Anthony ‘Tony’ Urban
The late Tony Urban was a football coach, a basketball coach, a teacher, athletic director, a school administrator, a state administrator, a basketball referee and an umpire. He was a “go-to” figure in the North Country but also led and impacted organizations statewide.
Urban graduated from Plymouth State College and later attended graduate programs throughout the country. He also had a great love for hockey. Basketball was the “family business” but he chose to play hockey for Berlin High School for two years.
Urban knew how important the sport was to his hometown. His career would include 36 years as chairman of the NHIAA Hockey Committee. He served on the National High School Hockey Federation for Hockey Rules Committee from 1977-88. As part of this committee in 1977 he helped author the first consolidated High School Ice Hockey rules book to standardize national rules and benchmarks for high school play.
From 1968-94, he served as assistant principal at Berlin Junior-Senior High School, where he helped design and construct the “new” high school, which still stands today. He served as principal of Berlin Junior-High School and Berlin Middle School, and served on New England-wide school accreditation committees.
In “retirement,” he led efforts to restore the city’s athletic fields from disrepair and acted as clerk of the works. He promoted the BioMass project in Berlin after the mills closed, and served as a Police Commissioner and State Racing and Gaming Commissioner.
Urban served on many NHIAA committees, and spent one school year (1975-76) as president of the NHIAA. He was also a member of the IAABO (basketball officials) since 1963 and served as its president in 1977-1978. He was a member of the NH Baseball Umpires Association since 1961 (serving as its president from 1979-81). He was a member of the NH Women’s Basketball Officials Organization from 1984-2005 (serving as its president from 1984-85). He was inducted into the NHIAA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Urban was a founding member of the predecessor group to the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey. When Berlin’s Notre Dame Arena fell on hard times, again, he helped to set up fundraising opportunities.
He was instrumental in moving the NHIAA hockey championship games from the “big ice” of Whittemore Arena at UNH to the SNHU Arena in Manchester. He also arranged for sponsorships for these costs. Today, the cost is still zero.
He also helped the NHIAA sanctioning of women’s ice hockey as interest expanded in the sport for young women and also oversaw the divisional segregation of the high school hockey programs to allow equitable, safe play for all participants.
He passed away on Dec. 29, 2016 after a battle with a rare cancer.