Mention the name "Froggy" and virtually every college basketball fan will immediately know you are referring to Syracuse’s Dick Paparo. For many years, Paparo was considered the top basketball referee in the country. His gravely voice and demonstrative on-court actions were witnessed in virtually every important basketball game in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
During his NCAA officiating career, which began in 1975, he called seven Big East Championships, seven NCAA Final Fours, eight NCAA Regional Finals, and a total of 21 NCAA Tournaments. He’s officiated in the Big East, Atlantic 10, ACC, Southeastern Conference, Big 10, Big 12 and PAC 10. He has refereed in 13 ACC Tournament Championship games. In a poll conducted by ABC, Paparo was voted the top basketball official in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 1996, he received the Naismith Award as the No. 1 official in men’s college basketball. In 1997, he was named the top official by sport writers and athletic directors in the ACC. Paparo was also a past president of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, local Board #38. He retired from officiating in 2000.
While his officiating career gained Paparo much-deserved recognition, he was also an accomplished baseball and softball star. After graduating Westhill High School in 1962, he signed a baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs and played professional for three years. He then turned to softball and from 1968-72 and played for two of the sport's top men's major fast pitch teams, the Stratford Conn. Cardinals and the famed Clearwater Florida Bombers. He joined the Cardinals in 1970 as the team won the ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship, compiling a record of 86-15. In 1971, he batted .288 for the Cardinals who finished runner-up in the national championship. In 1972, Paparo batted .283 and was named a first-team All-America for the Cardinals who won the national championship, going undefeated in six games. In the off-season Paparo joined the famed Clearwater Bombers and helped them win the 1973 ASA Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship. Paparo again was named a first-team All-America catcher and batted .267 in the national championship.
1962: Signed pro baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs
1975: Started officiating career
1996: Received the Naismith Award
1997: Named ACC’s top basketball official
2000: Retired from officiating