JERSEY CITY, N.J. (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | Legendary National Basketball Association (NBA) referee Bob Delaney `85, who stepped down this fall as the League's Vice President, Referee Operations and Director of Officials after a 30-year career with the League, will be awarded the Presidential Medallion when New Jersey City University holds its 2018 commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 22 at the Prudential Center in Newark at 9:00 a.m. The event will be live streamed at njcu.edu/gradlive.
During the acceptance of the University's Presidential Medallion, Delaney, a 2006 inductee into the NJCU Athletics Hall of Fame, will also address the graduating class of his alma mater.
Delaney's remarkable life story transcends sports—from nearly three years as an undercover state trooper who infiltrated the world of New Jersey organized crime in the mid-1970s to that of an NBA Cares Ambassador who has drawn upon his own experiences with post-traumatic stress (PTS) to inspire United States veterans and active duty service members suffering from the effects of PTS.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver commended Mr. Delaney saying, "Over the last three decades, Bob has set a standard of excellence for NBA referees. From officiating the NBA Finals to training the next generation of NBA officials, everything he does is about leadership, service and integrity. I can't think of anyone better to receive New Jersey City University's highest award than someone who always inspires others by leading by example. That is what Bob has done throughout his NBA career."
Bill Walton, NBA legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, added: "Over the last three decades, Bob Delaney has become the standard of excellence that everyone aspires to in life. His unmatched levels of leadership, sacrifice, discipline, humanity, ethics, credibility, integrity and moral clarity have become the shining beacon of hope and inspiration in all aspects of my life today. Bob spends his life working tirelessly toward our common goals of a better world through sport and its unique ability to bring people together for purpose, passion and good. Bob's past lives in law enforcement, media, education, the business of sport, conflict resolution and service to those in need, define his character. I have the highest level of respect, admiration, gratitude and appreciation for Bob Delaney. He represents the best of the human spirit."
"It is a tremendous honor, and at the same time humbling, to receive the New Jersey City University Presidential Medallion from Dr. Sue Henderson," Bob Delaney stated. "New Jersey City University, then Jersey City State College, played a major role in every accomplishment I have attained. The NJCU experience and academics created life skills that served me well during my years as a New Jersey State Trooper, an undercover law enforcement operative infiltrating The Mob organized crime, an NBA Referee, NBA Vice President and NBA Cares Ambassador. I understand the award is given in recognition, however, I see it as a reminder to share all that was afforded me through the outstanding mentoring I received at New Jersey City University."
New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan said, "Bob Delaney was a decorated Jersey Trooper and repeatedly brought great credit to himself and the New Jersey State Police through his phenomenal work ethic and dedicated service. Bob carried that sense of purpose and pride to the NBA and assured us all that whether it was on the road as a Jersey Trooper or on the court as an NBA referee, his commitment to excellence was second to none. Bob embodies our mantra, 'Once a trooper, always a trooper!'"
Over the course of a 24-year distinguished officiating career from 1987-88 through 2010-11, Delaney emerged as one of the NBA's highest-rated crew chiefs, calling 1,526 regular season and 210 playoff games, including nine NBA Finals and the 1998 and 2011 NBA All-Star Game.
After hanging up his whistle, in 2012 Delaney transitioned to NBA Referee Operations management and later became Vice President, Referee Operations and Director of Officials for three seasons before retiring in November 2017.
Delaney continues to be a long-time NBA Cares Ambassador, promoting the NBA's partnership with the United States military as part of the League's mission of addressing important global social issues. Delaney conducts programming and interacts with veterans and active duty service members. He has been embedded with U.S. troops and NATO forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Europe, Canada, and at bases and posts across the United States.
His contributions to PTS awareness and support to military officials and their families have been recognized with honors and proclamations from many, including President Barack Obama and senior-ranking military leaders. Notably, in 2010, President Barack Obama conferred upon Delaney the President's Volunteer Service Award for his ongoing PTS education and awareness work with the military.
A 2017 nominee for the NCAA's Theodore Roosevelt Award, he was the 2014 recipient of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award. In 2017, he was recognized by the Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS) with the National Community Partnership Award for his work with military Gold Star families.
In 2011, in recognition of his assistance in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings and his work with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, he received The Meritorious Public Service Medal, formerly known as the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, from the U.S. Army. The citation is the third-highest public service award the Department of the Army can award to a private citizen.
He has published two books: Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob was released in 2008, and Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress followed in 2011.
Additionally, he was presented with the 2003 National Association of Sports Officials Gold Whistle Award and the NBA Officials Community Service Award.
Delaney was a captain of the Gothic Knight men's basketball team during the 1971-72 season, serving as the sixth man for the 16-8 club under Coach Larry Schiner. He played two seasons at then-Jersey City State College (1970-72), and one year of baseball (1972), before leaving school to enter the New Jersey State Police.
Delaney became a state trooper in 1973 and in 1975 went deep undercover, dropping out of sight as part of an operation known as "Project Alpha," a three-year investigation designed to fight the influence of a thriving organized crime culture in New Jersey. His essential and courageous covert role ultimately led to the dismantling of organized crime organizations. Delaney testified before the United States Senate hearings on organized crime in 1981.
After living deep undercover, he faced the tremendous challenge of post-traumatic stress. With counseling and determination, Delaney pushed forward, later returning to NJCU to complete his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1985.
Included among the many other honors he has received in his law enforcement career are the New Jersey State Police Meritorious Service Award for service above and beyond the call of duty, and the Dick Tracy Hall of Fame, an honor for those who enjoyed a distinguished career in law enforcement and then went on to pen notable police-related stories.
Delaney returned to the sport of basketball in the early 1980s as an official and quickly rose through the ranks. He officiated in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) for three years (1983-86) before being elevated to the NBA in 1987, when he officially retired as a state trooper.
Delaney is the founder of two schools that trained officials for high-integrity roles within the NBA, WNBA, and NCAA college basketball. He earned a Master of Arts in Leadership from St. Mary's College of California in 2010.
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