IHSA honors local ref

Veteran boys basketball referee and former Mount Carroll resident Dave Gilliland has been selected by the IHSA as the Illinois Official of the Year in Boys Basketball. Gilliland, a Stockton resident, will be recognized at the Illinois High School Officials Conference July 9 in Normal.

Dave Gilliland, who grew up in Mount Carroll, has been selected by the IHSA as the Illinois Official of the Year in Boys Basketball.

The Illinois High School Association annually recognizes an official in each sport statewide for the great work they do for young people in the state and country.

He will be recognized at the Illinois High School Association Officials Conference on Saturday, July 9, in Normal.

"This is a huge honor for me because there are so many fine officials in Illinois and to be recognized out of such a dedicated group means a lot," Gilliland said.

Gilliland graduated from Mount Carroll High School in 1976. He began his officiating career while a student at Augustana College and received a regional tournament assignment in 1978 at the age of 20.

Following his graduation from Augustana with a major in English and Speech, Gilliland interrupted his officiating tenure by coaching varsity boys basketball for many years, the majority of them at Burlington Central High School in Burlington, Ill., and Brussels High School in Brussels, Ill.

In 2002, Gilliland returned to officiating after becoming a full-time school administrator. He served as the Stockton School District superintendent from 2007-18 when he retired from education.

Gilliland, 64, is completing his 27th year in officiating, having worked many regionals and sectionals, two super-sectionals, and two state finals in 2018 and 2019. He refereed the 1A state championship game in 2019.

During the past several years he has been a certificate basketball clinician and has mentored several young officials as they began their careers.

He continues to officiate games throughout Illinois, ranging from Quincy in the south, the Chicago suburbs in the east, and the entire northern Illinois regional.

"Officiating has always been a way to stay involved and give back to the game and the student-athletes playing the game, starting when I graduated from Mount Carroll High School and then again after I retired from coaching," said Gilliland.

"At 64, I am still able to physically give the coaches and players the effort they deserve. With the historic referee shortage in Illinois, I feel responsible to mentor and recruit new officials."

Gilliland said he would not have been able to be successful without the support of his family, especially his wife Gail.

Dave and his wife reside in Stockton. He is the son of Earl and Delores Gilliland. His father resides in Mount Carroll and his mother died in April 2019.