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Hall of Fame referee Hugh Evans dies at 78

Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and former NBA official Hugh Evans speaks during a press conference at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Former NBA referee Hugh Evans, who was to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September, has died. He was 81.

Evans was an official in the NBA from 1972-2001 and worked more than 1,900 regular-season games, 170 playoff games, 35 NBA Finals games and four NBA All-Star Games.

“The Basketball Hall of Fame family mourns the loss and celebrates the life of Hugh Evans,” said John Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Hugh was a trailblazer; in 1972, he became the first NBA Official from an HBCU, coming from North Carolina A&T University. He was also known for holding himself and other Officials to the highest standard.

“The game is in a better place for having had him involved as an Official and later as a Supervisor of Officials for 30 years.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also paid his respects to Evans, who served as assistant supervisor of officials from 2001-03.

“The NBA mourns the loss of Hugh Evans, one of the league’s most accomplished referees and a 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee,” Silver said. “Hugh officiated (close to) 2,000 games, including 35 Finals games. We send our condolences to his wife, Cathy, and all his loved ones.”

Evans scored 585 points in 72 college basketball games at North Carolina AT&T from 1959-63 and was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 2002.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, who also spent time as an NBA coach, noted the passing of Evans.

“A great Hall of Fame NBA referee, Hugh Evans, passed this morning,” Calipari said on Twitter. “Aside from being one of the best at his profession, he was a really good man. We spent time together at the Final Four this year and he goes into Naismith HOF this September. God Bless him and his family.”

–Field Level Media