Referee Verne Harris talks with San Jose State coach George Nessman in 2011. (Isaac Brekken, Associated Press)
Denver resident Verne Harris is among 10 game officials selected to work the Final Four, the NCAA announced Monday.
Harris has the most Final Four experience among the group. He will officiate his seventh Final Four.
The Final Four begins with two semifinal games Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home stadium for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Saturday’s winners advance to the national championship game Monday night.
“The 10 men selected to officiate in this year’s Final Four have been evaluated after every game in the tournament,” said John Adams, the national coordinator of officiating. “All of them graded out as excellent in play-calling accuracy, communicating with coaches and players, and officiating the games according to the rules as written.”
Harris was the only official selected from the Western region of the U.S.
- Pat Adams, Mobile, Ala.
- Joe DeRosa, North Canton, Ohio
- John Higgins, Omaha, Neb.
- Michael Roberts, Atlanta
- Doug Shows, Rome, Ga.
- Doug Sirmons, Virginia Beach, Va.
- Michael Stephens, Cranston, R.I.
- Mike Stuart, Maryville, Tenn.
- Terry Wymer, North Baltimore, Ohio
Stuart and Higgins will be calling their fifth Final Four, Shows his fourth.
Officiating assignments for each semifinal game and for Monday night’s title game will be announced Saturday morning, according to the NCAA.
HOUSTON -- The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has approved 10 game officials recommended by J.D. Collins, the national coordinator of officiating, to work Saturday’s two national semifinal games and Monday’s national championship game. A three-man crew will work each Final Four game, while one official will serve as the standby official for all three contests.
The NCAA has notified these 10 individuals selected to work the 2016 Final Four, which will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston:
Roger Ayers, Roanoke, Virginia
Jeff Clark, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
Brian Dorsey, West Caldwell, New Jersey
Mike Eades, Princeton, West Virginia
Tom Eades, Gallatin, Tennessee
John Higgins, Omaha, Nebraska
Tony Padilla, Sacramento, California
Michael Stephens, Providence, Rhode Island
Mark Whitehead, Denham Springs, Louisiana
Terry Wymer, North Baltimore, Ohio
“I am so proud of and happy for these 10 men as they have worked extremely hard to place themselves in the top one percent of their profession,” said Collins. “These men were selected because of their ability to officiate and communicate, because of their call accuracy and their enforcement of the directive to reduce physicality in order to create freedom of movement.”
Higgins will officiate his seventh Final Four, while Tom Eades and Whitehead will be calling their fifth. This will be the fourth Final Four for Stephens and third for Mike Eades and Wymer. Ayers and Clark will appear in their second Final Four after serving as the stand-by official in 2012 and 2015 respectively while this will be the first nod for Dorsey and Padilla.
Saturday’s first semifinal features West Region champion and No. 2 seed Oklahoma facing Villanova, the No. 2 seed and champion from the South Region. The Sooners are in their first Final Four since 2002, while the Wildcats are in their first Final Four since 2009 and are searching for their second national title. Tipoff is set for 6:09 p.m. ET. The second game, which will begin 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first semifinal, pits East Region champion North Carolina against Midwest Region champion Syracuse. The No. 1 seed Tar Heels defeated Notre Dame to reach their 19th Final Four, while the 10th-seeded Orange defeated No. 1 seed Virginia to reach their second Final Four in four years.
The officiating assignments for each semifinal game, as well as Monday night’s national championship game, will be announced an hour before each game.