INDIANAPOLIS – It will be a fine send-off for one of the finest to ever work as a referee.
After ascending through the state tournament, Eric Coburn as been declared the No. 1 referee in the state and will lead the crew in the Class 4-A championship game this Saturday at the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
Coburn, who is wrapping up a 33-year career as a basketball official with his verbal retirement from the court after this weekend, has worked the ladder of this state tournament. Coburn worked the Class 1-A Hamilton Boys Basketball Sectional, then the 2-A Regional at Lapel, and last weekend at the 3-A Semi-state at Lafeyette Jeff that had him work the Culver Academy win over No. 1 New Castle.
Coburn, from Leesburg, will work the 4-A final that pits Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference rivals No. 10 Carmel (21-7) against No. 1 Warren Central (31-0). The Greyhounds blew out South Bend Riley, 63-44, at Jeff and the Warriors shocked New Albany with a game-winning runner in the final second, 64-62, at Seymour.
“As I prepare to work my next and last IHSAA tournament game this coming Saturday, I will do so like every game I have worked over the last 33 years,” Coburn said Monday morning. “I will review rules and officiating mechanics, have a pre-game with my partners, and mentally get set to work the game. Working the last game of the season, and it being my last game, I can’t help but think that this is a fairy tale ending with a cherry on top, and I like cherries!
“I will also reflect back one more time on all those who have helped make this possible for me. I have had great mentors, partners, friends, and think of the trust and confidence that the IHSAA, coaches, school officials, and media have given me to work their contest. But mostly when I look up in the stands and see my loving wife and family who sacrificed so much for me to have let me do something that I have had a fond love for, I will say thank you.
“And I will thank God for leading me to each and every one of them.”
The Class 4-A game will be the final game of the day, scheduled to have Coburn send the ball up into the air around 8:15 p.m. Saturday night following the 3-A game between Culver Academy (22-6) and Evansville Bosse (25-4). The 3-A game is set to begin at 6 p.m. Morristown (27-2) and Southwood (25-3) will play in the Class 1-A final and in Class 2-A, Forest Park (26-4) and Oak Hill (25-5) will take part in the morning session.