Donaghy's dad: 'It killed me'

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Former NCAA basketball referee Gerry Donaghy told ESPN.com yesterday that he was devastated when his son, Tim, told him last year he was going to be busted for betting on NBA games.

"It killed me," Gerry Donaghy told reporter Mike Fish, after his son was sentenced to 15 months in prison. "Being a ref myself, it just was awful. I knew he was a gambler. I knew he gambled on the golf course and I knew he'd bring friends over to the house and play [Texas] Hold 'em, or whatever that poker game is.

"I'd never gambled in my life. I talked to him. I told him he couldn't gamble. When he told me he gambled on basketball games, I couldn't believe it.''

Gerry Donaghy and his wife were in the courtroom yesterday when U.S. District Judge Carol B. Amon sentenced their son.

Donaghy said his son, recently divorced and the father of four girls, "has no money. He's living with a friend, sleeping on a sofa. He wants to stay down in Florida so he can be with the kids all the time. But other than that, his life is devastated. " *