RACINE, Wis. — Barry Mano, National Association of Sports Officials founder and its president since its inception in 1980, announced he is stepping down from that role, effective July 1. The NASO Board of Directors unanimously elected Bill Topp as its next president.
Mano said, “It has been an immense privilege to serve as NASO president for the past four decades. Nothing or no one is forcing me or has been lobbying me to step down. It is not about health. It is not about loss of interest. It is not about agedness per se, but it is about energy and staying power. The demands being made upon the association have never been greater, never more important.”
Mano founded Referee Enterprises, Inc., (REI) in 1976 and became publisher of Referee magazine. NASO was then formed in 1980 to provide benefits and services to the nation’s sports officials. Mano, 79, will remain chief strategy officer for REI and publisher of Referee magazine. “I will be hands-on and working in the office as I have for almost 50 years,” said Mano. “I will be a resource, able to be tapped by our staff and by NASO and its board of directors as they see fit.”
Topp started with REI and NASO as an intern in 1990. Upon graduation, he became a full-time editor in 1991 and has been with the organizations ever since, working his way up to chief operating officer, executive editor and NASO secretary over the past three decades. Topp, 54, has been a high school and small college baseball umpire, basketball official and football referee and held local association and assigner leadership positions.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have been selected by the Board of Directors as NASO’s second president,” Topp said. “My entire professional life has been dedicated to this industry. I’m excited to help lead this incredible association and make an impact on sports officiating worldwide. I have been fortunate to have learned from Barry and the Board all of these years. Our talented and dedicated staff will continue to grow this association and expand its reach.”
Dana Pappas, NASO Board chair, said, “Barry Mano has set the standard when it comes to support, advocacy, recognition, protection, and celebration of officials for almost 50 years. It only makes sense that the next president of NASO be none other than Bill Topp. Bill shares the passion, desire and knowledge to carry REI and NASO into the next chapter and he is the exact person we need at the helm of this outstanding organization. The transition will be seamless with Bill as president, and the NASO Board of Directors is excited for the opportunity to work with him.”