| Overall UK Wins: 0 | Overall UK Losses: 1 | Win % 0 |
Date of Birth: November 7, 1938
Date of Death: October 9, 1992
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Alma Mater: Lafayette College
For a generalized listing of officials, please consult this page.
|12/3/1988||Kentucky vs. Notre Dame||L||65 - 81||18||25||27||13||0||0||None||Paul Housman, Peter Pavia and Larry Rose|
Obituary - Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle (October 10, 1992)
Pete Pavia, Rochester Basketball Official, Dies at 54
Waged 13-year battle with Cancer
Pete Pavia, the longtime Rochester basketball official who waged a courageous 13-year battle with cancer, died yesterday. He was 54.
Despite his struggles, Pavia had remained upbeat. He talked about how he was going to beat the disease.
"I think the will to live may be the most powerful thing a human being has going for him," Pavia said in an interview last March before receiving the Most Courageous award from the United State Basketball Writers Association. "I really believe you can overcome an awful lot if you stay positive."
Pavia, who worked 14 NCAA tournaments and two Final Fours, said he received tremendous support from his family, especially his wife, Debbie. He was inspired by working with children at Camp Good Days and Special Times, the summer came on Keuka Lake for children with cancer.
"You stop feeling sorry for yourself when you see the courage these kids display," he said. "They are so resilient. Their courage is infectious."
Four years ago, he started the Pete Pavia Sports Celebrity Dinner, which has attracted sports figures such as Patrick Ewing, Mark Rypien and Frank Layden. It raised thousands of dollars for Camp Good Days and Special Times.
"I know Pete Pavia is an inspiration to me," Syracuse University basketball Coach Jim Boeheim said before last year's dinner. "If you don't walk out that door feeling a little better than yourself, you have to really look down deep."
Added Washington Redskins center Jeff Bostic: "The thing that go me (to the dinner) was word of mouth; the thing that hooked me was Pete. You're talking about a guy who has a limitless amount of intestinal fortitude."
An outstanding athlete at Aquinas Institute and Lafayette College, Pavia began his basketball officiating career while serving in the Army in Anchorage, Alaska in the early 1960s. He continued to officiate high school and college games in Rochester upon his discharge from the service. He was a teacher and also coached basketball at Madison High School.
Pavia officiated in the National Basketball Association during the 1971-72 season. He found the life lonely and returned to Rochester after one year to resume teaching at Madison. Upon his return, Pavia began working more college games and quickly blossomed into one of the nation's most respected officials. He was one of the charter members of the Big East Conference officiating crew and worked numerous big games in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Atlantic 10.
In addition to NCAA tournaments, Pavia worked several Big East and National Invitational Tournament championship games. Two years ago, he received the Golden Whistle Award, presented annually to the world's top official in all sports.
He received national notoriety during the Final Four two years ago when he ejected North Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith from the semifinals. Smith and several commentators, including Billy Pack and Dick Vitale, criticized Pavia for the ejection, but he was merely enforcing the rule that prohibits a coach from leaving the bench area. The Tar Heels coach later sent Pavia a letter of apology.
Last year, for the first time since picking up a whistle in Alaska three decades ago, Pavia did not officiate because of his health. He did, however, spend the basketball season working as the Big East's assistant director of officials. He traveled to two games a week and observed his colleagues in action, often providing constructive criticism and words of encouragement.
Although his cancer prevented him from doing what he loved, Pavia remained upbeat. He was quick to point out that he hadn't retired and would be running up and down the court again, adding to his total of more than 1,500 games officiated.
"I refuse to accept the fact that I won't officiate again because if I did that I'd be accepting that I'm never going to get better," he said in an interview last March.
Pavia spent the last several years of his life working with others who had cancer. He would visit cancer victims and relatives at their homes or talk to them on the phone. He would listen quietly as they told their stories. Many of them came away feeling that if Pavia could handle it, they could too.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.