IBCA Hall of Fame

HOF Officials

Robert L WrightName: Robert Wright

Year Inducted: 1983

Category: Officials

Schools / Organizations:
IHSA
Big Ten, CCIW

 

Biography:  Robert L. Wright along with Henry Bowman formed one of the most proficient and recognizable officiating teams in Illinois basketball history. Wright began officiating high school basketball at Mount Clemens, Michigan in 1947. Wright’s work in Illinois began at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul in 1956. Besides Chanute Fields games Wright worked grade school, junior high, and high school games along with University of Illinois freshman and wheelchair games. He was certified in 1963. Retired in 1976, Wright had worked 63 district tourney games, 61 regional games, 18 sectional games, two super sectional games, and four state tourney games in 1973 and 1974. That would total 148 tournament games for the Illinois High School Association. In addition, Robert worked 24 different high school holiday and invitational tournaments. Wright officiated European championships from 1953 to 1956 along with international games in Egypt, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, and South Africa. In addition, he worked the National Wheelchair Championships from 1960 to 1974 and the Illinois State AAU tourneys from 1966 to 1968. Wright served as head finish judge and finish line judge in the IHSA state track meets for 12 years and officiated the state football playoff finals from 1977 to 1979. Wright also worked football, basketball, and baseball games in the CCIW and Big Ten conferences. Wright umpired the state baseball finals from 1964 to 1966. 

 

 

 

 

Tony TortorelloName: Tony Tortorello

Year Inducted: 1983

Category: Coaches

Schools / Organizations:
IHSA
Big Ten, CCIW
NCAA
 

 

Biography:  Tony Tortorello ended 32 years of basketball officiating at a Class AA Regional at Zion in 1978. For 31 of those years Tortorello was an IHSA official. It was his 21st IHSA Regional. Tortorello also worked 15 IHSA Sectionals, 7 IHSA Super-sectionals and IHSA State Championships in 1961, 1962, and 1963 including the first title game at the Assembly Hall. Tortorello served as a Big Ten official for 21 years, the longest tenure on the Big Ten staff at the time of his 1983 Hall of Fame induction. In addition, Tortorello served as an official in the NCAA college division regionals in 1959, 1960, 1962, and 1969; and the finals in 1965 and 1971. Several years ago, Tortorello was voted as one of the top three officials in the past 25 years in Illinois in a poll conducted by a Chicago newspaper. Tony was a graduate of St. George High School in Evanston and old St. Viators College in Bourbonnais where he competed in basketball, football, and track.  Tony died on June 11, 1992.

 

 

William FilsonName: William Filson

Year Inducted: 1983

Category: Officials

Schools / Organizations:
(Chicago) Austin High School
Illinois Wesleyan University
IHSA
CCIW, Big Ten

 

 

Biography:  Officials, whether they like to admit it or not, sometimes can be affected by a crowd. That wasn’t one of Bill Filson’s problems because he got an early background as a high school athlete. Filson was a tight end on an Austin High School team which beat Leo for the Chicago City Championship held at Soldier Field. The crowd was the largest in Illinois prep history – 110,000. Filson began officiating while still an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan. By the time of his graduation he was regarded as one of the top officials in Central Illinois. He was always in demand for the games which paired intense rivals. Filson took on an active part in the activities of the Bloomington-Normal Officials Association and its Hall of Fame. He spent 11 years as Commissioner and Assignment Chairman of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Filson, the superintendent of the Illinois Masonic Children’s Home in LaGrange, served 17 seasons as a football official in the Big Ten and worked the Rose Bowl in 1968 and 1974. Illinois Wesleyan Athletic Director Emeritus Jack Horenberger called Filson “a credit to the history of officiating.”   Bill Filson died on July 31, 1996.

 

 

 

Ken Olson SrName: Kenneth Olson, Sr.

Year Inducted: 1983

Category: Officials

Schools / Organizations:
(Chicago) Harrison High School
IHSA
CCIW
NJCAA

 

 

Biography:  Kenneth Olson, Sr. began officiating basketball as a high school junior at Chicago’s Harrison High. From that start in 1925 at age 16, Olson continued until retiring in 1962. Olsen was a familiar face throughout Northern Illinois and especially in the suburban area. Olsen also officiated in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and many junior college games. By choice, Olson never worked the state tournament, but was an honorary IHSA referee. Olson showed the sound judgment that he displayed on the basketball floor by retiring “when officiating became work.”

 

Henry BowmanName: Henry Bowman

Year Inducted: 1983

Category: Officials

Schools / Organizations:
IHSA
National Wheelchair Basketball

 

Biography:  Henry Bowman, like his usual officiating partner Bob Wright, began his basketball career in Illinois at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. Bowman started in 1959 and until March of 1972 worked an average of 105 basketball games each year. Like Wright, Bowman’s assignments included the entire gamut from grade school through college. Bowman’s IHSA tourney service saw him whistle 42 district games at Onarga, Sheldon and Armstrong. Regional tourney games numbered 71 at Tuscola, Casey, Hoopeston, Watseka, Bradley, Park Forest, Crete-Monee, Bloom, Thornridge, Somonauk, and Quigley South. Sectional games at Olney, Peoria, Hinsdale, Normal, Dixon, and Waukegan totaled 18. Super-sectionals under Bowman’s watchful eyes were at Hinsdale, Evanston (twice), Crete-Monee, and Aurora East. State Tourneys in 1969-70-71 had Wright racing up and down the Assembly Hall Court. In all, he officiated 142 IHSA tourney games. Bowman was justly proud of being the first black official assigned to the IHSA state finals. Bowman officiated the Illinois State AAU tourney in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968. Bowman was floor official for the National Wheelchair Basketball national championships in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, and 1972. Bowman accompanied the United States Wheelchair team to the international games at Stake-Mandeville, England in 1961, 1962, and 1963 where he was an active basketball official. Bowman was a state baseball final umpire in 1965 and 1966 and was Big Ten football official for five years.  Henry Bowman died on September 16, 1995.