*Article from Referee Magazine*
In 1958, a football crew was formed in the Chicago area that included Jerry Markbreit, Frank Strocchia, Bob Fallon and Don Hakes. Calling themselves "The Four Musketeers," the crew worked high school games in the Chicago area and in northern Indiana. Forty years later, two of the Musketeers were still working together; Hakes and Markbreit both made it to the NFL and both retired at the end of the past season. Markbreit's career has been well documented, but Hakes is, and has always been the man in the background. "I've been fortunate throughout my whole career to be associated with some great officials," said Hakes. "I've gone where I have on the coattails of heroes," he added with a laugh. Hakes, 65, was being far too modest. During his NFL career he worked two Super Bowls -- Super Bowl XVI, San Francisco vs. Cincinnati, and Super Bowl XXX, Pittsburgh vs. Dallas -- before adding his third and final Super Bowl this past January. Hakes ended his onfield career in the best possible fashion when he served as the back judge at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami. "This couldn't be any better if I planned it," Hakes said a week before his last game. "I'm very excited and honored." "I made my first one a little early in my career and the second one a little late in my career," he said. "With 14 years in-between, you sometimes think you're never going to get back to another one. The first one was exciting, but it's more gratifying when you're on the downside of your career and they decide you're the best at your position and you accomplish something like that." Markbreit said Hakes is the strongest rules man on his crew. "He bailed me out over the years when I got confused or blanked out on something," he said. "Every crew needs somebody like that." Hakes joined the NFL officiating staff in 1977, a year after Markbreit, after having been in the Big 10 since 1969. The first NFL referee he worked with was Jim Tunney, who Hakes describes as, "the epitome of what a referee should be in the NFL," as he spent several seasons on the crews of Bob Frederic and Red Cashion before being reunited with his old hometown officiating partner Markbreit for his final nine years. "We went into the Big 10 at about the same time and he went to the NFL a year before I did," said Hakes. "Awhile ago, we made a pact to go out together." Hakes admitted he'll miss being on the field but he said he's looking forward to rooting for his hometown Bears again. "I'd like to try being a fan again but I don't know that I'll ever be able to. When I see my guys work, I think I'll always be on the side of the officials." As a retired educator who taught physical education and social studies for 34 years at Thorton Fractional North High School in the Chicago area, Hakes was something of a celebrity with his students. "The kids got a kick out of seeing their teacher on TV sometimes." He's planning on spending more time with his wife, Georgina, who is recovering from an aneurysm she suffered a year and a half ago. "I've had a very nice offer from the league to help them out as a trainer," said Hakes. "It's an offer on the table and I'd very much like to do it but I'd like to stay near my wife as much as possible. It all depends on if we can work it out." No matter what happens, though, officiating won't be completely out of Hakes' blood. He said he will continue to officiate basketball for at least the foreseeable future. Hakes' basketball career stretches even further back than his football career. He started officiating basketball in the late '50s and it wasn't until several years later, in the early '60s, that he began working football. Hakes currently refs high school basketball but he spent many years working NAIA and Division III games in the Chicago area. Hakes' son, Michael, is engaged to be married in September. "I'll be happy to attend," said Hakes, "because it's on a Saturday night and I won't be at a football game."