Bryan Kersey didn’t want to know when he’d referee his final college basketball game. He didn’t want the pressure, the emotion, the notoriety.
Was his last call right? Would he shed a tear in the locker room? Might a coach test him one final time?
Turns out he never had to confront those questions.
The ACC on Tuesday named Kersey as its coordinator of men’s basketball officials.
“I always said the only job I would ever come off the floor for was supervisor of the ACC,” Kersey, a lifelong Hampton Roads resident, said during an exclusive telephone interview. “It’s where I’ve been for 27 years. I call it home. The league is phenomenal, to say the least.”
Kersey, 53, has officiated Division I games for 30 years, all but three in the ACC. He worked seven ACC tournament championship games, 20 NCAA tournaments and the 2015 Final Four semifinal between Duke and Michigan State.
With the respect of his peers and the league’s coaches, Kersey is a sage choice to be a primary arbiter in the often-tense give-and-take among officials and coaches.
“We have great coaches,” Kersey said. “Fortunately, I didn’t have any big run-ins with any of them. I respect them; I think they respected me.”
ESPN analyst and former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg applauded the hire on Twitter, saying Kersey is “respected by both the coaches and his fellow officials.”
“Great guy, great official,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said via text. “Will do a great job in his new capacity.”
Unbeknownst to Kersey at the time, his final game was last month’s West Regional semifinal in Anaheim, Calif., between Duke and Oregon. He whistled this year’s Virginia-North Carolina ACC final, followed by two memorable NCAA tournament games: Middle Tennessee State’s upset of Michigan State, and Wisconsin’s last-second victory over Xavier.
Kersey has pondered the potential move to management – he will schedule and evaluate the conference’s officials -- since John Clougherty announced in May that he was retiring after 11 years in the position, effective season’s end. Colleagues and friends often asked if he were interested in the job, and while Kersey said yes, he really wasn’t convinced.
Besides, the ACC hadn’t formally approached him. But after Duke-Oregon, the ACC’s interest became clear, and Friday Kersey met with commissioner John Swofford and senior associate commissioner for men’s basketball Paul Brazeau.
“Bryan has demonstrated throughout his career a caring and respectful attitude towards college basketball and its communities,” Brazeau said in a statement. “His long-time love for the game, and officiating in particular, remains evident.”
After meeting with Brazeau and Swofford, Kersey consulted with his father, Jess, a former NBA referee and a Virginia Sports Hall of Famer, Big East supervisor of officials John Cahill and Clougherty – Kersey and Cahill are especially close, and Kersey considers him the gold standard of college referees. When the ACC offered, Kersey accepted immediately, having been completely at ease during his conversations with Swofford and Brazeau.
“It was a little bit surreal,” Kersey said, “because you realize you’re never going to referee again, and I told them, there’s nothing I enjoy more than standing at midcourt in front of 20,000. There’s nothing that can duplicate that in life, because for the two hours you’re refereeing a basketball game, the rest of the world doesn’t exist. … It gets you away from cellphones, email, everything is gone.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a tighter fraternity than referees. Sure, there are egos, and everyone wants the best assignments -- Kersey was bold enough to chat up a courtside spectator named Barack Obama during a 2010 Duke-Georgetown game in Washington. But after games and during late-night drives, officials are in constant contact, swapping stories and concerns and keeping each other awake.
I saw it up close 15 years ago when I traveled with Kersey for a week to games at the University of Florida, St. Bonaventure, UNC Greensboro, Davidson, North Carolina and Old Dominion.
But now Kersey will be in charge, and he talked at length with Cahill and Clougherty about the transition.
“They’re going to know that I’m their boss,” Kersey said. “The number one quality these guys have to have is respect for this league.”
Kersey has short- and long-term priorities.
Immediately, he wants better in-game communication among referees and coaches. This was long his strength, a trait honed over thousands of games as he matured from young and quick-tempered to gray and patient. Kersey the veteran wasn’t a showman or quick to assess technical fouls, and he expects the same from his officials.
A more overarching goal is to identify and groom the next generation of referees. Kersey plans to bring young officials to the command video center at ACC headquarters in Greensboro, N.C., to study the veterans and break down tape. He intends to train them hands-on during summer camps.
“We’ve got to get the next wave moving, the next era of officials ready,” Kersey said. “That’s a job I (embrace). I want this to be 15 years. I want to see the young guys grow. I want to be there when they get their first ACC tournament or their first NCAA tournament. I want to be a part of that. …
“The training and development we’re planning is going to be second to none. We’re going to start running with it right now. … It’s going to be a team process.”
Kersey exits the court without any lingering physical damage. A collision with North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller years ago tore his rotator cuff and required surgery, but Kersey didn’t miss a game. His knees, hamstrings and calves remain intact, and he took a brisk run Monday.
So yes, he’s going to miss the grind. Not the delayed flights and snow-impaired drives, but the buzz of a big game, of which he worked many.
“People say, ‘Don’t want you want to work the national championship game?’” Kersey said. “It doesn’t matter. I have my Final Four ring.”
Kersey’s annual workload approached, and sometimes exceeded, 100 games. He officiated primarily in the ACC but was also in demand in leagues such as the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.
The travel kept him on the road for weeks at a time, away from his family and Newport News insurance business. He’s not about to become a homebody, especially during the season, but Marriott points and frequent-flyer miles won’t be accumulated as rapidly.
“My wife,” he said, “is ecstatic.”
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Speaking September 11th was Bryan Kersey. Kersey is the son of longtime American Basketball Association/NBA referee Jess Kersey and a native of Newport News, Va., Kersey went into the insurance business in that area specifically to leave his schedule free for officiating. He worked his first ACC game at the precocious age of 26 and would go on to be selected for 21 ACC tournaments and 20 NCAA tournaments, advancing to the second weekend nine times.
Article About Kersey’s April 2016 Promotion to Coordinator Men’s Basketball Officiating
ACC Names Bryan Kersey Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating
April 19, 2016 – GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that long-time collegiate basketball official Bryan Kersey has been named the league’s Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating.
For the past 30 years, Kersey has served as an NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Official, and has been a regular in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Overall, he has officiated in 20 NCAA Tournaments, including six Regionals, three Regional Finals and the 2015 NCAA Final Four. He has officiated 27 years in the ACC and has worked 21 ACC Tournaments, including seven championship games, and has called four NIT Finals.
“I am pleased to have Bryan step into this role as he brings a wealth of on court experience, superb knowledge surrounding all aspects of officiating the college game, and excellent professional business and management experiences,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “He grew up around officiating as his dad, Jess, was a 33-year official in the NBA. He is a man of integrity and has earned great respect throughout the ACC and nationally from his peers, coaches and administrators. He has the opportunity to further enhance our officiating program from a technology perspective, a teaching perspective, and most importantly, on the floor.”
“Bryan has demonstrated throughout his career a caring and respectful attitude towards college basketball and its communities,” said Paul Brazeau, ACC Senior Associate Commissioner for Men’s Basketball. “His long-time love for the game, and officiating in particular, remains evident. The ACC and all those affiliated with college basketball will be strengthened through Bryan’s stewardship and dedication.”
In addition to his ACC affiliation, Kersey has also officiated in the Big East, Big 12, American, Atlantic 10 and Colonial Conferences. A resident of Carrollton, Virginia, he is the president of Kersey, Sealey, Clark & Associates in Newport News, Virginia.
About the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 63rd year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on facebook.com/theACC.
Article Source: The ACC