Heim remembered as top ref

When Dave Heim and Ron Rickens officiated a local high school basketball game, coaches and colleagues say you were getting the best.

Heim passed away last Monday at 86. Rickens passed away several years ago.

Tom Goss, who coached girls basketball at both Bishop Guilfoyle and Central, said the Heim-Rickens tandem officiated several of his games in the 1990s.

“When there was a big game in the area, you knew they’d be working,” Goss said. “They were the most reliable … simply the best.

“If (coaches) were unhappy with a call, they’d take time to explain. When you had them, you knew you’d get a good job. They were always fair.”

Heim also represented District 6 on the PIAA Board of Control, and Goss recalled that many area coaches and officials seldom missed a state championship weekend in Hershey.

“Dave always held court in the hot tub at states,” Goss offered, “and he’d catch us up on all the news about the teams, coaches and officials.”

Longtime area official Ted Beam got to know Heim when he was a student scorekeeper at Bishop Guilfoyle.

“Fifty years of friendship, and I’m really going to miss him,” Beam said. “He was the driving force in my career as an official. He wanted you to excel, and he wasn’t afraid to give you hell or praise you.”

Heim received a lifetime achievement award from the PIAA for his work as an official and PIAA Board member.

“It was an honor for him and well-deserved,” Beam said. “He was such a good friend to all officials in District 6. He gave a lot of guys opportunities and helped them get better. He wasn’t selfish, and that’s what I’ll remember about him.”

Before the PIAA changed to six classifications a few years ago, Heim was the only official in the state who had refereed all four classes of championship games, according to Beam.

“I had the honor and privilege of working with them (Heim and Rickens) when I started,” veteran local official Skip Dry said. “They were still at their height as a team, and they’d take a young guy to break him in. They were great and brutally honest.

“Dave Heim is going to be missed. We’ve lost a really important part of the community.”