AOA History


September 6, 1917 – The first Athletic Officials Association of America meeting takes place. Football meetings ran throughout the season, starting in September and running through December. Meetings were held on Thursdays at the Atlantic Hotel in Chicago.

November, 1917 – The AOA Basketball Division holds its first meeting. Meetings took place during the season and were held on Mondays from November through March at the Atlantic Hotel in Chicago.

September, 1925 – The AOA Advisory Committee included Major John Griffith, the Commissioner of the Western Conference (later known as the Big Ten); Alonzo Stagg, University of Chicago Football Coach; and Knute Rockne, Notre Dame Football Coach.

November 26, 1926 – The AOA Banquet was held at the Hotel Morison and was broadcast live over radio stations WEBH and WJJD. Major Griffith and Knute Rockne were the guest speakers. Each AOA member was to sell five tickets for five dollars each.

September, 1926 – The oldest set of existing minutes shows that AOA Membership is contingent on passing a written and oral test. Those that did not pass the initial exam were allowed one retake for a fee of five dollars. If the individual did not pass the second attempt, his application fee was returned, and he was not a member of the AOA.

September, 1929 – The Tribune Athletic Association acknowledged officials for supporting Chicago Tribune events over the past 13 years. Four AOA members were recognized with a ring that included a quarter carat diamond. Those recipients were Miles Havlicek, J.J. Lipp, Nick Molloy and Charles Sidebotham.

March 1930 – A.C. Serfling became the first AOA basketball official to be assigned to the Illinois High School Athletic Association (now known as the IHSA) state finals.

October, 1931 – The depression hits the AOA as the division has $1400 in the Oak Park Bank which has failed. Rumors are that 30% would be available, but the AOA received approximately 10% of their money.

September 8, 1932 – The AOA joins the Amateur Athletic Union.

September, 1938 – AOA member Hugh “Shorty” Ray was selected as the National Football League Supervisor of Officials, a position he would hold for 15 seasons. Ray invented the Play Situations Book (now known as the Case Book) for both the National Federation of High Schools and the NFL in 1930.

September, 1945 – Both the Football and Basketball Divisions would have a new home for their meetings, the Bismarck Hotel, located at Michigan and Randolph – the current site of Millennium Park.

September 17, 1966 – Hugh “Shorty” Ray was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor. He still exists as the only official inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

May, 1968 – Bill Harley is the first recipient of the AOA Recognition Award. The AOA presented the award to individuals that made significant contributions to officiating or to high school sports. Some of the future award recipients included NFL official Jerry Markbreit and Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Lattner. The award was presently through 1988.

November 22, 1974 – Ray Brooks becomes the first AOA official to work the IHSA state finals in two different sports. Brooks was a basketball state final official in 1967, 1968 and 1973 and worked the Class 4A state football championship in 1974.

September, 1976 – After holding meetings in Chicago for 59 years, both the football and basketball divisions moved to Concordia College in River Forest. Meetings would remain there until the early 1990’s.

May, 1982 – Abe Glick steps down from his position as basketball division secretary/treasurer at the age of 93. Glick served on the AOA in some capacity for the previous 65 years.

October, 1986 – Jerry Grunska becomes the first recipient of the Abe Glick Award. The award is presented annually to an individual who has been an AOA member for a minimum of ten years and has demonstrated dedication to the AOA by working for the general betterment and advancement of officials and officiating through rules knowledge, training, education, and mentoring.

March 13, 1989 – Jim Lapetina becomes the first AOA official to work the IHSA state finals in three different sports. Lapetina officiated the football state final finals in 1983 and 1984; the state baseball championships in 1987 and 1988 and the state basketball tournament in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

May, 1991 — Richard Kessler becomes the first AOA official to be recognized as the IHSA Official of the Year. Kessler received the award representing girls basketball.

May, 1993 – AOA member John Hornacek is named IHSA Official of the year for boys basketball.

September 28, 1995 – At its AOA Board of Directors meeting, AOA basketball division member and girls softball assigner Frank Nitti recommended adding a softball division. A motion was passed establishing a temporary AOA Girls Softball Division. The first season would conclude with 35 members.

May, 1996 – AOA member Ed Stanley is named IHSA Official of the Year for football.

March, 2001 – The AOA Baseball Umpire Division was founded through the efforts to Tom Buchner, Gregg Buchner, Steve Fako and Tim Kiefer. The first-year meetings were held at Naperville North High School.

May, 2001 – AOA member John Dacey is named IHSA Official of the Year for boys basketball.

May, 2004 – AOA member Frank Moscardini is named IHSA Official of the Year for football.

May, 2006 – AOA member Randy Liveris is named IHSA Official of the Year for girls basketball.

May, 2007 — The AOA secures two members as IHSA Official of the Year. Dave Alstadt receives the award for baseball and Dan Krueger is named as winner for softball.

May, 2009 — The initial charter member Hall of Fame class is recognized in the group’s first ever induction ceremony. Fifteen people as chosen: Ray Brooks, Maurice Connors, Justin Fortuna, Norm Geske, Abe Glick, Otho Kortz, Jim Lapetina, Bill Matheson, Dan McIntyre, Frank Nitti, Ron Olesiak, Jack Pittges, Ed Stanley, and Ken Trainor. Jerry Grunska is chosen as an Honorary Member.

May, 2009 – Frank Moscardini ends his term as AOA Executive Board Chairman after seventeen years in the position — the longest tenure for Chairman in group history.

May, 2010 – Eleven new members and two honorary members of the AOA Hall of Fame are inducted. The new Hall of Fame members include Vince Boyle, Wayne Endicott, Ken Falkner, Francis Felichio, Bob Foster, Bob Hanania, George Hidaka, John Hie, Dan Mazzie, Harold Schwind and Randy Tomassi. John Arreazola and Mac McCarthy are also chosen as honorary members.

October, 2010 – Patrick Deely, Joe Hall, Frank Moscardini and Willie Smith are named to the AOA Hall of Fame.

May, 2012 — Two more AOA Members win IHSA Official of the Year awards in the same season. Bob Jenkins is recognized in baseball and Sal Vasta is named winner for girls basketball.

October, 2012 – Tom Buchner, Bob Copas and John Hornacek are chosen as AOA Hall of Fame members. Tom Babyar is named as an Honorary Hall of Fame member.

October, 2013 – Dave Alstadt, Ron Apida, Ron Feign and Fred Norden are selected to the AOA Hall of Fame.

May, 2014 — Three AOA Members take home the award for IHSA Official of the Year in their respective sport. Octavio Herrera is named for football; Bob Copas is the winner for baseball; and Chris Schaefer wins for softball.

October, 2014 – Chuck Graber, Rich Klein, Lee Lupi, Ed Monaghan, and Eddie Palmer are chosen to the AOA Hall of Fame. Julie Fonda is selected as an honorary AOA Hall of Fame member.

October, 2015 – Paul Frerking, Octavio Herrera, Art Kasak, and Tony Swat are named to the AOA Hall of Fame. Jerry Schiff is chosen as an honorary AOA Hall of Fame member.

October, 2016 – Walter Eckersall, Tommy Kouzmanoff and Hugh ”Shorty” Ray are selected to the AOA Hall of Fame. Dr. Ralph Remus is chosen as an honorary AOA Hall of Fame member.

May 20, 2017 — The AOA celebrates its 100th year in a special ceremony at the Diplomat West Banquet Hall in Elmhurst. AOA Hall of Fame member Jim Lapetina is the keynote speaker. Over 100 current and former AOA members attend.

October, 2017 – Lee Daniels, Stan Honacki, Bob Jenkins, and Jerome Watkins are elected to the AOA Hall of Fame. Mike Marrese is selected as an honorary AOA Hall of Fame member.

October, 2018 – Joe Fritsch, Ted Lepucki and Sal Vasta are selected to the AOA Hall of Fame.

October, 2019 – Larry Caponigri, Bill Downes and Tom Kleinschmidt are elected to the AOA Hall of Fame.

October, 2020 – Jeff Conrad, Bill Mushrush and Scott Stemple are named to the AOA Hall of Fame.

October, 2021 – Gregg Buchner, Dennis Bracco, Tim Kiefer and Chris Schaefer are elected to the AOA Hall of Fame.

December, 2021 – The Athletic Officials Association is recognized by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as its Organization of the Year for 2022.


Induction Class of 2021-2022
Gregg Buchner
Dennis Bracco
Tim Kiefer
Chris Schaefer

Induction Class of 2020-2021

Jeff Conrad
Bill Mushrush
Scott Stemple

Induction Class of 2019-2020
Larry Caponigri
Bill Downes
Tom Kleinschmidt

Induction Class of 2018-2019
Joe Fritsch
Ted Lepucki
Sal Vasta

Induction Class of 2017-2018
Lee Daniels
Stan Honacki
Bob Jenkins
Jerome Watkins
Mike Marrese (Honorary)

Induction Class of 2016-2017
Walter Eckersall
Tommy Kouzmanoff
Hugh “Shorty” Ray
Dr. Ralph Remus (Honorary)

Induction Class of 2015-2016
Paul Frerking
Octavio Herrera
Art Kasak
Tony Swat
Jerry Schiff (Honorary)

Induction Class of 2014-2015
Chuck Graber
Rich Klein
Lee Lupi
Ed Monaghan
Eddie Palmer
Julie Fonda (Honorary)

Induction Class of 2013-2014
Dave Alstadt
Ron Apida
Ron Feign
Fred Norden

Induction Class of 2012-2013
Tom Buchner
Bob Copas
John Hornacek
Tom Babyar (Honorary)

Induction Class of 2010-2011
Patrick Deely
Joe Hall
Frank Moscardini
Willie Smith

Induction Class of 2009-2010
Vince Boyle
Wayne Endicott
Ken Falkner
Francis Felichio
Bob Foster
Bob Hanania
George Hidaka
John Hie
Dan Mazzie
Harold Schwind
Randy Tomassi
John Arreazola (Honorary)
Mac McCarthy (Honorary)

Charter Member Induction Class of 2008-2009
Ray Brooks
Maurice Connors
Justin Fortuna
Abe Glick
Otho Kortz
Jim Lapetina
Bill Matheson
Dave McIntyre
Frank Nitti
Ron Olesiak
Jack Pittges
Ed Stanley
Ken Trainor
Norm Geske (Honorary)
Jerry Grunska (Honorary)