ATLANTA (September 30, 2021) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club named Dana Senders as the 2021 Naismith Women’s College Official of the Year and Hank Nichols as the 2021 Naismith Men’s College Official of the Year for their contributions to the sport of basketball. Both will be recognized during the 2021 NCAA Basketball Regional Officiating virtual clinics, to be held in October.


First awarded in 1988, the Naismith Official of the Year awards recognize individuals who display character, integrity and dignity and have contributed mightily to the growth, success, and viability of college basketball. To be eligible, an individual must have been involved with the sport as a game official for a minimum of 20 years and worked both the NCAA Tournament and a conference tournament as a game official…retired from on-court officiating.


Senders officiated at the Division I, II and III levels throughout her career which began in 1987 in the Pac-10, Western Athletic and West Coast Conferences, but was cut short due to health concerns in 1995. In just eight seasons of officiating, Senders worked five years in the WAC and WCC post season tournaments, working three WAC Finals. She worked five years in the NCAA Division I Tournament, advancing to the 1994 Regional. In 1997, Senders became the Coordinator of Officials for the West Coast and served in the position for 13 years. At the Division II level, Senders was coordinator of officials in the Great Northwest Conference for 12 years with an additional nine years as the coordinator of officials in Division III’s Northwest Conference. Senders has also directed 25 West Coast officials’ camps and wrote a book titled, “Rise Up” in 2018.


“I am blessed and honored to receive the Naismith Award with all these incredible officials who received it before me whom I respect and admire so much!” said Senders upon receiving the accolade.


Nichols officiated for more than 20 years in college, and worked 13 NCAA Tournaments, including 10 Final Fours and six championship games. He was also an official during the 1976 and 1984 Olympic games. For 22 years, Nichols served as the NCAA Coordinator of Officials, served as Secretary-Rules editor from 1991-1997 and was inducted into the 2012 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame class.


“When I was informed that I was to receive the Naismith award as official of the year for this year from The Atlanta Tipoff Club I was completely surprised,” said Nichols.  “As I reflected on this news I felt honored and humbled at the same time. To receive this honor as a result of my fellow officials efforts makes the award most meaningful. When my career is validated by my peers it is the highest tribute I could receive. My family and I will forever cherish this honor.”


“Dana and Hank have dedicated their careers to bettering the sport of college basketball, both on and off the court, and that impact still resonates today” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We applaud their vast contributions and are honored to consider them members of the Naismith Awards family.”

Former winners of the awards include:

Men's Official of the Year Women's Official of the Year
2021Hank NicholsDana Senders
2020Mike EadesFelicia Grinter
2019Bobby DiblerBarbara Jo Smith
2018Jim “Boomer” BainDenise Brooks
2017John Higgins Al Link
2016Dick Cartmell Phyllis Deveney
2015Mike Sanzere Dock Sisk
2014Randy McCall Kaye Garms
2013Tom Eades Marcy Weston
2012Tom O'Neill Doug Cloud
2011Ed Corbett Mary Day
2010Anthony Greene Denny Mayer
2009Mike Kitts Nan Sisk
2008Scott Thornley Tommy Salerno
2007John Cahill Tina Napier
2006Steve Welmer Joe Cunningham
2005Ted Valentine Wesley Dean
2004Bob Donato Melissa Barlow
2003Mike Wood Yvette McKinney
2002Larry Rose Lisa Mattingly
2001Ted Hillary Scott Yarbrough
2000Gerald Boudreaux Dennis DeMayo
1999Andre Pattillo Violet Palmer
1998Frank Scagliotta Bob Trammell
1997Tommy Lopes Dee Kantner
1996Dick Paparo John Morningstar
1995Leonard Wirtz Darlene May
1994Tim Higgins Larry Sheppard
1993James Burr Arthur Bomengen
1992Ed Hightower Sue Kennedy
1991Don Rutledge Sally Bell
1990Mickey Crowley Bill Stokes
1989John Clougherty June Courteau
1988Joe Forte Patty Broderick


Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983.  Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.



Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]