Dillon’s Mike Richardson Receives Frontier Conference Distinguished Service Award

Dillon, Mont. native Richardson was presented with the Frontier Conference Distinguished Service Award by conference commissioner Kent Paulson, conference supervisor of basketball officials Mike Fischer and Montana Western Chancellor Michael 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.