WHEELING -- The Mountain East Conference has announced the hiring of National Football League referee Gene Steratore, Jr. as its first Supervisor of Football Officials. The 30-year officiating veteran will be in charge of selecting, training, evaluating and assigning all officials for every football game hosted by MEC member schools when the league's inaugural season kicks off in the fall. Steratore will begin his duties immediately.
"We consider ourselves quite fortunate to have filled this very important post with an individual like Gene who has worked his way to the top of his profession," MEC Commissioner Reid Amos said. "Gene's experience and expertise will be tremendous assets in our commitment to develop a model NCAA Division II football officiating program for the MEC."
A Western Pennsylvania native who began his football officiating career at the local level in 1983, Steratore rose quickly through the ranks and spent 15 years working in the NCAA ranks before getting the call from the NFL. He was promoted to referee in 2006 and just completed his first decade as an NFL official, his seventh season as a referee. In addition, Steratore is currently in his 16th season as an NCAA Division I college basketball official.
As the head of the Tri-State Officials Association, an organization which has been recruiting, training and developing officials for more than a half-century, Steratore has served as Supervisor of Football Officials for the Presidents Athletic Conference since 2010. During his time with that league, PAC grid officials have landed the highest rate of NCAA post-season assignments among all Division III leagues and Steratore says he has similar goals for the MEC.
"I am extremely excited to become a part of the newly-formed Mountain East Conference," Steratore said. "We at the Tri-State Officials Association welcome the challenge of supporting what we believe will become a highly-regarded football conference with a similarly high level of officiating. Our Association has helped develop countless college football officials over the years with many of them working their way up to the Division I and NFL level. I look forward to assembling an outstanding staff of officials for the MEC."
The MEC was approved as the NCAA's 25th Division II conference earlier this month. The 12-team regional all-sports league, which includes schools from West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia, will sponsor championship competition in 16 men's and women's sports during the 2013-14 academic year.