Wisconsin PA announcer’s ‘shut up’ message highlights ref shortage

A Wisconsin spokesman broadcast a message loud and clear, urging fans to shut up after criticizing officials at the end of a high school basketball game.

It happened on Saturday January 28th in Germantown.

His words are reviving calls for change among adult fans.

The video polarizes. Some say his off-script proposal is unprofessional and crossed a line, but for a group that often lacks support, and whose numbers do, his message could mean no more.

With just a few seconds left in regulation, the Brookfield Central Lancers only needed a bucket for a win over Cedarburg.

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At the buzzer, three referees had to make a decision, one of which was clear to some fans in the stands. After a barrage of boos filled the gym, the PA announcer had had enough.

“I want to take this opportunity to remind all the fans and I should have done that much sooner, shut up,” he said. “WIAA is always looking for officials, and since you’re doing such a good job from the stands, get down on the floor, wear a striped shirt, and do it yourself.”

Ken Koester said the applause at the end said it all.

“You know, it went viral for a reason,” Koester said. “It’s bold. It’s overkill, but I definitely support the message.”


Koester works for the National Association of Sports Officials, based in Racine, and officiates at WIAA basketball games. He said he spoke to the game’s three officials, who said they felt supported by the announcer’s message as they sorted out a complicated ending.

“You have to decide, does the foul happen before the end of the rule? Was the shot fired in time? Is it a two or a three?” said Koster.

Koester said he hopes this chance to blow the whistle can prevent bad behavior from moving forward.


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“The main reason for the lack of officials in this country is the behavior of adults and fans. So if we can draw attention to it, and that helps, great,” said Köster.

FOX6 News has reached out to both the schools involved and the WIAA, and none have had any comment on what happened.

We also asked to speak to the announcer, but the Germantown School District denied our request.


The latest available data shows that the number of high school athletic officials in Wisconsin has decreased by 34% since 2019. Koester hopes more support for referees will inspire younger people to get involved.

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