EDISON, N.J. – Veteran referee Mike Kitts, regarded as one of major college basketball’s top officials for the past 30 years, will take over a Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the 2014-15 season, it was announced today by MAAC Commissioner Richard J. Ensor, Esq.
“We are pleased that Mike will be taking over as our Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials,” Ensor said. “Mike has had an outstanding career as an official on the court, and is held in high esteem by so many in college basketball. To have someone with his knowledge and experience take over as our coordinator, we won’t skip a beat.”
Kitts, of Syracuse, N.Y., will officiate one more season before joining the MAAC staff. He will take over for Brad Tracy, who has served as the MAAC’s Coordinator of Officials since the 1990-91 season and will retire following the upcoming 2013-14 basketball season.
“Brad has become a very important person in my life, and a mentor for me,” said Kitts. “This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This will be a nice transition for me, from working games to assigning games and working with the officials.”
By his own count, Kitts has officiated in 19 NCAA Tournaments, including four national semifinal games in the Final Four. Kitts has worked in many of the country’s top conferences during his career, including the Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference, in addition to the MAAC.
Kitts has officiated the MAAC’s championship game in 14 of the last 15 tournaments, and in 2008, was the recipient of the Naismith Award, given annually to the nation’s top referee.
“Our conference is extremely fortunate to be able to name Mike Kitts as our new Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials,” said Bob Byrnes, Manhattan College Director of Athletics and Chairman of the MAAC’s Men’s Basketball Committee. “Mike will fill the ‘big shoes’ of seasoned professional Brad Tracy, who is retiring after more than 20 years of distinguished service.
“Mike Kitts, like Brad, has been a seasoned professional who has officiated at the highest level of the game. He has a great rapport with all of the coaches. Mike’s ability to listen, and to be firm and fair, are some of the great qualities he brings to the position,” Byrnes added. “This announcement is a ‘win-win’ for the MAAC.”
Kitts was an outstanding high school basketball player for St. Anthony’s in Syracuse, before playing for Onondaga Community College and in the city’s highly competitive recreation league. He began officiating in 1979 on the high school level, before making the move to college a short time later.
Kitts also served as Recreation Programming Director for the City of Syracuse for 19 years before retiring. He is the proud father of son Mike, 22, who recently graduated from LeMoyne College where he was a member of the Dolphins’ baseball team, and Sarah, 20, a student at the University of Rochester.
Kitts has seen many changes in the college game during his career. He says that a major change is that “the players are so much bigger, so much stronger and so much faster. When I started a guard was 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2. Now they’re 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 and they are just as fast and just as quick.”
His philosophy to being a successful official has been simple when he’s out on the floor. “I just try to do the best I can to create a level playing court for both teams. And then, may the best team win.”