Mark Whitehead takes over from Jake Bell as coordinator of SEC basketball officials

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (June 15, 2016) – Mark Whitehead, a 31-year veteran of college basketball officiating and five-time NCAA Final Four official, has been named Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials for the Southeastern Conference, replacing Jake Bell who is stepping down from that position, it was announced Wednesday.

“As we look to continue the focus on improving men’s basketball in the SEC, Mark Whitehead will bring a wealth of ability and enthusiasm as the Conference’s new Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.  “Mark has successfully officiated at the highest levels of college basketball, he has relationships through his officiating in many of the strongest basketball conferences and I am confident his experience will be of great benefit to the SEC’s men’s basketball officiating program.”

Whitehead, a native of Denham Springs, La., has worked regularly as an official in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, American, Mountain West, Conference USA and Missouri Valley conferences and was selected to work the NCAA men’s basketball tournament 22 consecutive years, including 18 times in the NCAA regional round.  He was selected by the NCAA to officiate the Final Four on five occasions, most recently in April at Houston.  He also worked Final Four assignments in 1999 at Tampa, 2011 at Houston, 2012 at New Orleans and 2013 at Atlanta.

A 1982 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana, Whitehead earned his Master’s degree from SLU in 1984.  Whitehead, 56, and his wife, the former Terri Skains, have one son, Matthew.

Bell is stepping down as the SEC’s Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officials after serving in the position for three seasons.   He assumed the role in June of 2013 after serving in a similar position with the Atlantic Sun Conference.  Bell was a longtime men’s basketball official in the SEC before being named coordinator of men’s basketball officials. He was a former high school football coach and high school administrator in Lexington.

“We appreciate all of Jake’s work on behalf of the Southeastern Conference,” said Sankey.  “He stepped in to lead our men’s basketball officiating program over the previous three seasons and provided us with his knowledge and dedication, and we wish him all the best.”

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