May 16, 2007

Intramural official wins All-American honors

by Christi Mathis


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CARBONDALE, Ill. – Deveon Stiff (pronounced D­ee' vee on) has accomplished something never before done at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Stiff earned "All American Official" honors from the American Collegiate Intramural Sports at the recent national basketball championships in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Charles E. Ferguson Jr., intramural sports coordinator for SIUC, said it's the first time someone from the University earned the officiating honor and it's just the latest in a long list of honors for Stiff.

"This is a very high honor," Ferguson said. "It's saying you're one of the best of the best. Deveon is the best intramural official SIU has had had maybe ever but for sure in the 10 years I've been here. He's good at what he does. He has good communication skills and relates well with the players. He basically does what he's supposed to do and does it well."

Stiff, a four-year intramural official for SIUC, is a four-time recipient of "Official of the Year" honors at the Nike-sponsored Extramural State Basketball Tournament hosted by DePaul University in Chicago. He's also earned the designation as one of the top two officials each of the last two years at the ACIS Regional Basketball Championships at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The top regional officials from throughout the country earned a trip to the nationals and from 31 officials there, Stiff was one of just six chosen as an All American Official by Division I collegiate basketball officials.

Stiff, a senior from East St. Louis, will graduate from SIUC in December with a bachelor's degree in administration of justice. He plans to pursue a master's degree in recreation. The son of Marie Larry and David Stiff, Deveon enjoyed playing basketball, football and baseball as well as running track prior to coming to SIUC. Stiff joined the intramural sports program at the University his freshman year and began officiating,

"I realized I liked it," Stiff said. "I officiated intramural sports and then began doing high school and middle school ball too. Then I started going to regional and state tournaments. It's great to be able to be involved in the sport without having to play. But, the best part about it for me is the people you meet and the relationships you experience."

Stiff is quite enthusiastic about basketball officiating and said he plans to continue refereeing games in the years to come. The SIUC Student Recreation Center is home to more than 30 intramural sports programs.

All-American Official — Deveon Stiff earned “All American Official” honors from the American Collegiate Intramural Sports at the recent national basketball championships in Chapel Hill, N.C. Stiff, of East St. Louis, is a four-year basketball official for the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Intramural Sports Program. He’s the first SIUC recreation center official to ever win All-American honors.

Photo by Steve Buhman