Luke DeCock

In The Whistleblowers, John Clougherty says Dean Smith ‘was instrumental’ in the ACC hiring him.

In the 13th episode of The Whistleblowers, the N&O’s officiating podcast with John Clougherty and Luke DeCock, Clougherty tells the story of how Dean Smith helped get him his job as supervisor of ACC basketball officials in 2005:

“He was instrumental. I never solicited any support from any coaches either presently they were coaching in the ACC or retired. I said that’s not the way to go. Some of the recommendations came from guys like Hank Nichols and Danny Gavitt and Tom Jernstadt. I didn’t think I needed to go to the coaches.

“But John Swofford went to coach Smith and he says, ‘Coach, I need a supervisor. Should I look to hire an ex-basketball coach who’s out of a job who our coaches know, or should I go to, I got some candidates who are referees.’ And coach Smith said, ‘You need to hire a referee.’ (Swofford) says, ‘Well, I’ve got John Clougherty.’ And (Smith) says, ‘You need to hire John Clougherty.’

“(Swofford) says, ‘Why do you say that?’ (Smith) says, ‘Because coaches don’t know anything about the rules or anything about officiating.’ This is coming from coach Smith. ‘You need to hire someone who knows something about officiating, not a coach.’ Starting with that, coach Smith really helped me. And I found that out much later.”

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Sports columnist Luke DeCock:, 919-829-8947,