Shining Stars in Stripes – March

March Shining Stars in Stripes Winners: Utahya Drye from the Metrolina Basketball Officials Association and Scott Faglier from the Triad Basketball Association

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association would like to recognize Utahya Drye from the Metrolina Basketball Officials Association and Scott Faglier from the Triad Basketball Association.

Utahya is a dedicated mother of two young girls who still finds the time to dedicate herself education-based athletics by constantly improving in her officiating. She started officiating seven years ago but joined the Metrolina Basketball Association six years ago.

Utahya had worked on her craft and attended camps, which enabled her to be selected to several college conferences last year on her first tryouts. She also had the opportunity to work her first NCHSAA State Championship this year. Her positive attitude and role model-like behavior were inspiring for other aspiring female officials.

Nate, the Regional Supervisor of Officials for the Metrolina Basketball Association fondly remembers their favorite memory of Utahya off the field. After working the state championship game, Utahya shared the fact that the last time she was in a state championship atmosphere, it was as a player, and her team lost the game. Now, she’s back as an official, which was something she had never even dreamed of.

Utahya got introduced to officiating after she finished playing basketball overseas. She knew she wanted to stay around the game but didn't want to go into coaching at the time. Utahya was introduced to officiating by helping with some AAU games one weekend, and immediately fell in love with the game all over again. 

Utahya’s favorite part of officiating is the new-found knowledge that she has acquired. She looks at the game of basketball completely different from when she was a player to now being an official. “I understand the game from a different perspective and have developed a new love for the game” said Utahya. 

According to Utahya, the most challenging part of officiating, is applying the rules as written to actual occurrences in the game. Sometimes the verbiage utilized in the rule book can be challenging when applying it to a game situation. She would advise all new officials to enjoy each moment, absorb feedback, and have fun. If they need help or do not understand something, they should always ask.

For the future, Utahya hopes to officiate Division I Basketball and basketball on the professional level one day. With dedication, hard work, and a passion for the game, Utahya and Nate both hope to achieve this goal and continue to inspire and motivate those around them especially young officials.

Scott Faglier had always been fascinated with officiating sports since he was young, and it was his father Charles who introduced him to this world. Charles was also an official and a "Booking Agent" for the NCHSAA for many years, and he taught Scott the importance of being an official and the values associated with it. With his father's guidance, Scott started officiating in middle school as soon as he graduated from high school in 1982. Since then, he has officiated five different sports, including baseball, softball, volleyball, football, and his favorite, basketball.

For Scott, officiating is more than just a job. It's a way to relax and escape from the stress of everyday life. He loves the friendships he has made with other officials over the years and considers them to be a part of a fraternity. Scott has run the courts and blown the whistle with some of the best officials in the business, and their feedback has helped him to become a better official. He enjoys passing on this knowledge to younger officials and helping them improve their skills.

However, there are challenges that come with officiating, and the most significant challenge is sportsmanship. Scott has noticed that the level of sportsmanship has worsened over the years, and it has affected the number of people looking to become officials. He believes that officials should work together as a team and strive to find a solution to this problem. If not, all sports, starting from middle school levels, will suffer. Scott's advice to new officials is to work hard, be a team player, and remember that the game is the most important thing for the student-athletes playing.

Scott has been officiating for 40 years, and he plans to officiate basketball for another 4-5 years. He takes it one year at a time and hopes to leave it all on the court when he does decide to retire. He has been all over the United States officiating games and has met some great friends along the way. As a Regional Supervisor for the NCHSAA, he hopes to stay involved in high school sports in some capacity.

Scott's mentor, Jim Fuqua, has always told him to call every game and blow every whistle like it's his last because it just might be. Scott takes this advice to heart and hopes that future generations of officials will continue to do the same. Officiating has been a significant part of Scott's life, and he hopes that he can continue to make a positive impact on the sport for many years to come.