NCHSAA announces recipients of the 2017 Golden Whistle Merit Awards for outstanding officiating service

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is proud to present the five recipients of the 2017 Golden Whistle Merit Awards for outstanding officiating service. These awards will be presented at the Annual Meeting at the Dean E. Smith Center on May 4, 2017 in Chapel Hill.

Criteria for Golden Whistle Merit Awards includes 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. This year marks the eleventh annual presentation of this award.

Tom Southerland

For over 30 years, Tom Southerland has served as an exemplary leader on and off the field in the sport of Football.  Known as an expert official, as witnessed by his numerous post-season assignments at both the high school and NCAA levels, Southerland is recognized for his service to teach rules, mechanics and philosophy of effective game management.  He has also revolutionized the important training methodology of video review for the largest football association in the state.  He prepares weekly training video clips as well as pre-season video as part of our readiness program.  Southerland is a strong family man, a pillar in the community and a gentleman devoted to service, teaching and the betterment of officiating.

David Brown

David Brown’s officiating career is one that is marked by a commitment to excellence, service to others, leading by example and a tradition of teaching. He is a passionate, tireless and enthusiastic official, a true role model to his peers. He has officiated high school baseball for 22 years, high school football for 12 years, and high school basketball for 25 years, serving in three regional finals and three state championships. He has been the Piedmont Association Regional Supervisor for 6 years and is the Co-founder of the Metrolina Umpire School.  At the collegiate level, he has umpired 10 NCAA Division II Regionals and five Division I Regionals and two Division II World Series. He is currently the supervisor of umpires for the South Atlantic Conference and is working with the ACC, Sun Belt and Big South Conference as an active umpre.

Gary Ollis

Gary Ollis is known as the “gentleman” regarding officiating.  He is dedicated, unselfish, honest, reliable and very hard-working. Gary is courteous to people at all times. He has officiated football for 25 years, serving in playoff games for 20 seasons. He has worked two football state championships. In wrestling, he has officiated for 25 years, working 19 Wrestling State Championship events and more than five Dual Team State Championships. He has been a clinician and trainer of new officials in both football and basketball, and is an assistant Scout Master for many years.

Bobby Pennington

Bobby Pennington has a passion for officiating and teaching. He has worked the USA Today High School National Championship. He has been selected for NCAA Post-season assignments at the NIT, Colonial Conference, Southern Conference, Big South Conference, CIAA and Carolinas Conference. He has also officiated for USA Basketball allowing him to work the US Armed Forces World Championships. In 2009, he was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame. For the past 10 years, Pennington has served as NCHSAA Regional Supervisor for the Northeast Basketball Officials Association. Under his leadership, he has mentored approximately 40 officials on his staff to advance to the collegiate level. He serves as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher in his church. His new mission will be as a public speaker focusing on leadership and personal growth. His passion is in implementing a program to bring back civility to amateur athletics in terms of discipline and appropriate behavior.

Art Hardin

In his professional life, Art Hardin has committed his life work to the advancement of the lives of young people in the Winston-Salem area. An NCHSAA official since 1983, Hardin is committed to teaching and service to others while experiencing a highly successful officiating career. He has worked seven NCHSAA Regional Basketball tournaments and four State Championships. In Football, Hardin remains as chief clinician for the North State Officials Association. He has two Football State Championship assignments in 1990 and 2009 on his resume. He is currently a Head Linesman in the Atlantic Coast Conference and has worked the ACC Championship game in 2010 & 2014. Hardin has been assigned the Army-Navy Classic, the New Mexico Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Citrus Bowl as well as worked multiple Division I-FCS Playoff games and the 2007 FCS Semi-Final game.