Little did he know, but when Mike Foote was assigned an eighth and ninth grade basketball doubleheader in 1978 at Ross Junior High School in southwestern Ohio, it would kick off a distinguished officiating career that would span more than three decades at nearly every level of amateur basketball.
His notoriety on the hardwood began with a standout prep career at Newark High School. Foote then went on to letter three seasons at Kent State University under head coach Frank Truitt, serving as the captain of the 1970-71 squad. Following his initial officiating assignment at Ross, Foote moved up to the high school level in 1980, eventually working the Ohio High School Athletic Association boy’s state finals in 1991-92. At the same time, he began officiating at the collegiate level in the winter of 1983, both in the NAIA and various Division III conferences. Foote quickly moved up to the Mid-American Conference in November of 1985 – his first Division I assignment.
From there, the sky was the limit, as he worked in a wide variety of prominent conferences, including the Big East, Atlantic 10, Horizon League and GLIAC (Division II). He was selected to officiate the Men’s NCAA Division I Tournament six times, twice advancing to work at the NCAA Regional level. In addition, he has 13 National Invitation Tournament appearances to his credit, and the 2005 NCAA Division II national title game. Foote’s talents also extended to the softball field, where his award-winning amateur career led to his induction into the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America Hall of Fame (1982), the Summit County Softball Hall of Fame (1993) and the Ohio ASA Slow Pitch Hall of Fame (2003).