Updated: Dec 3, 2021
(Frontier Conference Press Release)
Mike Richardson, longtime Frontier Conference basketball and football official will be honored Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 in Dillon, Mont. prior to the Montana Western-Carroll College men’s basketball game.
Dillon, Mont. native Richardson will be presented the Frontier Conference Distinguished
Service Award by conference commissioner Kent Paulson and Montana Western
Chancellor Mike Reid.
The Frontier Conference periodically recognizes individuals who have positively
impacted the well-being of the conference through their service. Individuals are
nominated for this award by members of the Frontier Conference and are voted
upon by the Conference Athletic Directors, with approval for the recognition
being sent onto the Council of Presidents.
Richardson’s career as an official began 38 years ago. He credits Pete Waylett,
Joe Morstein and Rick Kuntz as mentors that successfully guided him into his
career in basketball officiating. Richardson said he learned from the best.
Richardson’s not sure about his very first game officiated but says it was probably
a freshmen game at Beaverhead County High School. He remembers his first Frontier Conference basketball game vividly. It was Eastern Montana College vs Western Montana College in Dillon, Mont.
Richardson said he was nervous with butterflies the size of elephants. It didn’t
help that it was a huge rivalry game and that the Straugh Gymnasium was packed
to the rafters.
In 1988, the basketball officials worked in two-man crews. His partner for his
first Frontier Conference men’s basketball game was Pete Waylett. Richardson
said having Pete as his partner was just what he needed. Waylett settled the
rookie Richardson down and it wasn’t long before his first Frontier Conference
game was over.
In his 38-year career, between high school and college, football and basketball
games, Richardson estimates he has officiated roughly 150 games a year. His high
school resume includes varsity, junior varsity and freshman games.
In college, he has officiated Frontier Conference football, and men and women’s
basketball games. He was also in the pool of football and basketball officials for
the Scenic West Athletic Conference. Then, add in the many invitational
basketball tournaments Richardson has worked as well.
When you put the pencil to the paper, that’s roughly 150 games a year for 38
years. Of those 150 games a year, roughly 50 of those games were Frontier
Conference games. Final tally (roughly), 5,700 career games for Richardson, and
of that, 1,900 Frontier Conference games.
Richardson has retired as a Frontier Conference basketball official but will
continue to officiate Frontier Conference football games and stay in the local
official’s pool for high school basketball and football.