US Air Force trailblazer to guide referee operations
— Retired Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, the US Air Force Academy’s first woman superintendent, was named Thursday as the NBA’s new senior vice president and head of referee operations, the league announced.
Johnson, a top women’s basketball player for Air Force before her 1981 graduation, will report to league operations president Byron Spruell when she begins work Monday, a day before the NBA’s 72nd season tips off.
“My love for basketball and the opportunity to help shape the direction of a key operational group within the NBA made this position incredibly appealing to me,” Johnson said.
Johnson will lead referee recruitment, training, development and evaluation as well as oversee the NBA Replay Center for video oversight of certain calls and have a key role in the officiating advisory council.
“Michelle has decades of experience successfully leading large, highly professionalized organizations and spurring growth through innovation,” Spruell said.
“With a disciplined, analytical approach to problem solving and a proven track record of building consensus and acting with the utmost integrity, Michelle has the qualities to maximize the effectiveness of our officiating program.”