Terry Barnett 1935-2024: Tributes paid to officiating stalwart

Tributes have been paid to officiating pioneer Terry Barnett, who passed away recently. 

Barnett was a teacher by professional but made a huge impact on English basketball – and the sport in general – with his tireless decades-long dedication to officiating. 

A life Vice President of BE, he worked for the organisation in its previous guise of the English Basketball Association (EBBA) as Officiating Officer from 1960-1985. 

He was also a FIBA Technical Commissioner - serving at several Olympic Games - lecturer and referee examiner. 

Left - Barnett celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary and Right - Blue jacket (left), with Tim Brown (right)

A legend in refereeing, Loughborough-born Barnett founded the original system for training and appointing officials and was a long-standing member of the EB Fellowship. 

He didn’t restrict his activities to officiating, also founding the Wessex League and the Southern League, supporting women’s basketball and the wheelchair game. 

Terry’s wife Bobby said: “Terry led a very full life pursuing a variety of interests. All of his projects were followed with enthusiasm and meticulously planned. In whatever he was involved, he gained much respect as he was demanding but caring and honest. 

“Internationally, he was well respected as a commissioner he had great respect for referees but was always honest about their performance and was meticulous in his appraisals after matches. He had an interest in sport for the disabled and was part of group who developed what was a forerunner to the now well-established Paralympics. 

“Sadly, dementia stole my husband but there was much he valued and loved in life.” 

Former Basketball England board member and officiating colleague Tim Brown said: “Terry Barnett was a true trailblazer for basketball in England.  

“The contribution he made from grass roots basketball all the way up through the governing body and to FIBA is immense. His work in officiating also lives in the memory of the referee community. A true stalwart of the game we all love. 

Basketball England Officiating Delivery Manager Simon Unsworth added: “Terry was a real leader and pioneer for officiating in this country. 

“He dedicated his time, effort and skills to improving officials at all levels of the game, from the grassroots to the very top of the international scene, helping so many fulfil their potential and serving the game’s interests with an awesome-inspiring and lasting impact.” 

Members of the English Basketball History Facebook group left tributes to Barnett. 

"Always the gentleman and respectful to players, coaches and spectators. Cool and calm, in a storm, nothing histrionic, perfect role model and ambassador for the sport. What a contribution RIP," said Bob Laventure. 

"A very sad loss - many good memories of Terry as referee, commissioner and an ambassador for our sport. A true gentleman," said Jenny Collins. 

Other tributes can be found in the group using the button below.

Barnett was educated at Loughborough Grammar School and did national service before attending King Alfred’s College Winchester, qualifying as a teacher with emphasis on physical education and gaining an MA at Loughborough University in recreation and management.