We always talk about the great things that the high school student-athletes have accomplished and the accolades that they garner. Today, we are going to feature a group of gentlemen that are just important to prep sports if not the most important as if we did not have them, there would be no high school sports.

Let’s meet the latest inductees into the St. Louis Officials Association Hall of Fame in today’s edition of the Friday Fast Break sponsored by Triad Bank.

The St. Louis Officials Association is the local group that promotes and trains officials in football, basketball, and volleyball in the St. Louis area. Every year, the group honors some of the best officials that have played a big part in helping grow and mentor new officials. This year, SLOA inducted five deserving gentlemen into their Hall of Fame back in late May.

Larry Donovan is a three-sport official as he worked 27 years of basketball for MSHSAA along with 28 years of basketball and has been involved in soccer for 50 years. Donovan has worked at a high level in the state as he has worked a pair of state finals. He has spent countless hours mentoring and working with new officials in all three sports. Donovan is also a member of the Greater St. Louis Baseball Hall of Fame and the area Soccer Hall of Fame.

Kevin Key has worked as an official for 44 years in basketball and 36 years as a Volleyball official. Key has had the honor of working in six state volleyball finals and he also earned the right to work a basketball final. Key has served MSHSSA as the officials’ mechanic instructor for 12 years and 15 years as the rule’s interpreter for the state in volleyball. Key was also a major part of SLOA as he helped guide the association from doing things on paper to bringing them to the computer age and he helped the association add the volleyball officials to the group.

Mike Imergoot is one the most recognized basketball officials in the area as he is small in stature, but big on the court. Imergoot officiated basketball for 50 years and also was a baseball umpire for 15 years. He worked six state finals in basketball along with numerous sectional and quarterfinal assignments in his career. Imergoot has served as the MSHSAA mechanics instructor since 1985 and still serves in that role in helping develop our newer officials on the basketball court. Imergoot is still active in prep sports as he is the head baseball coach at Brentwood High School.

Joe Poelker is another referee that is well known in the area as he has worked as a football official for 40 years and also worked on the mats around the area as a wrestling official for 35 years. Poelker was a Suburban Conference Crew Chief since 2004 before he retired. He worked 35 sectional round games, eight quarterfinals, five semifinals, and four state championship games. Poelker also worked three state wrestling championships in his career and was named the St. Louis Area Wrestling Official of the Year in 1996. Poelker mentored many young officials when they started, two of whom were his son Joey and his nephew Mason as they worked on the same crew with Poelker on his last state football championship crew.

Finally, Jim Rosen has been a mainstay on the football field as he has worked as an official for 50 years on the field while working as a wrestling official for eight years. Rosen was a member of the Suburban Conference officiating crews for 42 years with 32 of those years as a crew chief. Rosen has worked four state championship games along with numerous sectionals, quarterfinals, and semifinals. Rosen has served as the MSHSAA mechanics instructor in the past and in 2005, he took over as the area’s rule interpreter and still serves in that role. Rosen continues to give back to the new officials not only in the area but in the state as he regularly presents at SLOA meetings and state football meetings.

Congratulations to this outstanding group of individuals for everything that they have done for the high school student-athletes in the area. They truly are the unsung heroes of high school sports and they should be celebrated.

Jim Powers

Jim Powers

Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at japowers2421@yahoo.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan