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County man receives honor as state’s top hoops official

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Pleasant Crossing Elementary principal Terry Magnuson recently was honored with a basketball officiating award. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
Pleasant Crossing Elementary principal Terry Magnuson recently was honored with a basketball officiating award. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

The plaque presented to Terry Magnuson 12 days ago has yet to be introduced to any of the walls in his office at Pleasant Crossing Elementary School.

It eventually will unless Magnuson has a preferred location at his Greenwood residence in mind.

Magnuson took home the Roy S. Gardner Award on April 25 as men’s official of the year at a ceremony at Lawrence North High School. The presentation took place during the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association’s annual spring clinic.

It’s the latest in a long line of honors as a basketball official for Magnuson, the principal at Pleasant Crossing in Whiteland since 2007. Others include the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s Center Circle Award in 2011. Magnuson in 1997 was selected as the state’s top girls basketball official by both the IHSAA and Indiana Officials Association.

Magnuson repeated the last distinction in 2011.

At 58, the father of four remains on top of his game regardless the ages of those competing.

“I enjoy it probably more so than back when I first started because when you’re starting you’re learning all sorts of different things like how to deal with coaches, how to deal with the game and management and things of that nature,” Magnuson said.


Name: Terry Magnuson

Age: 58

Born: Plymouth

Family: Wife, Debbie; sons, Greg, 28, Brad, 25, and Nathan, 21; daughter, Beth, 26

High school: LaVille (1974)

College: Butler University (1978)

Major: Education

Favorite TV show: Local news

Favorite food: Chicken

Favorite movie: “The Sound of Music”

Favorite athlete: Sandy Koufax

Favorite teams: Colts and Pacers

“Of course, now it’s a little faster pace. You’ve got the 3-point arc. There are a lot more challenges now. But as you get more experience, you get more comfortable recognizing what’s a block, what’s a charge. How to enforce this rule. And that’s just through experiences.”

Magnuson figures between local elementary school games, high school varsity competitions and small-college venues he officiates around 100 basketball games a year.

His debut officiating varsity boys hoops came during the 1981-82 season with Marion County rivals Pike and Franklin Central doing battle. He’s since worked his craft in nearly every one of the state’s many legendary high school gymnasiums.

Magnuson’s officiating history in boys basketball includes 31 sectionals, 23 regionals and 10 semistates. He worked state finals assignments in 2004 (Class 3A), 2007 (Class 4A) and 2011 (Class A). His girls basketball past features 23 sectionals, 17 regionals, eight semistate and state finals in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 2012 (Class 3A).

He worked the girls Hall of Fame Classic in 1991 and girls Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game in 2004.

Magnuson also has called women’s college basketball games in NCAA divisions I, II and III and NAIA for 23 seasons.

If it involves 10 players and a basketball, he’s your guy.

Magnuson derives as much satisfaction presiding over basketball competition involving players still learning the rules as he does a game featuring players who knew them years ago.

“First of all, it’s a way of giving to the community,” he said of his desire to help elementary and middle school players.

“I enjoy trying to do the very best I can. I’m not doing it for myself, particularly. I’m doing it for the kids because they are the ones putting forth all of the extra effort. They have to understand there are some rules, and whether it be parents or coaches or the players, if they don’t have those rules consistently enforced, how are they going to be able to make those adjustments when they get to other levels of games?”

Magnuson is a 1974 graduate of LaVille High School near South Bend. He left with 10 varsity letters and attended Butler University, where he was a standout southpaw pitcher for the Bulldogs’ baseball program.

Not surprisingly, he was a baseball umpire for 14 seasons (1992-2005).

The IBCA began handing out Roy Gardner plaques in 1978. One of the previous winners is Franklin’s Jerry Petro (1985).

A Lawrenceburg native, Gardner passed away in 1977 at age 58. His officiating career is well-known after working the state finals in 1955, ‘56 and ‘59 and being a Big Ten Conference official from 1959-69.

Now like before, it remains imperative for officials to continue striving to become better no matter how many years, games or awards are in one’s background.

“Every person who ever puts his foot on the court as an official, they can always become better by studying the rules, looking at videotapes, learning from your partners, going to meetings. All these things the Indiana High School Athletic Association as well as my college supervisors, they’re expecting everyone to get better because the kids and the coaches are getting better,” Magnuson said.

“If it’s a sport for enjoyment for fans, why not do your part in being the best you can be.”

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