The Eastern District Football & Basketball Officials Association began sometime during the early 1950’s. Lorn McCartney (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall of Fame, 1975) started the association in Dennison, Ohio. McCartney was the first secretary of the association. The association then moved to Dover and held meetings at Dick Klar’s Sporting Goods Store in the upstairs. Dick Klar (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall of Fame, 1971) was the second secretary and then relinquished that position to Al Veigel (Ohio High School Athletic Association Officials Hall of Fame, 1992). Veigel actually was secretary when the requested split into two separate associations took place. Veigel was the only secretary of the association who was not a football official. The actual separation took place during the 1966 season. Several years later Ron Whetstone became the fourth secretary. Our meetings were moved to Dover High School. When Whetstone retired (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall of Fame, 1986), Albert Amicone (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall Of Fame, 2003, Ohio High School Athletic Association Hall Of Fame, 2002) was voted into the secretary position making him the fifth secretary of our association. Presently, Jim O’Donnell is the sixth secretary in the approximately 65 years of our association’s history.
The association has had three names since its inception. The first name being The Eastern District Football and Basketball Officials Association. When the split occurred in 1996, the name was changed to The Eastern District Football Officials Association. In 2000, the association name was changed to the current Tuscarawas Football Officials Association.
Over the years many of our member officials have stood out among the best high school and collegiate officials anywhere. Earl “Monk” Grose (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall of Fame, 1972) officiated in the Big Ten Conference as well as the professional ranks. Gross officiated in the old American Football Conference. The Cleveland Browns were members of this league and was coached by Paul Brown. Two outstanding members were Jordan Besozzi (Tuscarawas Football Officials Association Hall of Fame, 1978): (Ohio High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, 1990): (National Federation of State High Schools Hall of Fame) and Joe Pangrazio (Tuscarawas Football Officials Hall of Fame, 2001): (Ohio High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame,1987): (National Federation of State High School Hall of Fame, 2015). Besozzi and Pangrazio were selected and inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association Hall of Fame. Both men were very deserving of this prestigious award.
The dedication and commitment that started many years ago continues today. However, the association must grow to meet future challenges by providing the best football officials for area schools.