Hoops official dies after overtime playoff game

Posted by FRANK COZZOLI, Of The Patriot-News February 15, 2008 10:07AM

Hoops official dies after overtime playoff game

District 3 basketball referees today were mourning the death of one of their own.

Veteran ref Timothy M. Bartholomew, 50, of Akron, died last night after suffering an apparent heart attack after he officiated the overtime playoff boys game between Hershey and Boiling Springs held at Red Land High School, officials said.

Rich Czarnecki, men's officials' representative for District 3, said Bartholomew was seated on a chair in a locker room after the 6 p.m. game when he slumped over and was unresponsive.

Czarnecki said Bartholomew's fellow officials called for Red Land Athletic Director Brian McNamara who summoned an ambulance and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Bartholomew was taken to Harrisburg Hospital, Czarnecki said.

Czarnecki was shocked. He said he met with Bartholomew at halftime of the game when the two shook hands and embraced before Czarnecki left to attend another game.

"You're always under the realization that this could happen to you,'' Czarnecki said. "And I've been in situations where this happened to other brother officials of mine.''

Officials across the district were notified of the death by e-mail. Bartholomew worked out of the Lancaster Chapter of PIAA basketball officials and primarily called games in the Lancaster/Lebanon League, Czarnecki said.

"He was a super guy,'' Czarnecki said. "He did anything for me. Anytime I needed anything, he was always there.''

Czarnecki said officiating isn't just strenuous, it's stressful, with unhappy fans and coaches chirping in officials' ears.

"It's not the exercise and the cardio, it's the stress,'' Czarnecki said. "And you're talking about a playoff situation. Being an official is very stressful.''

"He was one of my veteran guys and he worked all the time,'' Czarnecki said. "He was in good shape, too. That's the sad part about it.''