Warrior boys’ hoop head coach honored for his coaching ethics

WMHS varsity boys’ basketball coach Brad Simpson (left) received the Oswald Tower Award recently at the IAABO 27 banquet. On the right is Simpson’s wife, Judy.

WMHS varsity boys’ basketball coach Brad Simpson (left) received the Oswald Tower Award recently at the IAABO 27 banquet. On the right is Simpson’s wife, Judy.


WAKEFIELD — The Eastern Massachusetts District Board of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO Board 27) recently handed out its annual award for coaching ethics. This year’s winner in boys’ basketball was Wakefield Memorial High head coach Brad Simpson.

The Oswald Tower award is presented annually to the coach that Board 27 feels best exemplifies high ethical standards within the basketball coaching profession.

Coaches are nominated and the winner is voted on by Board 27 officials. Steve Sullivan of Woburn High was honored this year with the same award for girls’ basketball.

One of the oldest awards given by any referees board in the state, the Oswald Tower Award has been presented to a WMHS coach once before.

In the mid-’70s, with a young Brad Simpson on the bench in an assistant role, 17-year Wakefield head boys’ basketball coach Ellis “Sonny” Lane was honored by Board 27.

Being honored with the same award as his predecessor made winning the award a little more special for Coach Simpson.

“He received it while I was under his tutelage,” Simpson said about when Lane received the award. “To win it years later myself has made it extra special. He was honored to receive it back then and I’m just as honored to receive it now.”

Coming off a season where his team gained a share of the Middlesex Freedom division crown and earned a berth in the state tournament, Coach Simpson was honored for his ethical contribution to the game by Board 27 at its annual banquet on March 22.

“I’ve developed a really good, friendly working relationship with many officials from Board 27 over the last 28 years,” Simpson said recently when asked about receiving his award.

Oswald Tower was an administrator and instructor at Phillips Andover Academy from 1910-1949. He served on the National Basketball Rules Committee from 1910 to 1960, was an editor of the “Official Basketball Guide” and an official rules interpreter from 1915 to 1960.

He was enshrined in the inaugural class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959 as a contributor.

According to Hoopshall.com, “A 50-year member of the National Basketball Rules Committee, Oswald Tower played a central role in basketball’s development in the first half of the 20th century. From 1915 to 1959, Tower served as editor of the ‘Official Basketball Guide’ and was an official rules interpreter.”

Simpson has been head coach at Wakefield for 28 years and has been involved with the program for 45 years. The era of Lane and Simpson spans more than 60 years.

This is the second time coach Simpson has been honored by receiving an official’s award. Five years ago, in 2010, Simpson was awarded the IAABO Board 130’s President’s Award for professionalism, integrity and contributions to high school basketball.