Congratulations to my friend and former Southern Illinois University Edwardsville classmate Ed Hightower. Ed officiated his last basketball game on Dec. 28 at Evansville (Indiana) University.
At SIUE Ed and I officiated a few basketball games together for our SIUE intramural department at Shurtleff College in Alton for college credit.
Ed has been a basketball referee since the 1970s. He was on national television many times officiating the big games. Ed officiated more than 2,500 games. He worked 12 Final Four tournaments with five of them for the national championship.
Ed played basketball and graduated from Alton High School. Ed was a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent at Alton.
Ed is presently the superintendent of the Edwardsville School District. Ed has talked to my R.J. Krause All-Stars, a youth program, at a Cardinals baseball game.
In 1994 Ed and I received the SIUE Kimmel Award, which is sponsored by the Belleville News-Democrat. He recently was inducted into the SIUE Hall of Fame.
In 2012 I interviewed Ed at half-time at the East St. Louis at Edwardsville playoff football game. This game was on East St. Louis Charter Cable TV Channel 984. Because of my wheelchair, I couldn't get to the press box. I sat on the Edwardsville side and noticed the Edwardsville fans looking at us with respect to Hightower during the interview.
I am proud to know Ed Hightower, the referee. I am more proud to know Ed Hightower, the person.
Richard "R.J." Krause