Lyskowinski headed to Indiana Hall of Fame
At Lanesville’s home contest against Orleans on Jan. 16, Lanesville resident John (Bill) Lyskowinski received an ovation from the crowd that he rarely took in when he attended many games for 26 years.
The rarity of the applause was because Lyskowinski is a retired Indiana basketball official. On Jan. 11, it was made public that Lyskowinski will receive the Women’s Center Circle Officials Award, announced by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
‘It was sort of surprising and a real honor to get it,’ Lyskowinski said. ‘It was a lot of miles and a lot of hard work.’
The honor recognizes his work for officiating girls’ basketball. In the girls’ sport, he worked 14 sectionals, 14 regionals, five semi-states and three state finals (1978, 1979 and 1990). Lyskowinski’s involvement with South Central Officials Association includes stints as president, vice president and seven years as secretary-treasurer. He additionally has experience as a basketball observer.
‘It’s a big honor to be someone from this area, Harrison County, to get this honor,’ he said. ‘It was a lot of miles on the road. Now days, a lot of officials aren’t as willing to drive far for games. We routinely drove to Jasper, Brownstown and Columbus to officiate.’
Lyskowinski also worked as a boys’ official, carrying the whistle for 24 boys’ sectionals and eight regionals. He hung up the whistle in 1994, where working a boys’ sectional and regional that year capped his career. He obtained his officiating license out of high school in 1959 but officiated mostly junior high games until stepping onto the varsity court in 1968.
‘There were a lot of good times and a lot of nice people along the way,’ Lyskowinski said. ‘When I was recognized at the Lanesville game, I think it was the first time everyone has clapped for me at a game. My wife (Janice) usually took the brunt of the abuse when I officiated.’
Lyskowinski said he is fortunate to make it 26 years as an official.
‘I always tell people, the life of an official in Southern Indiana is 15 years. You can be a great official for a school five times, but that one time they thought you made bad calls or things wouldn’t go their way, some schools don’t let you back. But that is the way it is,’ he said.
He initially got into officiating to stay in shape. Lyskowinski said he still gets encouragement to get back into officiating, especially with the three-man crew working games instead of a two-man when he was involved. But he has found a way to get back into the game outside of running up and down the court. He is currently an observer for the IHSAA, checking out officials for sectional assignments.
‘It’s been intriguing to get back into it,’ Lyskowinski said. ‘I’ve watched probably 25 games so far this year. It’s definitely different to watch a game as a spectator and to watch the officials. Especially at Lanesville, when you are watching the home team and officials. It takes some getting used to.’
The All Silver Anniversary Team honorees and Center Circle Officials Award winners will be recognized at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s Annual Women’s Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 24.
The ceremony will take place at the Primo South Banquet and Conference Center, located on the south side of Indianapolis. Tickets will be made available in the coming weeks.
For more information, call the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame at 1-765-529-1891.