U.S. Army MWR
 


Army Sports Alumni Spotlight: Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Donnie Eppley


Retired Soldier Soars to Highest Collegiate Basketball Officiating Ranks 


“My military training has provided me with the necessary tools to be a successful basketball official.  The communication skills and resilience that I developed while in the Army play an important part of how I am able to manage basketball games and ‘block out’ any mental challenges that can come from the crowd.” 

Current Position: Men's Division I Basketball Official

Eppley Refs during a College Game

Military Career: 1981 - 2002

Years with Army Sports: 17 years (active duty)

Years of Military Service: 20 years, 4 months

Year Started Officiating Army Intramurals: 1985

Year Started Officiating Division I Basketball: 1998

Hometown:  Carlisle, PA

Proudest Moment in Sports: In 2010, I received my first NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament assignment (Morgan State vs. West Virginia), assigned by John Adams, the NCAA Men's Supervisor for Division I basketball officials.

Best Sports Advice:  "Call the Fouls; the players will adjust" - Hank Nichols, former Men's Division I NCAA Coordinator and Hall of Famer.  Mr. Nichols was one of the greatest officials of all times.

Favorite Quote: "Those that can, do; Those that can't, criticize" - unknown.

Most bizarre event you've seen while officiating:  While officiating a unit level play-off assignment in Mannheim, Germany at the Benjamin Franklin Arena, a Soldier, who was playing in the game, had a stroke. A doctor, in attendance, was able to revive him. 

Current Assignments: Regular season schedules in the Big 10, Atlantic 10; Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Northeast Conference (NEC); Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC); Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC); Mid-American Conference (MAC), Patriot-Ivy Leagues and The Summit

Volunteer Service
Actively mentors and provides training to new basketball officials to include both CONUS and OCONUS military service members through the Army Sports Program. 

Career Accomplishments

  • Division III NCAA 2010
  • Division III NCAA – Sweet Sixteen 2006 and 2008
  • Armed Forces Championships 2001 (Kaiserslautern, Germany)
  • XVIII Albert Schweitzer International Basketball Tournament – 1996, 1998
  • United States Army Europe Men’s Finals – 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
  • Armed Forces Final Four – Army vs Air Force – 1995, 1997
  • XIV Jeune-France International Cadets Basketball Tournament – 1995
  • XXI International Basketball Tournament (Leimen, Germany) – 1997
  • PIAA State Tournament – 1998 – 2007 (State Final)
  • PIAA District III – 1992, 1993, 1998 – 2007

Assignment Highlights

  • NCAA Tournament, Second and Third Round (A) 2013 (Salt Lake City, UT) NCAA Tournament, Second Round 2012 (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • NCAA Tournament, Second Round 2011 (Denver, CO) NCAA Tournament, Second Round 2010 (Buffalo, NY) CIT 2011, 2012, 2013
  • CBI 2010 Semi-Final; 2012 Finals (Game 2 of 3); 2013 Finals (Game 2 of 3) Mid-American Conference 2012 (Play-in, Quarter- and Semi-Final), 2013
  • NEC Quarter-Final 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Semi-Final 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Patriot League Quarter-Final 2010; Semi-Final 2011
  • Atlantic 10 Tournament 2008 – 2011
  • Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 2008
  • Division III NCAA Semi-Final 2009
  • Special Olympics World Games 2004 (Dublin, Ireland)
Work History
  • August 2001 - present; Associate Director, International Association of Approved
  • Basketball Officials, Inc. (IAABO), Ocean Pines, MD


Eppley thanks his family for supporting his journey. He also thanks the following individuals for being instrumental in his success: his wife, Terrie Eppley; Tom Lopes, Executive Director IAABO; Rick Boyages, Associate Commissioner, Big Ten Conferences; and John Adams, NCAA Men’s Division I Supervisor. 

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