
Now in his 32nd as an official, Day began officiating in 1991 and has worked at least one State Finals’ game in each class for both boys and girls. Among those games, he called the 2009 Class 4A girls’ title game in Lucas Oil Stadium between Ben Davis and South Bend Washington, a game considered a mythical national title game as the teams were ranked first and second in national polls. It was among the best attended girls’ basketball games with a crowd of 13,449.
During his time as a official, Day has worked 26 sectionals, 16 regionals, seven semi-states, five State Finals (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2021) for boys’ basketball as well as 26 sectionals, 18 regionals, eight semi-states and five State Finals (2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2019) for girls’ basketball. He also called the 2004 girls’ Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle.
Day as been a member of the Northern Officials Association of Indiana for 30 years and also the Lake County Association for 15 years. Has served as a clinician for a number of years and mentored many younger officials.
A 1981 graduate of Plymouth High School, Day participated in basketball and track, was a two-time all-conference honoree in track and part of a 400-meter relay that held a school record for more than 25 years. He went on to Indiana University, where he was a 1986 graduate of the Kelley School of Business. He has been a self-employed contractor in a family business for 33 years.
Day and his wife, Lori, have two adult children – Katie (husband Brendan) and Eric (wife Kristen) – as well as two grandchildren with a third grandchild due in June. In his free time, Day enjoys spending time with family as well as traveling, reading, golfing and cheering the Minnesota Vikings.
As for officiating, Day said: “I was fortunate to have three excellent regular partners in officiating – Tim Filson, Brian Allen and Tom Hinz. They made it fun each and every night. Also, a shout out to my son, Eric, who attended hundreds of my games and is the best observer I ever had.”
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IBCA officiating award winners
IBCA/ROY GARDNER AWARD
Roy Gardner was a basketball official who was a math teacher for 34 years at Batesville High School. He coached basketball at Westland, Rising Sun and Batesville as well as track, baseball and golf at Batesville, with his teams capturing numerous championships. As an official, Gardner worked the 1955, 1956 and 1959 State Finals. He also officiated in the Big Ten from 1959 through 1969, and he called the East-West College All-Star Games in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1968 and 1969. Gardner was born in 1919 in Lawrenceburg, lettered in basketball and track at Ball State University and passed away in 1977. He was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. The IBCA has presented an award to an outstanding basketball official in Roy Gardner's name since 1978.
1978: Lowell Smith, Palmyra
1979: Wayne Van Sickle, Richmond
1980: Troy Ingram, Richmond
1981: Jerry Larrison, Indianapolis
1982: John Lozier, Logansport
1983: Rich Boer, Gary
1984: Jim Wehsollek, Alexandria
1985: Jerry Petro, Franklin
1986: Roger DeYoung, Hebron
1987: Jesse Lynch, Indianapolis
1988: Bob Marcinek, East Chicago
1989: Melvin Redmond, Mt. Vernon
1990: Steve Cherry, Pendleton
1991: no award given
1992: Richard Cook, Michigan City
1993: Jim Cox, Jonesboro
1994: Mike Bohan, Brownsburg
1995: Bill Wulner, Lawrenceburg
1996: Bob Beeson, Elkhart
1997: Jerry Cook, Elkhart
1998: Norm Hathcoat, Pendleton
1999: Steve Fisher, Poseyville
2000: Rick Owens, Lynn
2001: Larry Maxwell, Martinsville
2002: Larry Jones, Logansport
2003: Bill Nimnicht, Evansville
2004: Jimmy Dimitroff, Indianapolis
2005: Garry Leistner, Dubois
2006: Ken Gorrell, Franklin
2007: Jerry Taylor, Lafayette
2008: James Dunlap, Newburgh
2009: Don Nester, Indianapolis
2010: Larry Nixon, Veedersburg
2011: Mark Baltz, Zionsville
2012: Bob Anderson, Indianapolis, and Ray Tebbe, New Palestine
2013: Mike Waisnora, Crown Point
2014: Terry Magnuson, Greenwood
2015: Rex Nichols, Mooresville
2016: Jason Ferguson, Whiteland
2017: Tom Rohr, Montezuma
2018: Tom Walters, Indianapolis
2019: Mike Eason, Cumberland
2020: Jay Slater, Sullivan
2021: no winner named (winner from 2020 honored in 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic).
2022: Mark Wise, Crown Point
2023: Eric Coburn, Leesburg
IBCA/MILDRED BALL AWARD
Mildred Morgan Ball served as an IHSAA assistant commissioner from 1977 through 1997, responsible for the licensing and training of contest officials. In addition, she worked with the National Federation of State High School Associations' rules committee. Ball is a 1953 graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School and a 1960 graduate of Indiana University. She was a teacher at East Chicago Washington High School for 17 years before joining the IHSAA staff. Ball was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, and she is the 2022 recipient of the Richard G. Lugar Award for Distinguished Service. She also is a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Benjamin Hooks Award from the NAACP, the John Endwright Distinguished Alumni Service Award from IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 1996, a Distinguished Alumni Service Award from IU in 2005 as well as other awards from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the Indiana Association of Athletic Officials and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. The IBCA has presented an award to an outstanding basketball official in Mildred Ball's name since 1997.
1997: Theresia Wynns, Indianapolis
1998: Sue Ross, Fort Wayne
1999: Judy Schneider, Indianapolis
2000: Mike Crouch, Marion
2001: Tim Smith, Mentone
2002: Rhonda McGee, Floyds Knobs
2003: Rosie Leedy, Thorntown
2004: Barbara Guhl, Indianapolis
2005: Greta Hawvermale, Indianapolis
2006: Patty Broderick, Indianapolis
2007: John Patterson, Indianapolis
2008: Gene Butts, Warsaw
2009: Kim Yelich, Schererville
2010: Judy Phillips, Indianapolis
2011: Kelly Dennis, Whiteland
2012: Roger Holder, Greenfield
2013: Mike Smith, New Palestine
2014: Phil Vidito, Indianapolis
2015: Jay Smith, Syracuse
2016: Bob Frye, Indianapolis
2017: Larry Sintz, Brookville
2018: Michael Zehr, Dubois
2019: Andy Simpson, Crown Point
2020: Gary Wier, Plainville
2021: no winner named (winner from 2020 honored in 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic).
2022: Michael Stoffers, Terre Haute
2023: Ron Day, Plymouth