EPISODE #99 – Stark County Basketball – The Referees


Matt Hackenberg, Kevin High, Henry Armstead, and Mark Milano

Guests: Henry Armstead & Kevin High

Hosts: Matt Hackenberg & Mark Milano

They get the best seat in the house EVERY game and also get PAID to watch!  They’re the referees of course!  And we have two of Stark county’s FINEST in studio to give us their unique view of over FIFTY years of Stark county hoops!

Longtime official (and McKinley graduate) Henry Armstead is first up and The Time Machine’s first stop is 1956 as Henry recounts his days as a young fan himself watching the 1956 Canton McKinley team from the sidelines. Among the greats he witnessed – Joe Bandy, Paul Stubbs, Perry Thompson, Larkin Bryant, Dick Alberts, and the big man Herm Jackson. Henry recounts what a treat it was to witness Herm battle Timkens’s Ron Blackledge toe to toe! Other all-star McKinley players discussed include: Roy “Bo Peep” Jackson, Bill Morgan, Nick Weatherspoon, Phil Hubbard, Ruben Vance, and Frank Ridley!

Henry’s fellow ref Kevin High is also in the studio! The time machine materializes in the mid-1970s to witness Kevin playing hoops under legendary Canton Timken coach Fred Harold. Kevin’s 1975-76 team was top 5 ranked in the state; he details a heartbreaking loss at the Field House to the Barberton Magic (who went on to win the state championship that year). Fellow players at Timken included Mike Miday, Scott Vendor, Tony Armsted (Henry’s son!), Frank Maley, Dennis Mumford, and Mike Roberts.

From there, the guys discuss Ken Newlon’s McKinley team of the late 70s / early 80s including players Troy Taylor, Ron Stokes, Jeff Shelton, Gary Grant, and David Greer and their intense rivalry with Canton South (including the legendary game that went to FIVE overtimes)!

Along the way we also hear up close accounts of McKinleys Eric Snow and Mike Hawkins, Canton South’s Walt Hill and Howard Joloff, Jackson’s coach Larry Taylor and Jami Bosley, Timken’s Jimmal Ball,  the match up between the giants of Glenoak’s Kostas Koufas and Perry’s Kenny Frease, Minerva’s Greg Kennedy, Canton South’s Ronnie Bourquin, Bill Nutt’s 1980’s North Canton team including players Andy Logan, Craig Huffman, and Steve Schick and also coach Dave Hoover’s Canton McKinley team that won back to back state championships in the mid 2000s!

As the time machine settles back down into present day, the guys discuss the unique impact refs can have on the players they officiate beyond the court as well as the tight bond of friendship that’s formed between these two men 20 years apart in age. When Henry refers to Kevin as “his son,” you truly feel the power and meaning behind those words.

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