MORRISON: Officiating Runs In Eades’ Blood

CHARLESTON – You will never see Anthony Eades argue with an officials call.

Well at least not much.

The way the Bluefield star has it figured, it just wouldn’t be right.

There are a few players who are sons of coaches, others who are sons of former stars.

Eades is even more of a rarity. He is a son of a referee.

His dad, Mike, is a top official affiliated with, for the most part, the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Mike is also the supervisor of officials for the Mountain East Conference, which includes local schools West Liberty and Wheeling Jesuit.

“I know everything he goes through,” Eades said. “But he loves doing it and he is very good at it.”

Indeed. Last year Mike was the alternate official for the Final Four and NCAA Tournament. That means he made the cut of over 100 officials who started the tournament.

Mike was at the Charleston Civic Center Wednesday to watch his son play in the West Virginia state tournament.

He saw a good show. Anthony scored right at his average, 19 points, and also had four steals and three rebounds in an easy waltz over Chapmanville.

This morning, he was catching a flight to San Diego where he will officiate in the NCAA Tournament beginning Friday.

The life of an official.

“There are periods where he will go on two-week swings,” Anthony, a senior, said. “I understand it. It’s what he does and he loves it. I know one thing. If we win it, he’s the first person I will call.”

Understand though, while Mike loves his job he also loves seeing his son play basketball. This season he blocked off several periods of time so he could watch his son play.

“I saw 15 games this year,” Mike said. “And if the weather wouldn’t have intervened I probably would have seen more.”

Basketball has been very good to both.

Mike was a two-time state champion, a point guard on the Jimmy Miller-led Princeton squad (1979-81).

Anthony is a two-time first time all-stater (with a third likely upcoming this season), is Bluefield’s all-time leading scorer and has one championship under his belt.

He wants the second.

“I’m trying to catch him,” Anthony said. “You know I don’t want him to have two titles and me only have one.”

Truth be told, Mike probably wants it more for his son.

“I would give back both my state championships right now if he could just get this one,” he said. “I’m so proud of everything he has accomplished in his career. I just found out today you can pay $10 and pick up the games on the internet. So I will be in San Diego watching (Friday, when Bluefield, the No. 3 seed, faces No. 2 seed Poca).

Mike is in his first year as the supervisor of officials in the MEC. It’s a job he enjoys as much as refereeing games like the ACC Championship game, which he did Sunday.

“I started out calling games in the Princeton Rec League when I was probably 25,” Mike said. “I enjoyed it and I got bit by the officiating bug. My goal when I started was the officiate men’s games in the West Virginia Conference. When I did that I set my goals a little higher.

“The thing is I had a lot of help, was fortunate, was in the right place at the right time. I look at this as a way to give back, to help make these guys better officials.”

He has observers at games and, like a coach, watches a ton of game tape, usually when he is on the road.

He has two basic principles.

“You have to know how to communicate with the coaches is No. 1,” Mike said. “Two is play calling. You have got to make the right call. Everybody misses a call, but you have to strive for making the right call every time.”

Which is one of the reasons Anthony understands.

He knows calls are missed more than most players.

Anthony will try to tie his dads state title mark this weekend.

Then he will move on to to college at Tusculum.

After that.

“I’m thinking about being an official,” Anthony said. “I might do some youth officiating this summer. I did it in the past and I loved it. And I couldn’t ask for a better role model.”

Mike smiled when he heard that.

“Well,” he said, pausing. “Only if he wants to.”

Dave Morrison can be reached via email at: dmorrison@theintelligencer.net