It's a Very Simple Game
Charley Eckman
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Refereeing: 1958 - 1963

Charley with Trophies

Eckman:  "At the end of my coaching career, I returned to my home in Glen Burnie, Maryland.  I took a year off and then I went back to refereeing the Atlantic Coast and other Conferences and stayed there for eight years.  I worked all the playoffs, the NIT, the NCAA, and I had some great times.  My record as a coach wasn't too bad - two pennants, tied for the third and got fired the fourth year...and I was the winning coach of an NBA All-Star Game."
"Refereeing kept Charley busy during the winter, however, the remaining months of the year found Charley working various jobs. He became well known as a banquet speaker who "could entertain and amuse a gathering while leaving them laughing and impressed all at the same time." Speaking brought about a new career for Charley.  He began working as a sportscaster on the radio in 1961 with "The voice of the Chesapeake Bay."  Later in 1965, Charley accepted a position as sportscaster for WCBM radio in Baltimore and then WFBR.  Charley also dabbled in local politics, losing a bid for the Maryland House of Delegates but accepted the job as Chief Judge of the Maryland Orphans Court.  Charley also found time to scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and later the Milwaukee Braves and helped bring soccer back to Baltimore. 

Now let's return to his refereeing career.

July 1958 - All-Star baseball game in Baltimore, MD. Charley, (circled) is watching Vice President Nixon throw out the first ball.

July 1958 - All-Star baseball game in Baltimore, MD.  Charley, (circled) is watching Vice President Nixon throw out the first ball.  Charley remembers that day.  "At the All-Star baseball game in Baltimore, there I was in a box seat with Vice-President Nixon on one side and Mrs. Casey Stengel on the other and Senator Capehart and all the other big shots.  If there was anybody trying to assassinate anybody, Oi'..Charley would have had it for sure.  I was right in the middle."


1959
"A Game Hangs in the Balance

"A Game Hangs in the Balance ..Action came to a screeching halt in the Davidson-Erskine game at Davidson last night when the basketball landed atop the backboard - and stayed there. Referee Charlie Eckman shot another ball at it, without success.  A long pole finally dislodged it." News Staff Photo-Honeycutt.

"Eckman's ballroom is his world of basketball.  Everywhere he worked a court-in high school gyms, at colleges or in the pro ranks-was his ballroom. Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford wrote in 1976, "Eckman has made it as a personality as he did as an official, simply by being himself,  "Handling people is three-fourths of refereeing," he says.  "All these yo-yo's these days take it too seriously." Once, before a tense NIT final at Madison Square Garden, he showed up on the court in dark glasses.  College kids would drop by after games they had lost and thank him for a nice fun game."

Referee Charlie Eckman tries on a pair of comic glasses

"Referee Charlie Eckman making like the big bad wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, tries on a pair of comic glasses during the Dixie Classic Friday." The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC 

"These were great years.  Charley was back in his realm enjoying the college boys.  The old Madison Square Garden had a great atmosphere for basketball.  Teams knew they were in the big time when they played in 'The Garden.' The NIT had great teams and great rivalries." said Charley. 
"Coach Press Maravich of Clemson is offering Referee Charley Eckman a cigar.

"Coach Press Maravich of Clemson is offering Referee Charley Eckman a cigar.  Coach Everett Case of State has Charlie by the ear.  Coach Bob Stevens of South Carolina evidently is saying "Now Charlie, Ol Boy." Coach Vic Bubas of Duke is also offering words of encouragement to Referee Eckman."

" Everett Case, the North Carolina State Coach, pushed to have Eckman return to officiating in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Charley considered the ACC the best he ever worked. NC, NC State, Maryland, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson - college powerhouses with great coaches through the years.  And Charley worked the playoffs every year........"
Additional stories of Charlie's refereeing in the 1960s are captured in Charley's book,  It's A Very Simple Game, the life and times of Charley Eckman, Chapter 11. 

Jan 30:  "Eckman, Master of Ceremonies at annual Hickock Awards Banquet in New York"......
"Charlie Eckman, Chief speaker at Sportsman's Club meeting ....Charlie, who makes Leo Durocher look like an also-ran in the conversation department is one of the nation's top college basketball referees and banquet raconteurs."
"Charley Eckman To Referee Here ... Charley Eckman will referee Goose Tatum's Harlem Stars' exhibition at the (Baltimore) Coliseum. "I just wanted to see me and the Goose  (Tatum) chug up and down that floor," Eckman quipped. This will be Eckman's first refereeing start in this area since he switched from officiating pro and collegiate games to coaching....
Seymour Smith's column the next day:   "Vaudeville dead?  Not so! Goose Tatum, basketball's ageless funnyman, and Charley Eckman, the Barnum of the whistle, mixed tomfoolery with field goals last night..... "You know that old man Eckman gave me a rough time." Tatum, 39  going on 45, quipped. "Like the time I fouled that nice McCullough boy.  I goes up to Charley and sez, "How many shots?" Eckman give me a stare and barks at me, "Two!" Now how can that be?  I only hit him once."

February 13, 1959 - "Quiet Man' Eckman Talks of 4-Man Game, by John Steadman, Baltimore News-Post writes:
"Unfortunately, vaudeville had long been dead before Charley Eckman came swaggering along.  Who knows, maybe he could have helped save it or at least prolonged the applause.  Right now Eckman is refereeing college basketball games, selling rubber, scouting for the Philadelphia Phils, making speeches, doing public relations work and, yes, being paid $1,000 a month not to coach the Detroit Pistons.
"I'm Fred Zollner's favorite charity," Eckman quipped. Eckman is still on the Detroit pay roll.  His contract doesn't run out until July. He settled for $26,000, without ever having to be there. He's coach in absentia.  Minus the headaches too, but with the money coming in by mail."
"It's hard to tell when fun-loving Charley is playing it straight.  Simply because he has never been one to take Eckman too seriously.  He particularly likes laughing at himself and a man who can do that isn't going to wind up with ulcers.  He's back officiating.  And the part fits him well. 
"I'll never forget the first time the pros played on national television," he recalled.  "It was in Boston and I was working with Faintin' Phil Fox.  Every time I saw that red camera light come on, I made a Federal Case calling the foul.  I was coming through like Gang Busters.  I took more time gesturing on a foul than they took for the commercials."
"Eckman says that when he finds himself in a bad game, he calls on theatrics.  "Otherwise I just try to keep the play moving.  Too many officials go out on the court with red necks and try to prove to the players how important they are. In a big game, an official tries the same as a player to get himself up.  I know I do.  A lot of people don't realize that."
"What's the future hold for Eckman? "I want to stay in sports here in Maryland," he answers.  And the colorful extrovert has the ability to handle most any situation.  After all, if you can referee basketball as well as Eckman, then making decisions should never be any problem."

March 25 - "Charley Eckman to speak at Notre Dame Spring Athletic Banquet, South Bend, IN."

June 11, 1959 - Charley began writing a newspaper column for the Arundel Observer,  Anne Arundel County, MD Newspaper

Mr. Charlie Eckman, nationally known basketball coach and refereeEditor Note: "Mr. Charlie Eckman, nationally known basketball coach and referee, and a dilettante in politics in Anne Arundel, will write a weekly column for the Arundel Observer entitled, "Good Morning, Judge!" Mr. Eckman last week assumed the duties of Chief Judge of the County's Orphan's Court.  In this first installment, he is giving us his impressions of life at the Courthouse these days.  Very interesting reading...see if you don't agree."

July 19, 1959  - "Call Me Judge', Eckman Rules A New Court."  "Charley Eckman is jumping from court to court these days.  Basketball court to court of law, that is. The Judge's pay is small, $1,400 per annum.  Why did he accept this position?, Well, the pay is small, but the position offers big prestige and class" said Judge Eckman in his Annapolis chambers as he discussed this and a dozen other jobs he holds. It takes all kinds to make a world.  Success is where you find it and go-go-go Charley has found it in the east, west, north and south.  Referee and Judge Eckman has whistles and rulings, will travel.  If the price is right."   Basketball's Best Magazine,  by  Art Janney

In a 1964 Sports Illustrated Magazine article by Frank Deford, Charley explained what Judge Eckman did:  "As Judge, Eckman left his mark.  He is, graciously by his own admission, "not a grammarian," but he was never at a loss when a lawyer was foolish enough to start using legal terminology that the Judge was not exactly up on.  Judge Eckman simply recessed the court, retired to his chambers, called a lawyer friend who filled him in, and returned to his court."
"His most heralded verdict, in the tradition of Solomon, concerned a particular will ("Orphans' Court ain't orphans." explains Charley; "it is all about wills") being contested by three siblings; two sons who had done no more for their deceased father than take him for a drive occasionally, and one daughter, who had attended the old man faithfully.  Arguments over, Judge Eckman banged his gavel. "You get it all," he told the daughter.  "I object," screamed one of the sons. "The law says I should get one-third."  "All right," replied Judge Eckman coolly.  "You will. You get one-third of what she don't want. Case closed."

1960

"Trophies Awarded - Ed Ramsey, right , who heads the Country Club Estates sports activities, hands trophies to Mary Ellen Kelso

March 24, 1960 - "Trophies Awarded - Ed Ramsey, right , who heads the Country Club Estates sports activities, hands trophies to Mary Ellen Kelso, outstanding player on the girls team and to Jimmy Day, captain of the winning 14-16 year old team at the Country Club Estates Recreation Association banquet last Wednesday night.  Looking on are Harry Hunter, north county Recreation Supervisor and Charlie Eckman, well-known basketball coach." Maryland Gazette, Rudiger Photo

Charley Eckman, left, feature speaker at Kodak dinner last night is greeted by John Doyle

"Eckman Steals Show on Kodak Panel"...The JUDGE - Charley Eckman, left, feature speaker at Kodak dinner last night is greeted by John Doyle, program chairman of Apparatus and Optical Division fete."

April 4, 1960 - "Griffin Alumni Get Break With Eckman Speaking" by Ray Ryan, Buffalo Courier-Express.  "Charley Eckman will be the speaker at the Canisius College Alumni Association dinner on May 1.  Eckman may be the best college basketball referee in the business.  His schedule indicates he works most of the important games along the Atlantic seaboard. More than that, he is a throwback to the days of colorful officials who also were eminently capable. "
"During the past season, Eckman refereed 88 college games.  Included among them were six tournaments - the NIT, the NCAA regional playoffs, the Dixie Classic, the Southern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Poinsettia, whatever that is.  So, with working and traveling, he would not seem to have a great deal of spare time."
"But they call him the 'man in motion' for nothing on the court, he seldom stops. Off the court, he is a justice of the peace, writes a newspaper column 'Good Morning Judge' and conducts a Baltimore Oriole radio program, 'Bricks and Bats.'  On top of this, he is an eloquent speaker and one of the most "Mr. Charley Eckman - The Ballplayer's Referee entertaining talkers you are likely to meet.  May First looks like a big night."

April 23, 1960 - "Mr. Charley Eckman - The Ballplayer's Referee ....A man of many and varied talents - that's Charley Eckman, well-known college basketball referee, Chief Judge of the Orphan's Court in Maryland, and a noted orator on the banquet-speaking circuit.  Eckman on occasion the past two winters had to handle a whistle in WVA basketball games.  Tomorrow he'll be in town to serve as toastmaster for the Morgantown Touchdown Club's big basketball banquet." 
"His amazing stories, serious message and great delivery all combined to make it an evening that will be long remembered by the several hundred people who were lucky enough to be on hand."

"He refereed several of the WVA basketball games this past season and handled the Southern Conference and ACC tournaments, Ivy League as well as the NCAA playoffs in NY.  Charley has made thousands of friends through his travels over the years.  People in all walks of life know Charley Eckman.  No one is too big, or too small for this man of many and varied talents."  The Dominion-News Magazine, Morgantown, West Virginia by Mickey Furfari.

Charley Eckman, noted referee who served as toastmaster; Coach Fred Schaus of the West Virginia squad; and Coach Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics

April 25, 1960 - "Main Speaker at TD Club Banquet ...Heading the Morgantown Touchdown Club basketball banquet program last night were (left to right) Charley Eckman, noted referee who served as toastmaster; Coach Fred Schaus of the West Virginia squad; and Coach Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics."NIT REF Charlie Eckman GUEST AT BLOCK "C" DINNER

March 31, 1960 - NIT REF Charlie Eckman GUEST AT BLOCK "C" DINNER,"  Charles Eckman, the man who set the national sports world on its ear by proving that he is a great coach as well as referee, has done it again.  He has the ability of entertaining and amusing a gathering who go home singing his praises.  To make it even greater, Charlie manages to leave them laughing and impressed all at the same time."     

Clinic Banquet Speaker ...Charlie Eckman, former coach of the Detroit Pistons in the NBA

June 9, 1960 - "Clinic Banquet Speaker ...Charlie Eckman, former coach of the Detroit Pistons in the NBA, will be the main speaker at the coaches clinic banquet Saturday evening at Zaberers Anglesea Inn.  Eckman is now chief judge of the Orphan's Court in Maryland." Wildwood, NJ paper.
Contracts Signed for Cage Game, Feb. 4th"...Charlie Eckman, Mrs. William Hirschfield, and Dan Biasone.

 October 20, 1960 - "Contracts Signed for Cage Game, Feb. 4th"...Charlie Eckman, Mrs. William Hirschfield, and Dan Biasone. For the first time in over six years, the NBA will play a regular league contest in Baltimore.  Charlie Eckman, the colorful whistle tooter who formerly piloted the Detroit Pistons, announced yesterday that his former club, with Baltimorean Gene Shue in the starring role, will play the Syracuse Nationals here in the Coliseum on Feb. 4.  Eckman is promoting the game for the Edith Rosen Strauss organization, a charitable group which has raised over $80,000 in eight years for cancer aid for children.  The game is the first here since the Bullets folded in November, 1954."  Baltimore News Post

1961

Charley Eckman (left) and Vernon Reese

"Charley Eckman (left) and Vernon Reese...hope to revive soccer interest here.  Baltimore News-Post, Charles Cullison photo

July 21, 1961 - New Soccer Group being formed. "When we were growing up, soccer was a big thing all over town and there are enough people to draw from in this area to bring the sport back to the popularity it once knew," Charley Eckman said.
"It's easy to see that the enthusiastic Eckman is "champing at the bit" to tackle this challenge.  And indeed, it is a challenge, because not since the 1930's has soccer had any kind of general acceptance in Baltimore city."   Baltimore News-Post by Vince Bagli.

Charlie Eckman's "Sports Show"

September 21, 1961 - "Everybody's Listening 6:20 to 6:30 P.M. Daily for Charlie Eckman's "Sports Show" with the Race Result Resume Only on WABW 810, Voice of the Chesapeake Bay Country."

"Carmen Basilio, Charley Eckman and Tom Henrich"

"Carmen Basilio, Charley Eckman and Tom Henrich"

November 28, 1961- Buffalo Evening News-"STARS at BAC Sports Night" Banquet Speaker of which Charley Eckman is one.."


1962

January 24, 1962 - "But It's Eckman Who Steals Show"..."Gentleman Joe Foss, commissioner of the American Football League, was listed as the guest speaker at the 11th annual Sports Night dinner program of Temple Hesed Men's Club.  But it was noted basketball referee and former Pistons professional coach, rowdy Charlie Eckman who brought the house down and afforded the capacity crowd its biggest howls during the gala two and a half hour affair. Howard Cosell, veteran sports director of ABC, was at the head-table along with Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Milt Pappas, and more.  Eckman, broke up the house with his own care-free, off-the-cuff comments on anything in general, even a few choice words on Adolph Rupp and basketball.     Sun Paper, Jamestown, NY  

"What Goes Here?---Is Duke's Doug Albright so overcome with joy here that he's getting ready to embrace referee Charlie Eckman?

"What Goes Here?---Is Duke's Doug Albright so overcome with joy here that he's getting ready to embrace referee Charlie Eckman? At any rate, Eckman wants to get out of there, and the guy on the floor is about to get stepped on." Photo by Ed Chabot. 

Referee Charley Eckman, looks on.

"Villanova's Hubie White jumps high, stretching his 6'4" frame to block shot attempted by Willie Hall of Redmen in first period.  Willie got another chance and made it in the stretch.  Referee Charley Eckman, looks on." February 9, 1962 - Madison Square Garden, NY The Daily News

 

Eckman is one of the more colorful and controversial officials

February 14, 1962 - "The Other Side of the Coin."   by Joe Zawacki, The Villanovan, Villanova, PA

"This has been the year of epidemic complaints in basketball.  Mr. Eckman is one of the more colorful and controversial officials.  He's outspoken and says what he thinks. Many call him a "nut". He agrees, saying that anyone who does this for a living has to be nuts." 
"Charley is a player's ref.  "I don't give a damn about the coaches, writers or fans.  The kids are the ones that play the game and when they're left alone by the people, they do a pretty good job.  I talk to a kid on the floor, tell him when he makes a good play.  It relaxes him and makes my job and controlling the game easier."
"The referees should be paid more money for their traveling. There's not enough top officials to go around, Why?  "The lack of good refs is due to the fact that the old timers are going out and the new kids are just starting.  The only way they'll be properly trained is through game experience.  And what happens when a new ref is breaking in?  They pick him apart until he retreats to the security of his job." 
"It's gotten to the point that someday, before I retire, I'm going to blow a whistle at a crucial play, go to the microphone, and tell the crowd,  "an important play has just occurred, so important that I won't be able to make a judgment until the game films are developed."   With 12,000 fans in the place I bet that will put a stop to it." 
"I strive to have the losing coach tell me, nice game, Charlie.  When I hear that, I'm satisfied."  

February 23, 1962 - Personal letter from Coach Stevens of USC, Columbia.
 "Dear Charlie, Just a short note to express my sincere appreciation for the fine job you have done in handling our basketball games which you have officiated.  This is not confined to just the Clemson game, of which I thought you did an excellent job and had very little help, but also to the Tennessee game, the Duke game, the Furman game, and certainly an outstanding job in the Clemson game.  Keep up the good work and in speaking in the behalf of the team, I hope that we will have an opportunity to have you work many of our games in the future."Navy's Jay Metzler scores on a driving shot

Baltimore Sunpapers (photo by Klender) "Metzler Hits for Middies - Navy's Jay Metzler scores on a driving shot despite the defensive efforts of Maryland's Bruce Kelleher.  Jim Bower, of Navy, rushes up for possible rebound. (Charley Eckman is the referee).  Maryland won the contest, 51 to 50. 

April 1962 - "Officials working NCAA Finals at Louisville, KY

April 1962 - "Officials working NCAA Finals at Louisville, KY.  Rudy Marich, IAABO, Denver, Colorado, Western Conference; Charles Eckman, IAABO, Glen Burnie, MD, Atlantic Coast Conference; State Senator George Conley, Ashland, Kentucky, Alternate, Southeastern Conference; Dan Watson, Austin, Texas, Southwestern Conference and Don Elser, Gary, Indiana, Big Ten Conference." (IAABO Magazine)

Charley Eckman IAABO Board No 23

IAABO - International Association of Approved Basketball Officials wrote about Charley; "Charles Eckman, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, demonstrating the signal he favors to denote player possession foul (offensive foul).  
"Recognized as one of the nation's top flight basketball officials, Charley Eckman IAABO Board No 23, Glen Burnie, MD has come a long way since he started officiating some 20 years ago for two bucks a game. Known as the players' referee, Eckman's colorful career includes working the first NBA All-Star game in Boston with Pat Kennedy; Coach of the Fort Wayne Pistons; Coach of the All-Star team, two years in a row; selected as Coach of the Year, twice, 1953 and 1954; worked the East-West All Star games in Chicago, two years."
"A product of City College High School in Baltimore, Eckman's services are widely sought after and he has one of the largest officiating schedules on record. It is difficult to name a tourney or conference in which he has not officiated."
"He worked the finals of the NIT for five years, as well as the NCAA.  In addition to his regular season schedule, this IAABO official, was assigned the first round game in the NCAA at Philadelphia, then moved on to Iowa City for the Regionals, later to the finals at Louisville for the NCAA Championships.  Officiated the finals of the Atlantic Coast Tournament for five years; finals of the Southern Conference for two years; NBA play-offs for seven years.  Some of the Tournaments he has worked include: Holiday Festival; Dixie Classic, Blue Grass Invitational; Poinsettia Classic; Richmond Invitational; Mason-Dixon; Second Army; and World Wide AF."
"Eckman's sparkling wit and personality have made him quite an after-dinner speaker to the point that he has to refuse many invitations to speak, as his schedule does not give him much free time, since he also scouts for the Milwaukee Braves.  Now his neighbors in Anne Arundel County, Maryland have persuaded Charlie to become a candidate for the House of Delegates.  If he tackles this like his other activities, the politicians and "Charley and Wilma at a political function"lawmakers are in for a surprise."

"Married, Charlie has four children, a boy of 19 in college, and three girls ages 18, 15 and 12."
Charley tried politics"Charley and Wilma at a political function"

May 1962-Charley tried politics but lost his bid for the Maryland House of Delegates.

Charles David Nevin (Chuck). 

May 18, 1962 - Birth of first grandchild, Charles David Nevin (Chuck). 

"Relaxing in his home

"Relaxing in his home at 7 West Georgia Ave., in Glen Burnie, Charlie Eckman (above) looks over a few of the many trophies he has been awarded, not only in basketball but in other major sports as well. " (Maryland Gazette, Rudiger photo)

Charley had priceless yarns about the professional game of Basketball

1962 -  Banquet Speaker....." North Western Virginia Board of Approved Basketball Officials held their annual soiree for area coaches and other free-loaders in Clarksburg. Charles Markwood Eckman was a notable choice for the principal speaker. He not only, as they say in show business "had 'em rolling in the aisles" with his inimitable stories of his experiences as an official and professional coach, but contributed some sound advice to his fellow whistle tooters.   

"The 41 year old Eckman is a man of infinite variety.  He now devotes himself to public relations work when he isn't officiating or acting as a full time talent scout for the Milwaukee Braves from Johnstown, PA east.  "An official needs only guts and judgment."  Charley had priceless yarns about the professional game of Basketball." Clarksburg Newspaper.Charley Eckman, center, noted basketball official, chats with Gator cage coach Norman Sloan

 

November 14, 1962 - "An 'Official' Discussion ...Charley Eckman, center, noted basketball official, chats with Gator cage coach Norman Sloan, left, and Ed O'Kelley, Gainesville Quarterback Club president, at last night's meeting." Gainesville Daily Sun, Gainesville, FL photo by Eddie Davis.

1963

"NOW - That's a Real Ceegar"

        Raleigh Times,  "NOW - That's a Real Ceegar" 

        Winston Salem Journal, "Referee Charley Eckman relaxes with a friend..One of the more colorful basketball figures in the ACC Charles Eckman relaxes on the sidelines with a stogie after calling Duke NC State game 3/1 in ACC tourney 

Art Heyman (25) playing his last home game, and Billy Cunningham (32), a sophomore, dominate action in the Duke/Carolina game

February 24, 1963 - Art Heyman (25) playing his last home game, and Billy Cunningham (32), a sophomore, dominate action in the Duke/Carolina game.  Charley Eckman is the referee helping Heyman.

February 25, 1963 - Richmond Times Dispatch by Shelley Rolfe. "OFFICIALS OF THE YEAR"...."Charlie Eckman and Lou Bello...For allowing no-harm contact...For keeping games under maximum control with a minimum of whistle tooting."

February 27, 1963 - The Cavalier Daily, University of VA, Charlottesville by Alan Rosenthal:  "Battle of Basketball: Crowd vs. Referees".....(Alan discussed several games where the referees and crowds raised disapproval ...until Friday evening Virginia played host to Clemson. This important encounter proceeded without any incident on the spectators' part. Perhaps the difference lies in the fact that Lou Bello and Charlie Eckman were the official at the Clemson game.  Bello and Eckman handled the contest extremely well.  Without antagonizing the crowd and the players, they managed the game with zeal and accomplished their goal of playing an unbiased role. A referee's job no longer merely encompasses keeping control of the players and coaches.  If he completes his job successfully, then he will have controlled the spectators also."

March 1, 1963 -  "ECKMAN LEADS TOURNEY REFEREES"  ... "The five tournament officials assigned to call the action are Charles Eckman, our favorite referee and possibly the best in America".....Durham Morning Herald, Durham, NC, by Jack Horner
"Charley Eckman: Players' Referee...He's Jolly...Jaunty....Tough...and Respected"

March 3, 1963 -  "Charley Eckman: Players' Referee...He's Jolly...Jaunty....Tough...and Respected" "I really enjoy this life. I mean it.  I'm on top and I'm not gonna let anything change it. Charley, a wavy-haired bright eyed dynamo fired by fierce pride and 50-cent cigars, a man of strafing speech and ack-ack laughter, is primarily a referee.  He sets high standards of integrity and independence and feels strongly that few of his colleagues meet them.  "Charley says every man to his job" says Mrs. Eckman, whom Charley met when he was playing pro baseball at Mooresville. "What he sees, he calls real quick-just like what he thinks, he says real quick."   Winston-Salem Journal, Winston Salem, NC

 Referees Charley Eckman and Red MihalikReferees Charley Eckman and Red Mihalik

March 1963 - Observer Sports Dick Pierce.  "No Pea Pod in the World Would Fit Bello ...Eckman... Mihalik ..Fox.  They've got a few things in common - a whistle, a striped shirt, black trousers and matching sneakers and brains that react instantly to the wrong way of playing basketball.  But beyond that, the divergence that is humanity does a star burst of directions.  You could sift through all the pea pods in the world and never find (these fellows), the four officials who worked the Charlotte Invitational - in the same shell. 

There's......Bello - who openly plays to the crowd with a flair that borders on showmanship.  Who else but Lou would sneak a kiss from a pretty girl with 11,000 people watching or embellish a foul call with a whirling dervish spin and a voice that drowns out the public address system?
Eckman - the tiny talker who's run the gamut of basketball all the way to Coach of the Year in the NBA and now is in such demand as an official that he had to refuse five holiday tournaments.  Chatterin' Charlie uses the cutting wisecrack to stymie coaches who're one second away from turning volcanic, and jokes to keep the players loose.
Mihalik - So conscientiously dedicated that he prefers being a semi-recluse to making some off-court mistake of word or deed.  He recently refused to allow a magazine story on his great skills. "I just go out there and hope and pray I do a good job on any given night." Red says with and intentness that makes you know immediately that he is not just mouthing a phrase. "I don't like to talk about my work for today things may be real nice and tomorrow they may be real bad.  I just like to put it all in the hands of God."

1963 - Charley Eckman named the No. 1 College basketball official in the nation by an outstanding sports magazine.Charley Eckman and Burl Ives

 

Charley Eckman and Burl Ives and unidentified person.

"Howard Pardue (left) Dick Alvarez (center) Laugh it Up...With Basketball Official Charlie Eckman"

"Howard Pardue (left)  Dick Alvarez (center)  Laugh it Up...With Basketball Official Charlie Eckman" 

The Roanoke Times, by Bill Brill, March 5 1963 - "Roanoke Touchdown Club Honors Cage Stars Pardue, Alvarez."  Pardue and Alvarez and Charlie Eckman were honored as the top college and high school players in the state.  Eckman honored himself.  The nation's No. 1 college basketball official kept the TD Club members laughing as that organization held its first every basketball banquet..."I win and loose a lot of games every year," said Eckman, the only man who can talk fast enough to make a 40-minute talk in half that time, "If you don't believe me, ask the coaches." 

March 28, 1963 - Sports Call, by John Kunda.  Eckman Speaks at Berks County Basketball Officials dinner.   "If Charlie Eckman's fellow basketball referees had any say in the matter, the veteran official would be the general manager of Baltimore's new NBA team without a contest. "A tremendous guy who would be great as a public relations figure for Baltimore," said Hal Grossman of Allentown,who along with other refs met with Eckman the other night in Reading (PA). Eckman's name is mentioned with Buddy Jeanette and Paul Hoffman as the top candidates for the GM job of the Baltimore club which moved last week from Chicago."
"Grossman and Honzo have worked many topflight basketball games with Eckman.  They don't come any more respected than Eckman, who has been in the whistle-blowing business for some 20 years.  Grossman recalls this rare incident::
"When we worked the Duke-NC game, the fans gave Charlie a standing ovation when he trotted out onto the court - and that's unusual anywhere."

Talking with Stewart Paxton, executive director of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc.

Charlie Eckman (left) will be principal speaker at the Northern West Virginia Approved Basketball Officials Association in Clarksburg on March 30.   He is talking with  Stewart Paxton, executive director of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc.  "Those who are fortunate enough to get invitations to the annual banquet have a treat in store, Charlie Eckman, the dead-end kid of the whistle-tooters' union is going to be the principal speaker.

"Charley Eckman accepting an award with his family and friends.

"Charley Eckman accepting an award with his family and friends.  With him are (left to right) daughters Gail, Linda, wife Wilma and Janet. Jack Fowler is at far right.  (Charley Menzel photo)

Charley with "Miami Shores"

October 23, 1963 Charley with "Miami Shores" at Bowie Race Track, Bowie, MD.