Local official makes 2022 National High School Hall of Fame

On March 8, the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) announced the members of the 2022 class for the National High School Hall of Fame. Former players, coaches, leaders of activity programs, and one official were all part of the class. The members were honored on Friday with a press conference and an introduction ceremony later that evening in San Antonio, Texas.

The lone official of the bunch was Jeff Risk, a local North Dakota official. He officiated over 5,000 high school and college games, with a focus on basketball, baseball, and football. Risk’s career as an official lasted more than 40 years and he also spent time serving as the athletic director at Nedrose High School.

During the press conference, each new member was able to share what they treasured most from being involved with high school sports. For Risk, there were a few different aspects of officiating that stood out to him the most.

“I enjoyed the challenge of not knowing what to expect and how to handle situations on the fly day after day. I like watching coaches, players, and officials improve and move on to very high levels. If you are an official, you kind of treasure the atmosphere a little bit. You have to be a little bit of an adrenaline junkie to like it and be out there,” Risk said during the press conference.

In addition to that, he also shared that one of the most rewarding aspects of being an official involves the relationships you build throughout your career. With being an official, you work with a variety of teams and departments, and that was something Risk enjoyed throughout his successful officiating career.

As to how Risk got involved with officiating, it involved him determining that he would like to be involved with sports throughout his life and the self-realization that in order to achieve that goal, he would have to find a path outside of playing.

“I really enjoyed the games, and I knew in order to stay on the field longer or to be involved with sports, I had to find something else to do,” Risk said. “When I was in eighth grade, we had a resort next to us where everyone within a one-hundred-mile radius came to participate and do different things. They called and wanted me to umpire a men’s softball tournament when I was in eighth grade.”

At that time, Risk felt like he didn’t know much about umpiring, but he felt like it was a fun opportunity, so he wanted to give it a try. The rest was history from there, as Risk’s officiating career began to take shape when more and more opportunities came along as he got more experience.

And the shape that his career came to is one many people would dream about. Even though his officiating career has come to an end, Jeff Risk is now recognized among the best in his field throughout the country with his NFHS Hall of Fame induction this week.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today