Luke DeCock

In The Whistleblowers, sitting down with NC’s first family of officiating

John Clougherty spent his entire adult life as a basketball referee, working 12 Final Fours, but he never pushed his sons into officiating. Two of the three did anyway. On a special 16th episode of The Whistleblowers, the N&O’s officiating podcast with Clougherty and columnist Luke DeCock, Tim Clougherty and Conor Clougherty join us to discuss how officiating became the family business.

Tim is a Big East/ACC/A10 basketball referee following in his father’s footsteps while running the family’s officiating-supply business, and Conor is an ACC football field judge. (Pat, the middle son, played baseball at N.C. State but never picked up a whistle like the others.)

In a roundtable discussion, Tim and Conor talk about what it was like growing up with a basketball official as a father, why they followed him into the business and how they’ve seen their wives and children adapt to their officiating careers the way they and their mother adapted to their father’s.

It’s a fascinating and honest look inside a family that has embraced a difficult profession.

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