| Overall UK Wins: 1 | Overall UK Losses: 0 | Win % 100 |
Date of Birth: February 19, 1917
Date of Death: January 25, 2005
Hometown: Quincy, MA
Alma Mater: Princeton
For a generalized listing of officials, please consult this page.
|3/14/1959||Kentucky vs. Marquette||W||98 - 69||16||12||16||22||0||0||-||Lou Bello and Vicker DiGravio|
Obituary - Boston Globe (January 29, 2005)
Vicker V. DiGravio, referee in college basketball, at 87
By Gloria Negri (Globe Staff)
Vicker V. DiGravio Sr. was a basketball referee who could toss a player out of a game and maintain his respect. Former presidential candidate and senator Bill Bradley was one of them.
Bradley, who played college basketball for Princeton, inscribed the autobiography he gave Mr. DiGravio this way: "For Vic DiGravio, the man who took me out of the Final Four with a reach-in foul, about which I harbor no grudges. You were a great official. Thanks for your many years of dedication to college basketball."
Mr. DiGravio, who in the 1950s and 1960s was considered one of the preeminent college basketball referees in the country, died Tuesday in Weymouth Health Care Center of a neurological disorder complicated by pneumonia. He was 87 and lived in Quincy most of his life.
An outstanding athlete, Mr. DiGravio was captain of the Quincy High School football team and was elected to the school's football and basketball halls of fame when he graduated in 1934.
He would have gone on to college on a full athletic scholarship, said his grandson, Vic DiGravio III of Quincy, had it not been for the Great Depression and Mr. DiGravio's desire to help his parents and family of 10 siblings.
"After high school, my grandfather accepted a scholarship to attend and play football at Temple University, where Pop Warner was the coach," he said. "Unfortunately, prior to accepting the scholarship, he had accepted $10 to play for a semipro football team in Providence. He played in the game to help his family because it was in the middle of the Great Depression. Accepting the money, however, made him ineligible to play college football."
Because his Italian immigrant parents could not afford to send him to college. Mr. DiGravio started his apprenticeship as a draftsman at Quincy Shipyard and coached a Quincy semipro football team called the Manets. He worked at the shipyard for 40 years until the 1970s. In those days, he would work days at the shipyard and nights as referee during the basketball season.
Mr. DiGravio was born in Montreal. Arriving in Quincy from Italy, his father then took a job in Canada working at munitions factory called Vickers-Armstrong during World War I. "He considered it good luck when my grandfather was born, so he named him Vicker," his grandson said.
When the family returned to the States, they settled in Quincy. Mr. DiGravio's father hoped he would become a great trumpeter, according to his daughter, Leslie Ellison of Roswell, N.M. "As a child, he used to play at all the festivals in the North End," she said, "until he knocked out his front tooth playing football."
Mr. DiGravio married his high school sweetheart, Hazel Bosworth, a cheerleader and track runner at Quincy High. Mrs. DiGravio died in 1979. Two years later, Mr. DiGravio married Ellen Kahou, who died three years ago.
If there was anything to which Mr. DiGravio was more dedicated than basketball, his daughter said, it was his family. "He instilled in us work ethic and the belief that nothing was for nothing," his daughter said. "Dad had a great sense of family. That was his legacy to us."
Another daughter, Karen Townsend of Houston, said Mr. DiGravio had many chances to referee pro basketball but turned them down because it would have meant more time away from his family. "As it was," she said, "he traveled a lot during the basketball season from November through April," she said. "Sometimes we cold only get to see him on TV."
Mr. DiGravio served as president of the College Basketball Officials Association, comprising basketball officials from the New England and mid-Atlantic regions. He refereed basketball tournaments such as the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden and Army-Navy games.
In the 1960s, Mr. DiGravio and another referee, Jimmy Lennon of Toms River, N.J. traveled to Germany, Korea and Japan to conduct basketball clinics for American military there.
"Vic was a great official, but other than that, he was a great human being and gentleman," Lennon said. "He was even-tempered and always impartial. He called a good game and let the chips fall where they may."
One memorable story Mr. DiGravio shared with his family: Once, in bending over to pick up a ball at Madison Square Garden, his trousers ripped. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. He responded with a bow.
Besides his two daughters and his grandson, Mr. DiGravio leaves two stepdaughters, Nancy Barnes of Weymouth and Linda Davis of Brockton; 10 other grandchildren; and 26 great-grandchildren.
Services will take place at 11 a.m. today at McDonald Funeral Home in South Weymouth.