Birthdate: July 9, 1952
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio
High School: Portsmouth Clay (1970)
College: Rio Grande (1974)
Year Inducted: 2015
John Tipton began officiating high school basketball games when he was 19 years old, and it didn’t take long for him to establish a good reputation. He was just 23 when he received his first assignment to work at the Ohio High School State Tournament.
Thirty-eight years later Tipton has a vivid memory of that day. “Who do I have for my first game?” he said, pausing briefly. “Charlie Huggins.”
Huggins, head coach at Indian Valley South High School, was known for giving officials a hard time, and Tipton admits that he was nervous before the tip-off. He said his veteran officiating partner relieved some of the stress in the pre-game meeting by advising Huggins who would be in charge.
“We didn’t have any problems,” said Tipton, who would be chosen to wear a striped shirt at the state tournament 14 more times during his career.
A longtime teacher and baseball coach at Portsmouth High School, Tipton refereed Ohio high school games for 43 years and has been a college basketball official for 41 seasons.
Tipton has been active in the training of officials for many years.