Longtime college basketball referee Jim Burr will retire from the hardwood and instead be a supervisor of officials in the south. For years, Burr had been an officiating staple in basketball games in the Big East, Big Ten and ACC.
Speaking to Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times-Union, Burr elaborated on his decision.
“I had a pretty good run,” Burr said. “I decided that it was time to walk off the court. I had a couple of minor problems, just wear and tear. I’m no spring chicken. I’m getting older.”
“I knew that the handwriting was on the wall,” Burr said. “The NCAA gave me an opportunity to stay in the game to observe officials in the southern quadrant of the country, which will allow me to go to Florida for the winter. Everything worked out. The timing was right.”
Burr, 68, leaves behind an impressive resume. He oversaw 16 Final Fours and seven national title games, and was remarkably well-respected by coaches, namely Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.
“He reffed all the big games,” said Jim Boeheim, whose first season as Syracuse head coach in 1976-77 coincided with Burr’s rookie year. “He had Syracuse-Georgetown for 25 years in a row, probably. He didn’t care who won. He never did. He was fair. He got the calls right.”
“They’d say there’s nothing quite as physical and tough as the Big East was in that heyday there,” said Boeheim, who has been an occasional golf partner of Burr’s in the summer. “Tough, physical games and tough, physical teams. Only the best officials could handle it. We had good referees, and he set the tempo for younger guys.
“There weren’t many like him. Hardly ever. He was almost unique in his ability to referee basketball. I can only say that because he’s not reffing anymore.”
Needless to say, Burr was a legend in his own right and the sport will miss him.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports