INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Gary McGriff of Holly Pond and David Briseno of Clovis, New Mexico, and have been selected as national award recipients by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Officials Association.
McGriff, who has been involved in officiating in various capacities for 30 years, is the recipient of the National Contributor Award. Briseno, who has been involved in officiating in New Mexico since 1984, is the recipient of the National Active Official Award.
“Few people have made the impact Gary McGriff has had on officiating in the state of Alabama,” said Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA. “A visionary, always providing opportunities for our officials to grow technologically, Gary continues to be a state leader with regard to communication, not only between officials, but most important our Association.”
McGriff officiated four sports, including basketball for 18 years, and has continued his involvement in officiating by serving as district director for basketball (12 years) and track and field (five years). In addition to his on-the-field accomplishments, McGriff has been a photographer at all Alabama state championships for the past 15 years, and he developed the officials’ software program for the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
“I am honored and humbled to be nominated and receive this award for something I love doing so much,” said McGriff, who spent 25 years at NASA working as a tester for space shuttle main engine components. “I owe a special thanks to the AHSAA for allowing me to bring in new ideas and for embracing and encouraging those ideas. Supporting officiating and officials of all sports has been enjoyable and rewarding.”
He wrote the software program and has continued to develop the program to cover registration, testing, training and recordkeeping of officials in all sports. In addition to the software program for the AHSAA, McGriff developed the same program for the Mississippi High School Activities Association, the Los Angeles area baseball associations and the Dixie Youth Baseball programs in the Southeast.
McGriff established the first website of its kind in the world designed for primarily for contest officials. It included threaded multiple sport discussions that sparked worldwide participation of officials about such topics as rules, mechanics and game situations. This website was cited by Referee Magazine as one of the top 40 milestones in history of officiating.
He has written articles for Referee Magazine, including a cover article about how officials were could use the internet for training and discussions. He also wrote a very poignant article about how officials should behave while watching a game from the stands.
McGriff has also helped pioneer the use of crew communication system headsets among contest officials. Working with Vokkerro, the designer, he has helped train officials in the use of the system at the high school level (AHSAA), college level (Southeastern Conference, Big 10 Conference, Big 12, Pac 12, Mountain Wet, Sun Belt and Western Athletic conferences as well as the National Football League. He has also demonstrated the equipment for the NBA, Atlantic Coast Conference and Missouri Valley Conference.
He is currently active as an AHSAA district officials’ director for basketball and track.