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Waco native officiates Final Four, sets eyes toward the future

"I'm still the same Keith Kimble I was when I called my very first game here in Waco, Texas."

Waco — For Keith Kimble, basketball is a way of life.

Born and raised in Waco, Kimble is a 1990 graduate of Waco High School and played college basketball at McLennan Community College and Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M-Kingsville).

For the past 18 seasons, he's donned the stripes, doing so in major college basketball for 10 years with the dream of making the Final Four.

That dream came true this year when Kimble was selected as the alternate official for the final three games of the college hoops season.

"When I walked out there on that stage, just to see the environment, it was amazing to me," Kimble said. "It was amazing."

Kimble's officiating career started in the Waco chapter of high school basketball referees. Now, he calls in each of the power five conferences.

He made his NCAA Tournament debut in 2012, making it to his first Sweet 16 two years later.

Two years ago, his ticket to the Elite Eight was punched before this year's selection to San Antonio.

He said he's not done there, and his eyes are already set on 2019 -- with the hope he'll be back in Minneapolis next year.

"When the committee makes those decisions, I want them to look at Keith and for them to make that choice for me to be there," Kimble said. "I don't want a reason for them to tell me not to be there."

Because for Kimble, even after a dream season in which he called 107 college basketball games, it's business as usual.

And he knows there's still work to be done next year.

"I'm still the same Keith Kimble I was when I called my very first game here in Waco, Texas."