NCHSAA Heritage: Joe Eblen

Throughout the course of the 2008-2009 academic year, we will seek to recognize some of the great names of the past to highlight the heritage of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in honor of the Association’s 95th anniversary. In this edition we are pleased to recognize Joe Eblen.

Joe Eblen will go down as one of the greatest game officials in North Carolina history.

A long-time resident of Asheville, Eblen is a 1948 graduate of the University of Tennessee who coached junior high school football, basketball and baseball, compiling winning percentages of better than .800 in all three sports. However, he is best known in athletics for his work as an official.

He helped to organize the officials association in Asheville, worked as a booking agent for 12 years and was president of the Western North Carolina Officials Association for four years. Amazingly, he is in his 48th season as a certified football official in the state. He has worked numerous state football championships in addition to the Shrine Bowl and the East-West all-star game, and for years he also officiated high school basketball.

Eblen has been very involved in civic and community affairs, serving on a number of Asheville-area boards. He started the Eblen Foundation for cystic fibrosis and other chronic diseases.