Cordova Referee named to Alaska Basketball Hall of Fame

Longtime Cordova referee Dick Shellhorn has been named to the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Shellhorn, who wrapped up his 50th and final season of officiating this year, was notified of the honor by David Porter, president of AABC.

“The past two years we have had to cancel our All-Star Weekend and Awards Banquet due to COVID,” Porter said. “We are getting it back this year and have introduced two new categories for our AABC Hall of Fame, namely Officials and Sportscasters, to go along with Coaches and Players.”

“So, we are doing a catch up this year and the officials being inducted are Don Kassube (2020), Dick Shellhorn (2021) and Mike Lyle (2022).”

“Congratulations!” Porter wrote to the inductees. “We are excited to honor such an incredible group of officials. We recognize what a huge role you play and know the game wouldn’t be what it is without you.”

Born and raised in Cordova, Shellhorn played basketball for the Cordova Wolverines from 1958-1962. His refereeing career began here in 1972, when he returned to teach high school mathematics at CHS and teamed up with Jerry Bendzak to call hoops when he wasn’t coaching junior high or JV basketball.

Shellhorn has traveled all over Alaska to referee invitational tournaments and has been a fixture at countless 2A and 3A District Playoffs, especially when Cordova was in the 3A Aurora and Southcentral Conferences.

He has conducted Referee Clinics from Nome to Yakutat and been selected to officiate numerous State 2A and 3A tournaments, including six state finals.

“This is an incredible honor and surprise,” Shellhorn said. “I’ve met so many good officials over the years and discovered we all have the same common goal — calling that elusive perfect game, while teaching about respect and sportsmanship.”

“This award is a tribute to Cordova — the players, the coaches, the school, the fans, and the community,” Shellhorn said. “Over all my travels, I have discovered they are the best.”

Shellhorn also paid tribute to his wife Sue, who has supported his long career.

“If you think being a referee is hard, try being a referee’s wife,” he said.

Tales of his favorite adventures in officiating can be found in his book “Balls and Stripes”.

“I guess one of my most famous calls would be a technical foul I called on the stage curtain at CHS Court,” Shellhorn said. “The players for a visiting team were behind it and kept trying to distract Cordova free throw shooters by moving the curtain, and despite repeated warnings, would not stop.”

Shellhorn will receive his award during the Senior All-Star games and banquet in Anchorage on April 15-16.