INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships announced that each will have two new regional advisors for the 2014-15 season.
New advisors for the men will be Robert Bissant, Jr. (South Region) and Frank Scagliotta (East Region), joining veterans Ted Hillary (Midwest Region) and Tommy Nunez Sr. (West Region). For the women, veterans Diane Plas (Midwest Region) and Judy Stroud (South Region) will be joined by newcomers Larry Neidich (West Region) and Taiqua Stewart (East Region).
“The Women’s Basketball Regional Advisors not only observe about 60 games in person and more on video, but they chart every correct call, incorrect call and incorrect no call for every official they watch,” said Debbie Williamson, NCAA National Coordinator of Women’s Basketball Officiating. “They enter this data into a database, complete a separate evaluation that goes to conference coordinators, proof the required written tests that officials have to take to be eligible for the tournament and actively assist in the selection and assignment of officials for the NCAA tournament. They have an important role.”
Bissant comes to the regional advisors position after officiating for 30 years at a number of levels, including at NCAA Divisions I, II and III. A former basketball standout for the Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team, Bissant is a member of Loyola’s 1994 Athletic Hall of Fame class. He was drafted in 1971 by the Chicago Bulls of the NBA and Indiana Pacers of the ABA. He played briefly in Indiana before spending the rest of his playing career overseas.
Scagliotta also officiated at a variety of levels, ascending to referee in over 20 years of NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship games, including three Men’s Final Fours and numerous National Invitational Tournament games. He received the Naismith Award as the National Official of the Year in 1998. A Pennsylvania native, Scagliotta is a member of the Muhlenburg College Athletic Hall of Fame, graduating from the school in 1972.
Bissant and Scagliotta will be filling the departures created by the retirement of Tynes Hildebrand (South Region) and Jack Sweeney (East Region), who was recently hired to be the Northeast Conference Coordinator of Officials.
“Very excited to be welcoming Frank and Bobby to our national officiating evaluation team,” said John Adams, NCAA National Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating. “They bring a wealth of experience to the program both as officials and evaluators.”
Neidich brings past experience as a head coach, referee, NCAA championship and conference observer to the regional advisor position. A 1975 graduate of New Mexico State University, Neidich was head women’s basketball coach at Cochise College in Arizona from 1981 to 1985. He has officiated games at all levels since 2002 and from 2009 to present has worked as an officiating observer for the Pac-12 and Big Sky Conferences.
Stewart, a 1986 graduate of Virginia Tech University, has been officiating since 1997. She has worked games for a number of conferences including the Mid-Eastern, Central Intercollegiate Athletic, Colonial Athletic, Conference USA, Atlantic 10, Southern, Big South, Old Dominion Athletic, USA South and the Great Lakes Valley. Stewart advanced to work numerous NCAA Division I and II Women’s Basketball Championship games from 2003 thru 2014.
Neidich and Stewart are assuming the advisor roles handled over the last eight years by Steve Goodman (West Region) and Vicki Davis (East Region).
“We are excited to have two new members added to our team,” said Williamson. “We have been very fortunate to have had the same four individuals serving effectively in these roles for eight years. Steve Goodman and Vicki Davis are rotating off and on behalf of the NCAA want to thank them for their tireless service and great work. Larry and Taiqua bring both coaching and officiating experience to this job and will serve very active roles in teaching rules and mechanics, while mentoring younger officials. Larry and Taiqua have big shoes to fill and I know they are eager to support and enhance the work of our team.”
“The NCAA regional advisors are an important part of the effort to bring consistency and accountability to women’s basketball officiating, particularly for officials selected for the NCAA tournament,” said Chris Dawson, associate commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference and Division I Women’s Basketball Committee member. “Larry and Taiqua are well suited to join the NCAA team, having demonstrated passion for the game complemented by an understanding of the nuances that identify quality officials.”