Home Press Releases Violet Palmer to Receive Gold Whistle Award

Violet Palmer to Receive Gold Whistle Award

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RACINE, Wis. — Violet Palmer, coordinator of women’s basketball officials for the Pac-12, West Coast, Western Athletic, Big Sky and Big West conferences, will receive the 2023 Gold Whistle Award, presented by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). The award, the highest honor in officiating, will be presented in Riverside, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 1, during the Celebrate Officiating Gala, sponsored by Fox 40 International. The Gala caps the 2023 Sports Officiating Summit.

“Violet has shined a positive light on officiating for decades,” NASO President Barry Mano said. “She broke trail in the NBA. She has become revered as a collegiate coordinator for a plurality of conferences. She served for four years on the NASO board. All these things show her commitment to making officiating better. Her unanimous selection was fated by the work she has done. Few have blazed such trails in a manner that makes all of us in the officiating world proud. ”

Palmer’s officiating career included stops at many of the highest levels of basketball. She was assigned five NCAA women’s Final Fours and two NCAA women’s Championship games. She worked in the WNBA, including the 1997 finals. That same year she made history, becoming the first female to officiate an NBA game when she refereed the season opener. In 2006 she became the first woman to officiate an NBA playoff game and in 2014 became the first woman to officiate the league’s all-star game. In total, she worked nine NBA postseason assignments.

Violet Palmer served on the NASO board of directors from 2005-08.

“This is an amazing award and I am happy and excited to receive it,” Palmer said upon being notified of the honor. “Having the Summit in Riverside and being able to celebrate with family and friends is extra special.”


The Gold Whistle Award is presented annually by NASO. Those considered are individuals or groups that have made significant contributions to the betterment of officiating, exhibit a high degree of integrity and ethics and other qualities that are held in high regard by the industry. Candidates must have a consistent record of presenting officiating in a positive light as well as exhibiting a “service above self” attitude. Public service to officiating, having a motivating effect on others and/or strong community involvement are considered.

Fox 40 International is the premier producer of officiating whistles. The complete line of Fox 40 products includes whistles for all uses, whistle attachments, Fox 40 gear, pro coaching boards, mouthguards and marine & outdoor products. Fox 40 continues to invest in new technology, designs and machinery, resulting in many new products being launched each year. Fox 40 has sponsored the Celebrate Officiating Gala and the Gold Whistle Award for more than two decades.