Karl Hess is working the pine harder than ever

Yesterday afternoon, the veteran NCAA official that everybody loves to hate, Karl Hess, was in South Bend, IN where he helped call the Cincinnati at Notre Dame game. On Saturday he worked Auburn at Ole Miss; on Thursday it was Georgia at Arkansas; on Wednesday it was Providence at Syracuse; and on Tuesday Hess was on the whistle for Maryland at Boston College. That's five games from three different conferences in five different states — covering about 2,200 miles.

And that's just in the last SIX DAYS. Hopefully he's earning some bonus miles somewhere in there.

Of course, Hess is perhaps best remembered for the ire he drew last February when he tossed Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani from a Florida State at NC State game without following proper ACC procedure. He was even "officially reprimanded" by the league. At the time, Jeff Goodman noted that Hess had already worked 74 games and said "It's time for Karl Hess to go."

After that incident, Hess reportedly "declined to participate" in the ACC Tournament, but his associates in stripes sported the initials "KH" on their shoes. Perhaps some wondered whether Hess would be welcomed back to resume work at his relentless pace.

Afterall, Hess has had some other controversial calls over the past few seasons. There's even a fantastic parody Twitter account in his name.

Wonder no more.

So far this season, Hess has worked 79 games in 22 states over a span of 108 days. That's a little more than two games every three days. All. Season. Long.

In fact, based on referee stats compiled by Statsheet.com through Sunday's slate, Hess and referee Roger Ayers, who also is a veteran hustler of the industry, lead all NCAA officials in games called so far this season. Since 1996 Hess has called 1,351 games in 37 states (he tends to stick to the midwest and east coast).

Rank Referee Total Games States Visited
1 Karl Hess 79 22
2 Roger Ayers 78 24
2 Ray Natili 78 21
4 Brian Dorsey 77 17
4 Bryan Kersey 77 18
6 John Higgins 75 18
6 David Hall 75 18
8 Jeffrey Anderson 74 14
9 Jamie Luckie 73 23
10 Ted Valentine 71 22

Here's a video chronicling Roger Ayers' similarly crazy schedule from January 2011, and here's something badass that Brian Dorsey, who worked more games (100) than anyone last season, did in a game last March.

There are 15 games on the schedule for tonight, including a pair of Big East games (Syracuse at Marquette and Villanova at Seton Hall). To the chagrin of most, I don't we can count Hess out for either.