Gopher State Officials Association

Since 1965, serving members of the Minnesota State High School League by providing high school officials in baseball, basketball, football, and softball and educating officials who are members of the association.

Bozo Wincek

A tribute page for Gopher's longtime leader Bozo Wincek has been added to the site. It is available here, or under the "About" tab up above.

Gopher Officials Most Recent News

Click here to read important updates from Gopher

last updated November 21, 2022 and includes information about the basketball season and the newest member of the Association's Board of Directors, Stephen Kent.

November 21, 2022

Congratulations to Stephen Kent who was elected the basketball representative to the Board of Directors at the basketball meeting on Sunday, November 20. A little bit about Stephen:

I have officiated HS Varsity around the world since 2000, professionally in Korea in 2015-2016, and NCAA Mens 2017-2019 and NCAA Women 2020-Present). I am a retired Army Veteran, culminated at the rank of Colonel, currently serve as the Vice President of Finance and Operations for Metro State University and on the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Scholastica.

I appreciate the opportunity to add value and make a difference in every aspect of my life and after participating in Gopher Officials’ Association since 2017, I believe I’ve learned enough while in the association to make a significant positive impact. I believe that my 25 years in the Army, leading people from all cultures and experiences affords me the opportunity to understand, connect, make a difference in peoples’ lives, which will empower me to make a larger impact for the Gopher.

We're excited to have Stephen on the Board and look forward to working with him on advancing Gopher State Officials.

November 2, 2022


The 2022 regular season wrapped up over MEA and the section playoffs will finish up this weekend. Gopher's crews have been working hard all season, watching the newly required weekly videos from the high school league, and going wherever George needed them. Well done by all. This year we have five crews selected to work the state tournament. This is a very good showing by Gopher, even though it is down from last year's eight crews.

Congratulations to the following crews that were selected to work the state tournament this year:

Matt Papke and his crew of Jason Weber, Gary Golka, Jeff Zamzow, and Larry Norland will work the 4A Prep Bowl Final at 4pm on Friday 12/2 at U.S. Bank Stadium. They will also work the 6A quarterfinal game at Stillwater High School on Thursday, 11/10 at 7PM.

Rick DeGardner and his crew of Scott Schulz, Ryan Luessenheide, Patrick Molan, and Joe Ganske will work the 6A semifinal game on Thursday, 11/17 at 7:00PM at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Matt Olson and his crew of Jeremiah Miller, Brad Wright, Josh Beck, and Tony Dahl will work the other 6A semifinal game on Friday, 11/18 at 7:30PM at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Tim Litfin and his crew of Jim Larson, Aaron Nordling, Chris Tengwall, and Nick Litfin will work a 5A semifinal game on Saturday, 11/19 at 7:00PM at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Rob Bissonette and his crew of Craig Sevick, Rolf Fiebiger, Scott Weis, and Roger Denny will work a 2A quarterfinal game on Thursday, 110/10 at 7:00PM at Monticello High School.

As we start to look towards the 2023 season, assigner George Winn, clinician Matt Papke, and football representative Matt Olson - along with the Board of Directors - will look for ways to provide additional training and educational opportunities, whether during the offseason, preseason, or in season. More information will be provided as these details are discussed and solidified. George will also be looking at crews as usual and is looking to add new officials for the 2023 season.


The 2022-23 basketball season will be starting in about a month. Gopher transitioned away from Got Officials and is using Arbiter Sports exclusively. Arbiter Sports is used both to register with the high school league and for game assignments. To register with the high school league, go to, find the MSHSL central hub, and select the Registration tab and follow the prompts for basketball.

Arbiter is also used to assign games. Gopher State Officials is now part of MN Officials (112731) on Arbiter. If you are not sure you are registered, please contact Rick DeGardner. In fact, if you have questions about schedules or anything else pertaining to basketball, you can call Rick DeGardner at 651-252-8197 or email him at

The annual Gopher State Officials Basketball meeting will be held at the Brooklyn Park Activity Center (5600 85th Ave N, 55443) on Sunday, November 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm.

Rick has been sending out details about the meeting, the season, schedules, calendars, scrimmages, and everything related to officiating basketball with Gopher State this year via Arbiter. If you have missed these emails, the content is posted at Once you register with Arbiter you will also get these emails from Rick. The sooner you do, the better!

If you are new to Gopher or want to pick up basketball for this season, contact Rick at the above contact information.

Basketball Officials' Training Clinics

Two in person clinics:

Tuesday November 8 at St. Anthony High School

Wednesday November 16 at Redwood Valley High School

Two Zoom Clinics: Wednesday, Nov. 9th and Monday, Nov. 14th

All clinics begin at 5:30 p.m., and you must sign up on Arbiter for attending any of them. These clinics are not the same as doing the online exam. An official must attend a clinic every two years to be eligible for postseason contests. This is shorter than the previous 3-year policy now that they have Zoom training.

The Online test opens November 7 and is due November 22.

Baseball and Softball Assigner

Gopher State is looking to hire assigners for baseball and softball for the upcoming 2023 season. Season duties begin in January with verifying officials' intent to work and schools' schedules and runs through May. The assigners will be expected to, among other things: conduct the preseason meeting; observe officials during the season; assign varsity and lower level games on Arbiter; deal with rainouts and rescheduled games; be available during the day for the large volume of phone calls, generally related to rainouts, officials unavailability, and rescheduled games; and attend meetings of the Board of Directors during the baseball and softball seasons to provide status updates.

Applicants should email a resume, which sport they are applying for (or both/either if they want to be considered for both), and a statement of why they believe they would be a good selection for the assigner position to by November 17. Any questions should be directed to Rick DeGardner at

More basketball information, including how to register, scrimmage opportunities, and the like is available for both new and returning basketball officials via Rick's letter, available at this link.

KARE 11 story on shortage of officials featuring Gopher State Officials from October 19, 2021

Gopher State Officials in Action

Last updated February 16, 2022


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Gopher State Gear

Gopher State Officials Gear is available for purchase. We have crew neck sweatshirts, quarter-zip pullovers, and polo shirts. Take a look at the photos and descriptions on the flyer and contact Mike Madden at (612) 859-0626 to purchase.