The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) has announced that Ron Foxcroft and Les Lombardi are the two conference honorees that will be enshrined in “The MAAC Experience” exhibit at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on October 15 at the annual MAAC Basketball Honor Roll event.
Foxcroft spent a combined 35 years as a FIBA & NCAA basketball official from 1963-1999 officiating in four NCAA Tournaments and over 1,600 international basketball games in over 30 countries, including the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Foxcroft also officiated the MAAC Basketball Championship from 1995 through 1997. He recently was named the recipient of the Gold Whistle Award by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), which is officiating’s highest honor. He was the first Canadian elected to the NASO Board of Directors, which is an 11 person board representing 22,000 sports officials. Foxcroft was the first chair of NASO to serve two terms, from 1995-96 and 1996-97 and was appointed as Board Special Advisor in 2003.
Foxcroft is the inventor of the Fox 40 Pealess Whistle, which is now sold in 140 countries and is sanctioned by almost all major sports worldwide, including the NCAA, NBA, NFL, CFL, and NHL. He donated whistles for search and rescue professionals worldwide during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, San Francisco earthquake, the Oklahoma City bombing and other times of crisis.
Foxcroft is also the Chairman & CEO of Fluke Transport. “If it’s on time.. it’s a Fluke” is more than a slogan it’s a guarantee.
Foxcroft was named as one of the 52 most influential people in Sports Officiating history by Referee Magazine. He is also a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) and the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame among others.
During his illustrious career, Foxcroft has received an honorary degree from McMaster University, where he serves on the business advisory council. Foxcroft has been awarded Hamilton’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year. In 2011, he was inducted into the Burlington Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and in 2014, he was named Burlington Citizen of the Year.
Basketball has been an integral part of Lombardi’s entire adult life. Starting as a player at Cathedral Prep in the tough New York City CHSAA, Lombardi learned the game and competed against some of today’s legends, both players and coaches.
Lombardi attended Marist College in his hometown and played JV basketball. Upon being cut from the varsity by Ron Petro, who became his lifelong friend and mentor, he helped out with the team and then put his efforts into rejuvenating a CYO basketball program at Mt. Carmel Church in Poughkeepsie. This strong Italian Parish contributed to the team name – “The Fasuls”- and that program continued to flourish after he left.
Upon his graduation from Marist College, where he had received the Cardinal Spellman Award for the Outstanding Graduate, Lombardi was hired as an English teacher, and JV basketball coach at John A Coleman High School in Kingston, NY. He injected expertise and enthusiasm into his teaching while coaching basketball and track. While at Coleman he introduced new educational technologies to the classroom including Instructional T.V. and videotaping. He also took a summer courses at the British Summer Institute at Oxford University and finished his M.S. in Secondary Education at SUNY New Paltz.
Four years later after compiling an undefeated season, he moved on to Churchill High School in Potomac, MD to teach and coach its varsity basketball team. Within five years the Bulldogs had won two consecutive AA County titles and a Maryland State AA Championship. He was selected to coach the local Capital All-Stars in the 1978 McDonald’s Capital Classic. It was the first time in their brief five year history the local team beat the U.S. All-Stars. Lombardi has been part of the McDonalds All-American games ever since.
Coach Lombardi was then hired as head basketball coach of the Division III Delaware Valley College (D.V.C.) in Doylestown, PA. During his seven year tenure he rebuilt the team back to respectability. He also taught Speech and Mass Communications, headed the Liberal Arts Cultural Program and served as Director of Residence Life for two years. During the summers he directed the D.V.C. Basketball Camp and lectured at basketball camps throughout the northeast.
In January of 1987, after an 18 year basketball coaching career, building successful programs at every level and organizing four basketball camps, Lombardi was selected by John Stote, a former Coleman High School Player, to head up “The Rock” Team at Anaconda Sports. Over the course of the next 30 years this team made “The Rock” synonymous with the word basketball. He continues in that capacity now with BSN SPORTS.
Thirty years ago, Ron Petro, Lombardi’s coach at Marist was instrumental in getting “The Rock” as the official basketball at the prestigious Great Alaskan Shootout. As part of the sponsorship Lombardi was responsible for organizing the legendary Shootout Party at every Final Four. A combination of unique venues, fresh Alaskan seafood and numerous celebrity coaches, including a Dick Vitale “speech”, have made this party the toughest ticket at many Final Fours.
The MAAC was one of the first Division I Conferences to adopt “The Rock”. Many others at every level of college play followed suite. In addition to college conferences, “The Rock” became the ASAA (Alaskan School Athletic Association) state basketball, a big part of the McDonald’s AA games, the Holiday Festival and Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden and numerous other national high school and college tournaments.
Lombardi however was not finished with his coaching career just yet. In 2005, while in Ireland with his wife Mary Ann who was teaching there as a Fulbright Scholar, Lombardi established the international exchange program affectionately known as “Hoops Across the Ocean”. With Coleman’s Coach Alex Albany and Coleman’s parents’ support, teams from Ireland and China (a diplomatic miracle) visited Kingston and lived with host families. In exchange students from Coleman travelled to Ireland to play basketball and experience another culture “up close and personal”. Once again Coach Lombardi’s organizational skills and relationships with nationally known coaches and players created life-long learning experiences and memories for all the participants.
Lombardi continues to spread “The Rock Gospel” by attending numerous games and clinics and building lifelong relationships. He helps locally with his involvement in the Kingston Boys & Girls Club and newly formed Ulster County Italian American Foundation.
Les and Mary Ann reside in Kingston, NY and have two married children. Joslyn and her husband Greg have a six year old son Nicholas, a star basketball recruit; Jared and his wife Amanda have a daughter Harriet, another basketball enthusiast.