GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The Minnesota sports community is remembering longtime referee and officials coordinator Darrell "Bozo" Wincek.
Wincek passed away this week at the age of 82 after battling bladder cancer.
His daughter Michelle told Randy Shaver that Darrell earned the nickname Bozo as a young kid, and it stuck.
He was a charter member of the Gopher State Officials Association, which Darrell helped establish in 1963. In the years since the officiating group has grown from six officials to 481 refereeing and umpiring games in football, basketball, baseball and softball.
"We lost a great man, an awesome man, a man of great character, purpose, and passion, as well as a true friend," read a letter sent out to members of the association Tuesday.
Wincek was inducted into the Minnesota High School League Hall of Fame in 2015. Here are just a few additional high points of his distinguished career of service.
- 1988 - MSHSL - 30 Years as an Official
- 1995 – Elected to the USSSA Softball Hall of Fame
- 1996 – MN State HS Coaches Association – Distinguished Service Award
- 2008 - Elected to the Eastside Old-Timers Hall of Fame
- 2008 - MSHSL - 40 Years as an Official
- 2012 – Elected to the MN State Football Coaches Hall of Fame
- 2014 - Gopher Officials Association was selected by MSHSL as the Association of Excellence Winner
"A legend in Minnesota prep sports...and I don't say that lightly," Randy wrote in a tribute to Bozo for his Prep Sports Extra show. "Just a great advocate for Minnesota prep sports and a wonderful man, husband, father and friend."
"Minnesota sports lost a legend this week....truly one-of-a-kind."