Monday evening at Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gymnasium at Butte High School, local volleyball officials honored and thanked longtime official and friend, Tom Roberts, who is retiring after more than 4 decades of service to the sport as a coach, organizer, official, friend and mentor.

Throughout his impressive career, Tom Roberts worked as an official at literally every level from grade school to the Big Sky Conference and was instrumental in getting the sport implemented on not only at Butte schools but on a statewide level as well.  In 1975, Roberts started the grade school volleyball program here in Butte which up to that time did not have volleyball as an organized sport.  It was at this program that Roberts' officiating career began.  Nine years later, volleyball was added as a sport by the Montana High School Association where, as last night's script read, "Tom was most likely the first person in line to sign up to officiate."  Roberts quickly rose through the ranks and became an official in the Big Sky Conference for 6 seasons.  He then moved to the Frontier Conference where he became the Frontier Volleyball assigner for over 30 years.

Current Frontier and MOA official Marilyn Tobin, whose resume rivals Roberts', spoke very highly of him.  "He was one of my mentors," Tobin said while relaying a fantastic story Roberts tells of Bulldog legend Heidi Hemmert.  "He reffed her first game in Butte in the 5th grade and later reffed her final game at Montana State," she recalled with a smile.

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