Richard Paparo

Inducted in 2001

Mention the name "Froggy" and virtually every college basketball fan will immediately know you are referring to Syracuse’s Dick Paparo who, for many years, was the top hoop referee in the country. His gravely voice and demonstrative on-court actions were witness in virtually every important basketball game in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Beginning his NCAA officiating career in 1975, he called seven Big East Championships, seven NCAA Final Fours, eight NCAA Regional Finals, and a total of 21 NCAA Tournaments. He’s officiated in the Big East, Atlantic 10, ACC, Southeastern Conference, Big 10, Big 12 and PAC 10. He has refereed in 13 ACC Tournaments Championships games. In a pool conducted by ABC, Dick was voted the number one basketball official in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 1996 he received the Naismith Award as the number one official in men’s college basketball and in 1997 was named the top official by sport writers and athletic directors in the ACC. Dick was also a past president of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, local Board #38. He retired from officiating in 2000.

While his officiating experience gained Dick his much-deserved recognition, on the field he was quite an accomplished baseball and softball star. After graduating Westhill High School in 1962, he signed a baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs and played professional for three years. He then turned to softball and from 1968-72 and played for two of the sport's top men's major fast pitch teams, the Stratford, CT Cardinals and the famed Clearwater, FL Bombers. He joined the Cardinals in 1970 and batted .100 as the team won the ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship, compiling a record of 86-15. In 1971, he batted .288 for the Cardinals who finished runner-up in the national championship. In 1972, Paparo batted .283 and was named a first-team All-America for the Cardinals who won the national championship, going undefeated in six games. In the off season Paparo joined the famed Clearwater, FL Bombers and helped them win the 1973 ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship. Dick again was named a first-team All-America catcher and batted .267 in the national championship.