Referee collapses during basketball game at Mt. Pleasant, dies

Friday, February 2, 2024 | 11:25 PM

A referee collapsed during halftime of a junior varsity boys basketball game at Mt. Pleasant and died Friday night.

Michael Roebuck, 45, a first-year official from New Stanton, was about to take the court for the second half of a game between Yough and Mt. Pleasant when he dropped to the floor.

Westmoreland County officials chapter assigner Bernie George said paramedics tried to resuscitate Roebuck for nearly an hour but he died on the way to the hospital. The cause of death is pending.

Another referee at the game, Michael Fleming, said officials were leaving the dressing room when Roebuck collapsed.

“The first thing I thought of was we have to get him help,” Fleming said. “I ran out to get a trainer.

“It was chaos. I just met the guy. The Mt. Pleasant people did an excellent job.”

Fleming said Mt. Pleasant Superintendent Tim Gabauer told him Roebuck died.

“This is terrible,” George said. “He was new, and I saw him recently and he said how much he enjoyed officiating. This puts what we do in perspective.”

Mt. Pleasant athletic director Allan Bilinsky said that when it was discovered what happened, fans were moved from the gym to the cafeteria and the teams went to the locker rooms.

The second half of the game was canceled, and the varsity game that was supposed to follow was postponed.

“We are so sorry for the loss,” Bilinsky said. “Our training staff did everything possible. We’re all heartbroken over it.”

Gabauer said in a statement Saturday: “Our school community is deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Roebuck during halftime of the junior varsity basketball game. Despite the immediate medical response and efforts of our first responders, Mr. Roebuck tragically passed away due to the severity of the emergency.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with Mr. Roebuck’s family and friends.”

Correction: An earlier version of the story had Roebuck’s age incorrect.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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