Wisconsin high school referee dies after collapse on court

RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (AP) — A high school basketball referee in Wisconsin has died after collapsing on the court during a game.

Tracy Krueger was 69. His death was confirmed in an email by son Brendan Krueger. No cause was given.

His father was stricken while officiating a game between Richland Center and Mount Horeb on Monday night.

Richland Center High School principal Jon Bosworth said Krueger blew his whistle during the second half to indicate he needed a break.

Bosworth said Krueger collapsed as people gathered to help him. Bosworth said it was “a matter of seconds” before Krueger was tended to by medical professionals at the game. He was taken to a hospital and died that night.

The game did not resume after Krueger collapsed.

Brendan Krueger sent an email Tuesday to his father’s friends.

“As he did as a colleague, competitor, teacher, and coach, he was once again sharing his love of athletics, competitive spirit, teamwork and fair play, while refereeing a basketball game when he collapsed on the court,” he wrote.

Greg Gard, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball coach, said in a statement that Krueger’s death “leaves an enormous hole, not only in the basketball community in southwest Wisconsin, but athletics in general in that area.”

Gard said Krueger coached him at basketball camps in the early 1980s. Wisconsin put a sign with the message “In Memory of Tracy Krueger” in the stands behind its bench for its Tuesday night game against Penn State.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association said Krueger was from Muscoda, Wisconsin, about 60 miles west of Madison. Brendan Krueger said his father taught social studies and physical education but loved coaching most of all.

Krueger coached track, soccer and basketball. After retiring as a coach and teacher, Krueger officiated basketball, football, volleyball and track.

“Please honor my father, and yourself, by finding time and opportunities to reach out to those around you,” his son wrote. “We all are stronger when we reach out to love and support our family, our friends, our community, and those whose viewpoint doesn’t always match our own.”

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