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.

Darrell "Bozo" Wincek 1939 - 2021

Bozo Wincek, Gopher's beloved leader and friend to all in the officiating community, passed away on September 28, 2021 after a courageous battle with cancer.

A 21-whistle salute to our friend and leader, Bozo Wincek.

We will strive to be more like you in all that we do.

Bozo Named 2022 Minnesota Football Coaches Association

Tom Mahoney Man of the Year

The Minnesota Football Coaches Association awarded Bozo their 2022 Tom Mahoney Man of the Year at their annual Clinic on April 1, 2022. Click on the images below from the weekend's program to read the description of Bozo and his impact on the game of football in Minnesota.

Read more about Bozo

A visitation was held on Monday, October 4, 2021 from 4-8pm at Kozlak Radulovich, 1918 University Ave N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55418.

A funeral was held on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1621 University Ave N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55413. The funeral service was followed by a lunch. Following the service and lunch, Bozo was buried at Gethsemane Cemetery, 8151 - 42nd Ave, New Hope, MN 55427.

October 3, 2021

Bozo's obituary was published in the Star Tribune. The funeral, which will take place on Tuesday, October 5 at 11 am, will be live streamed.

September 28, 2021

With great sadness, Gopher State Officials Association announces the loss of our beloved leader, Bozo, after a courageous battle with cancer. We have all lost a great man, an awesome man, a man of great character, purpose, and passion, as well as a true friend.

Bozo dedicated his life to service. Bozo was fully invested in serving schools, coaches, officials, Activity Directors, and the MSHSL. Most importantly, high school student-athletes in the State of Minnesota were the winners. Bozo was a proud father-figure to all Gopher officials.

Bucky Mieras, Orono High School Activities Director said, “Bozo has been a true champion for MSHSL activities. He has been a huge part of so many lives by supporting and creating lifelong memories through participation. Bozo has demonstrated the values of sportsmanship and he spent countless hours teaching officials and communicating with coaches and AD’s the importance of creating an optimal learning experience. Bozo has excelled for students and teams throughout Minnesota and he will be greatly missed.”

Bozo worked tirelessly for Gopher State Officials Association. Bozo took the reigns as Gopher’s leader from Don Bertek when he retired in 1997, and has been the Secretary for Gopher State Officials Association ever since.

Over his more than 50 year career officiating baseball, softball, basketball, and football, Bozo estimated he officiated more than 50,000 games.

In 2015, he was inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame.

Bozo’s family was extremely important to him. Karen and Bozo were married in 1963. Bozo said, “I couldn’t have accomplished all the good things in Gopher or been able to receive individual and association awards without Karen’s help.” Karen and Bozo have three wonderful children: Jacki, Michelle, and Michael, as well as two fantastic grandchildren Nicole and Jessica.

Click here to read more about Bozo's life, family, and his impact on high school sports and Gopher State Officials.

A 21-whistle salute to our friend and leader, Bozo Wincek. We will strive to be more like you in all that we do.

KARE 11 Prep Sports Extra tribute to Bozo Wincek on October 1, 2021

Gopher Officials Most Recent News

Click here to read important updates from Gopher

last updated May 3, 2022 and includes information about

the results of the board of directors' officers elections and how to apply to

become a member of Gopher State's board of directors.

May 3, 2022

New Board Officers

New officers were elected at Sunday night’s Board meeting. The Board is excited to announce that Rick DeGardner was elected the new President of Gopher State Officials. Rick was elected for a term of three years. He looks forward to working to strengthen Gopher’s relationships - with ADs, schools, and our officials - and to address both the association’s challenges and its opportunities as there is a transition in leadership. Rick is thankful for the leadership of Bozo Wincek, Mike Madden, and Greg Swan and is eager to build on their tireless efforts over so many years. And Rick is excited to continue working with the board to do what Gopher does best - put high quality officials on the field/court/diamond for every game.

Along with electing Rick as the association’s president, Eric Gray was elected to be Gopher’s Treasurer and Rolf Fiebiger was elected to be the association’s Secretary. Both Eric and Rolf are looking forward to working with Rick and the rest of the Board to strengthen Gopher’s officials and its relationships within the officiating community.

These appointments are effective as of today. For issues relating to the association, Rick can be contacted at or (651) 252-8197. Eric can be contacted at or (612) 718-7370, and Rolf can be contacted at or (612) 618-6145.

Applications for Board positions

As mentioned in the previous update, two Board spots are open for appointment, and the Board is looking for members to apply. The qualifications are as follows:

1. Be in good standing with the Association, including not being in arrears on their annual dues;

2. Have been a member of the Association for a minimum of three years;

3. Be an active official for Gopher State;

4. Be able to commit to attending Gopher State Board Meetings, all sport specific meetings, and other meetings as required to conduct the Association’s business;

5. Not be a member of another officiating association that assigns games in the same sports as Gopher State;

6. Be willing to submit to and be able to pass a criminal background check; and,

7. Provide two non-officiating references and two officiating references to the Board Selection Committee.

If you meet the above criteria and want to be considered for a position on the Board, please send an email with your resume to by May 17, 2022. If you submit an email expressing your desire to be a board member, one of our board members will be in touch with you to discuss the next steps in the process.

Board Sport-Specific Elections

Going forward, each sports season will elect a Board representative. Because these are new positions, each sports’ specific meeting during the 22-23 school year will have an election. In order to be eligible for election as a sport specific representative, the member has to be an active official in that sport. For example, if you are a basketball official and meet the other qualifications, you can run for election as the basketball representative, but not the football election or baseball/softball election. If you are a basketball, football, and baseball/softball official, you can run in all three elections if you are unsuccessful in the first ones. A member cannot be elected as the representative in more than one sport, and board members who are already on the board cannot be elected to sport-specific board positions.

We’ll send out an email looking for candidates for the first election – football – in June.

Feel free to reach out to any of the board members with any questions, comments, or suggestions. Thanks for being part of Gopher State.


Gopher State Board of Directors

April 30, 2022

  1. Geno Hanson is working hard to get as many games covered as possible. Gopher State is still falling short of assigning umpires for several games each day. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if there are any dates that you are not already assigned a game and you can make yourself available, please sign up for a game on self-assign. Geno has been forced to notify several schools each evening that we don't have any umpires assigned for their following day games.

  2. Rick DeGardner (with assistance from Tim Litfin, Scott Schimetz, and Geno Hanson) will be starting to assign section games soon. We will be using Arbiter for all section assignments, not GotOfficials.

  3. For those eligible and interested in working sections, in order to block off dates in Arbiter you will need to go to MSHSL Section Baseball or Softball to block dates. Please do this by May 5.

  4. If you are not sure of your eligibility status, you need to log into your Arbiter account and see what your level of varsity baseball/softball certification is.

  5. If you are eligible to work section games, but do not want to be assigned any games, either block all dates off, or send me an email at

  6. Been getting a few complaints regarding umpires "plate dodging." If you work varsity games, you are expected to work half your games behind the plate, and half your games on the bases. Don't get the reputation of an umpire who makes excuses to avoid working behind the plate.

Additional baseball/softball information available on its page.

April 29, 2022

Dues payments for football for the 2022 season are now available to be paid on the Pay Dues page. Dues payments are due by August 1, 2022 to avoid a $25 late fee.

April 25, 2022

At the Board meeting on April 24, the Board of Directors adopted the following changes to the association's bylaws:

  • expand the number of members of the board to 11;

  • adds a board member elected directly by the members of each season's sports (fall - football; winter - basketball; spring - baseball/softball), for a total of 3.

  • Revised the board officers to President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Legal Counsel was eliminated.

These revisions leave two board members to be appointed to the board. Details regarding how the new members will be appointed and the sport-specific members will be elected will be shared with the association's members in the coming weeks.

More information is available in the bylaws of the association, which are available on the Gopher State website: We will announce the results of the officer elections next week, and provide more information on the open board positions at that time as well.

The board encourages any members of the association to reach out to any board member with questions, comments, or concerns. Board contact information is available here:

April 4, 2022

The Minnesota Football Coaches Association awarded Bozo their 2022 Tom Mahoney Man of the Year at their annual Clinic on April 1, 2022. Read more about Bozo's impact on the game of football in Minnesota by clicking on the images from the weekend's program above.

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.