Inaugural Recipients Of Golden Whistle Merit Award Named

CHAPEL HILL – Three outstanding individuals from the world of high school officiating will be honored next month with an award for lifetime achievement.

Art Capper, Joe Jones and Bill Kelly of Raleigh will be recipients of the inaugural Golden Whistle Merit Award, created in a partnership among the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) and the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA).

The awards will be presented at the NCHSAA Annual Meeting at the Dean E. Smith Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina on Thursday, May 3.

Criteria for the award include demonstrating leadership, performance, service and training for the betterment of officiating, possessing officiating abilities emulated by fellow officials, being regarded as a person of integrity and character, and a minimum of 10 years of experience as an active official.

Recipients of the Golden Whistle Merit Award include:

• Art Capper has served 48 years as an active football official and 45 in basketball, working two state football championship games and eight in basketball. He has been a football clinic leader for 33 years and basketball clinic leader for 27 and is considered one of the preeminent experts on playing rules. Capper worked as an official in the NCCA all-star games in both football and basketball.

• Joe Jones has enjoyed a long career in several sports, including 34 years as a baseball official and a whopping 52 years in both football and wrestling. A member of the North Carolina chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Jones has officiated the NCHSAA state wrestling tournament an amazing 45 times. He also had officiated four NCHSAA state football finals and has been a state clinician in wrestling.

• Bill Kelly has been involved as an official and a booking agent in a variety of sports. He worked 10 years in both softball and volleyball but has 30 years as a baseball official, 28 in football and 45 in basketball. He has officiated basketball state championship games in all four classifications and has been a booking agent in three sports, including 22 in basketball, and is the NCHSAA’s highest rated booking agent for 2006.

“These three gentlemen are truly representative of excellence and leadership in officiating,” said Mark Dreibelbis, supervisor of officials for the NCHSAA. “We are extremely proud to make the inaugural presentation to these individuals who have demonstrated sacrifice and commitment.”