Hall of Fame Inductee
Bevan Aitken (pictured left) commenced refereeing as a junior referee in Townsville in 1969. He was one of several junior referees including Graham Lebbern, who were recruited to refereeing and taught by Harry Dean, Harry Bowmaker, Colin Coombes and Phil Caldwell.
By 1973 Bevan had moved with his family to Brisbane and continued with his refereeing within the Brisbane Basketball Referees’ Association, being guided by referees such as Bob Lambourn and Frank Stokes. In 1974 Bevan represented Metropolitan Zone as a referee at the Queensland Junior Men’s State Championships which were held in Bundaberg. At that state championship Bevan was awarded his State Badge. Thus, at the age of 18-years, Bevan became Queensland’s youngest State Badge referee.
Bevan was appointed to the 1974 Under 16 Boys’ Australian Championship which was conducted in Ballarat, a championship at which Bevan was appointed to referee the final. This was the first of very many Australian championships and finals that Bevan would referee in a glittering refereeing career.
Bevan was elevated to Australian Badge referee in 1978 and in 1986 was appointed as a FIBA (International) referee. In 1979 Bevan was one of the referees participating in the inaugural year of the National Basketball League (NBL). Bevan continued refereeing in the NBL until his retirement from the league in the mid-1990s. During his NBL refereeing career Bevan officiated more than 40 games and was an excellent role model for Queensland’s younger brigade of referees. Perhaps the highlight of Bevan’s refereeing career was his appointment to referee the Australia v Russia match at Boondall in 1987, a game in which he partnered Russian official Michael Davidoff.
Bevan provided outstanding service to Queensland basketball through his referee administration and education work during the 1980s and 1990s. He was Queensland state referee coach in 1989 and 1990, Queensland state rules interpreter in 1990 and 1991, and in 1993 he was appointed Queensland Basketball Incorporated referee commissioner. Bevan’s service to Queensland basketball referee administration and education continued for more than 15 years and was of the highest standard across many leagues including AAABL, QBL, Southern Cross and junior and senior State Championships.
During his term as Queensland state rules interpreter Bevan established the state basketball referee coaches’ network. Because of this formalised network local referees’ groups across the state became more involved, received general assistance and assistance specific to their needs, for the benefit of basketball across the state.
Bevan was an exceptional referee educator and referee coach. For many years he served on the Queensland referees’ standards committee and his service as a referee coach within the NBL from 1994 until 2003 was described as frank and honest and undoubtedly benefited many referees … and, of course, benefited the game of basketball.
Bevan’s most significant gift to basketball may have been the development and production of referee education videotapes. These videotapes used game vision taken from NBL and other high-level games, showcasing elements and situations within the games for referees and referee coaches to view, to analyse and to offer opinions on. These videotapes were used across Queensland, nationally and internationally. They were forerunners to the clips used by today’s referees and referee coaches to review games and officials’ performances.
Bevan’s death in March 2007 at the age of 51 years took from his family a loving and devoted husband and father, and took from the basketball community an exceptional friend, referee, referee educator and administrator. In his lived life and in his life cut short, in many ways Bevan Aitken reflects an important snapshot of the history of basketball refereeing in Queensland and he is a most worthy nominee for the Queensland Basketball Hall of Fame.