UK Men's Basketball

SEC replaces Kentuckian Jake Bell as coordinator of basketball officials

Robert “Jake” Bell, right, received a game ball from Henry Clay Athletics Director Charles Atinay when the stadium was named in Bell’s honor in 2006.
Robert “Jake” Bell, right, received a game ball from Henry Clay Athletics Director Charles Atinay when the stadium was named in Bell’s honor in 2006. Herald-Leader

Kentucky native Jake Bell has resigned as the Southeastern Conference’s coordinator of men’s basketball officials, a post he’s held for the past three seasons.

Bell will be replaced by Mark Whitehead, a 31-year veteran of college basketball officiating and five-time NCAA Final Four official, the SEC announced Wednesday.

The league gave no reason for Bell’s departure in its news release.

“We appreciate all of Jake’s work on behalf of the Southeastern Conference,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “He stepped in to lead our men’s basketball officiating program over the previous three seasons and provided us with his knowledge and dedication, and we wish him all the best.”

Bell graduated from Georgetown College, and has a doctorate in administration/supervision from the University of Kentucky. Bell, a state championship-winning football coach at Henry Clay High School, officiated basketball in the SEC from 1977-92. He served as coordinator of basketball officials for the Atlantic Sun Conference before taking the same title with the SEC. He previously worked in that role for the Mid-South Conference as well.

Last year, Bell was elected president of coordinators for the country’s 32 Division I conferences.

Whitehead, a native of Denham Springs, La., has worked regularly as an official in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, American, Mountain West, Conference USA and Missouri Valley conferences and was selected to work the NCAA Tournament 22 consecutive years.

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