Referee Bart Lyon, one of the best

Published 2:01 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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He may not be one of the greatest boxers in the world but his 1-0
bout in Mountain City was the most talked about for years.
Bart Lyon lettered in football three years at Science Hill beginning in 1987.
He started out as a quarterback but to get more playing time he moved to
defensive back.
The defensive coordinator was Coach Greg Stubbs at that time and he
offered Bart an opportunity to play, never promising him anything other
than a spot.
Later he would talk Lyon into running track and according to Bart, it was
the best thing he ever did.
Stubbs taught him that hard work pays off and a 4.7 40 proved this.
Stubbs was a hard-nosed former running back at ETSU that came to
Johnson City from Georgia and was definitely one of the hardest working
As soon as Bart finished high school in 1989 he began officiating
sports – basketball, and he loved it.
He had called his first games in high school at Keystone Elementary with
the legend Maynard Crow.
He went under the leadership of Herb Greenlee who lent him a shirt and a
green whistle.
Bart quickly began to move up to high levels within the Parks and Rec
basketball Program and soon was working men’s Industrial league and
Church Leagues.
His pay was only nine dollars a game at that time.

In 1991, Greenlee convinced Bart to register for the TSSAA and began
working for Eddie Durham who was the middle school assigner and Teddy
McKeehan who assigned JV and Varsity.
He worked his first junior varsity game November 1991, Sullivan North
vs Tennessee High in Viking Hall and he thought he had arrived at the big
That season Lyon worked 249 basketball games, everything from youth
basketball in parks and rec to the high school junior varsity.
On weekends he would find youth tournaments around the area to work
and on Sunday worked the Texas Instrument Industrial League games at
Carver Rec Center.

Since that year Bart has worked over 2500 basketball games all over
the southeastern United States. He was fortunate enough to work ten
years of college basketball also.

In 2004 he was selected to work the TSSAA State Championship
He had the Class AA championship game which followed Unaka High
School’s State title win at Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy
Bart said, “I had to admit I got a little teary-eyed standing in the runway
watching  a scrappy bunch from Stoney Creek bring home the gold ball.”
His game featured two teams from the Memphis area, Bolivar Central
vs Jackson South Side and it was a great name.

He continued working hard on the craft as a basketball official and
that really helped him climb up the ranks at the college level.
The officials are a tight-knit group. They are like a family and consider
most of the fellow officials like brothers.
Officials all sacrificed a lot of personal and family time to work basketball.
In 2011 in the prime of his college referee career, Bart made the decision
to hang up his whistle for three years in order to watch his children play
basketball at Science Hill.
Then in 2014, he dusted off the old Nike Air Max, shined them up,  and got
back out on the court.

Since he began as a TSSAA official Bart has worked with great men like Ralph
Stout, Charlie McConnell, and Jim Cradic who is like a father to most of the
His special friend who got him into the sport, Greenlee, who was both a mentor
and a good friend.

“Nothing can quite compare to working the prestigious Arby’s classic
every December,” stated Lyon.
“One of the most exciting and competitive basketball tournaments in the United
States and I have been fortunate enough to work a lot of games in that tournament
for many many years.
“Definitely a highlight of my officiating season is getting to work the Arby’s classic.”
When not on the court Bart has been a coach and has overseen the Junior Toppers
youth football program since 1999.
He also works for ESPN Tri-Cities as the color commentator for Science Hill football
and basketball for the past six seasons.
He worked 24 years in the Park and Recreation Department for the City of Johnson City
and was a middle school football coach at Liberty Bell from 2007 through 2011 with 38
wins and three losses.

Bart’s daughter Gabby played four varsity seasons at Science Hill before signing a full
basketball scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University.
She played four years under the direction of Coach Rick Insell and was Conference USA
Sixth Player of the Year her junior season.

During her sophomore year at MTSU, they won the Conference USA championship. Gabby
is currently working at Northside Elementary School and is the assistant girl’s basketball
coach at Science Hill.
His son, Bowden, is currently at Southwest Community College pursuing his degree and
preparing for his final year of junior college basketball in 2020-21.
Bowden was an all regional and all-district selection and All-Big Seven first-team
He helped lead Science Hill boys basketball program to the state tournament his junior
season and was voted a Top 10 Player of the Decade by the JC press for Science Hill
Bart is married to the former Sharon Love and they have two other children Nolan and
T’onna Livingston.  Bart was inducted into the Carver Recreation Hall of Fame in 2017.

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