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