By Rich Rhoades
MECHANICSBURG — Longtime District 9 basketball official Dave Wright of Clearfield was recently named the new PIAA Statewide Basketball Rules Interpreter. He replaces Joe Catanzaro of Delaware Water Gap, who retired after over 20 years in the position.
Wright serves as an extention of the PIAA offices for the sport and as the authority on high school basketball rules and mechanics for the PIAA and its officials.
“He has served as both a chapter and district interpreter and has also officiated multiple high level high school basketball games within the Commonwealth including the AAA boy’s championship game in 2007,” PIAA Executive Director Pat Gebhart said. “He is well respected by his fellow officials and is highly regarded statewide as a valued source of information for high school rules and their application.
“The PIAA looks forward to a continued excellent working relationship with Dave as he leads nearly 6,000 basketball officials statewide.”
Wright, 42, is a Clearfield native and Special Education teacher at his alma mater at Clearfield Area High School. He and his wife Jen have a 3-year-old son Jacob.
Wright began officiating in 1991 and eventually worked his way into the collegiate ranks where officiated for 13 years at the NCAA Division II and III levels. As a high school official, he’s worked state playoff games since 1996, including the state final appearance in 2007.
For the past 10 years, Wright has been the Clearfield-Centre Chapter Rules Interpreter. He’s held the District 9 position for the last two years.
“I’m very excited and honored to be in this position,” Wright said. “I’ve learned a lot from Joe. I have big shoes to fill because he was respected and highly regarded statewide. He’ll be sorely missed.”
The PIAA post is a part-time position, one that Wright knows will take a lot of work. Coordinating officials across the state is no small feat.
“The number one challenge is to make sure we implement the National Federation rules consistently statewide. That’s always the overriding goal,” said Wright. “And providing timely and accurate answers to rules questions from schools officials and chapters is certainly a big focus.”
He’s looking forward to helping improve the quality of officiating as well as recruiting more officials.
“This is a whole new challenge, but it marries both of my worlds and passions — teaching and officiating” Wright said.