Doug Shows’ road to the Final Four began in a tiny YMCA gym and ended in one of the largest venues ever for a men’s intercollegiate basketball championship, Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Shows shared his Final Four experience with the men’s fellowship of Rome’s First Baptist Church on Thursday night.
Shows said he found out he would be working the championship game the week before the game was played in Houston.
The three referees chosen to work the title tilt between UConn and Butler were told to report to their hotel in Houston the Sunday between the semifinals and championship game. “We went to dinner Sunday night and talked about the various situations,” Shows told the men of First Baptist Church. “We were pretty much sequestered in our hotel all day Monday; security was very tight.”
Shows said he started refereeing basketball games in a YMCA when he was just 13 years old. By the time he got to college, he was working high school games and made the move to college ball not long thereafter.
Shows came to Rome in 1994 to work at the Southeastern Cardiovascular Institute and has since moved into financial planning, but from November through March, college basketball is his passion.
Unlike college football, the roundball referees do not work in specific crews. Shows said he was fortunate in that he had worked several times with John Cahill, Albany, N.Y., one of the other officials assigned to the championship game. Verne Harris of Denver, Colorado was the third referee.
He said the chemistry between referees could be just as important to the games as the chemistry between the players. “Some of the best calls are the one where we don’t blow the whistle,” Shows said.