Man who built an international business based on a whistle for sports officials to be given the ultimate whistle.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 31st, 2016


Candidates must have a consistent record of presenting officiating in a positive light as well as exhibiting a “service above self” attitude. Public service to officiating, having a motivating effect on others and/or strong community involvement are considered.

Who would that be in Burlington?

Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft – recipient of the Gold Whistle Award

Say the words sports in this town and you follow it with Ron and those whistles.  The guy who knew what it means to hustle before he got out of high school – actually he didn’t really get out of high school – he gave up on them.

If you’ve been to an event that Ron Foxcroft spoke at – you know the story of the whistle that failed him in a crucial basketball game.

From that experience came the spark that lit up his entrepreneurship that rolled into a company that sells a product in more than 140 countries.

All based on a whistle that has never failed him since the morning he blew on the thing in the corridor of a hotel that was holding a conference for sports officiating types.

Of such simple ideas are strong profitable businesses built.

Foxcroft Golden whistle

NASO’s Gold Whistle Award

The media release from the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) that will be recognizing Foxcroft with the Gold Whistle Award at their conference in San Antonia Texas said “A primary determinant in awarding anyone NASO’s Gold Whistle Award is this: The recipient has to have a long and meaningful history of ‘shining a positive light’ on officiating. Further, any recipient must be someone who is held with some reverence within the officiating community of which he is a part.

“Ron Foxcroft”, said Barry Mano, NASO president “was an easy choice.”

“There are precious few individuals who place the wellbeing of sports officiating well in front of personal agenda or gain,” Mano added. “Members of this group have made outsized contributions to officiating. Ron is without doubt a member of that elite and critically important group. He is one of those unique individuals who, for decades, has fulfilled all of the requirements above. And, of course, he continues to do so.”

Although Foxcroft is best known as maker of the famous pealess whistle used by officials around the world, he has made his mark in the world in many other ways. As an NCAA and international basketball official, he worked five NCAA tournaments, an Olympic final and numerous other high level international games.

He has shone a positive light on the industry through his many charitable and leadership efforts, including serving as chair of the McMaster Campaign for Athletics & Recreation, founder and former chair of the Foxcroft Family Youth Fund held at the Hamilton Community Foundation and serving on the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation fundraising committee, the first healthcare charity in Hamilton to earn the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy’s Ethical Fundraising License.

He donated thousands of Fox 40 Classic whistles used by search and rescue professionals when they were saving lives following the San Francisco earthquake, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Foxcroft has received awards from B’Nai Brith Canada and the Burlington (Ontario) Rotary Club.

Foxcroft was named Hamilton’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year, received an honorary doctor of law degree from McMaster University and had an award named for him by Sports Officials Canada. The award is presented annually to recognize excellence from an official in a professional sports environment, their contribution to the development of young officials and their example as a positive role model for officials by virtue of personal involvement at the community level.

Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, receives Colonel Ronald Foxcroft (Honorary Colonel) at Buckingham Palace in London.

Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, receives Colonel Ronald Foxcroft (Honorary Colonel) at Buckingham Palace in London.

He is an honorary colonel in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Canadian Army Reserve infantry battalion. After a member of his regiment was killed in a terrorist attack, Foxcroft met with Queen Elizabeth II and received her personal condolences.

Foxcroft chasing ball

Foxcroft sometimes found time to shoot a couple of hoops at the office.

Fox 40 received the Mel Narol Medallion Award in 2004, presented to a group or individual for outstanding contributions to NASO.  Foxcroft is a former member of the NASO board of directors and currently serves as a special adviser to the board.

And he is still a young man.

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