Longtime college basketball official Ed Hightower worked his final game on Sunday in Iowa’s 88-61 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Hightower, 62, finished a 36-year career that included 32 seasons of officiating in the Big Ten Conference and 12 assignments in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four.
Other assignments in his final week of work included games at Michigan State and Nebraska.
“I have been the luckiest guy in the world. How many people can you say can go through life and do the kind of things they want to do?” Hightower reflected after Sunday’s game. “Think about that for a moment. I’ve been an educator. I worked my first national championship in 1988, had an opportunity to go to the NBA. Stayed in education, because again, I would have had to give it up. To stay in college basketball and work with young people, then my day job, working with young people, how many people can say they go through an entire career and really do the kinds of things they want to do?
“And I‘ve been fortunate, and the game has been so good to me. The game is in good shape. I don’t want to hang around. I’m healthy. I feel good. The coaches still respect me, and I want to go out with that respect and not hang around and have them remember what I used to be. That’s what this is all about.”
Hightower said he plans to continue work as the superintendent of the Edwardsville (Ill.) Community School District.
Aaron White shares his respect for Hightower’s work:
Hightower leaves the floor for the final time: