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  #16 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 09:13am
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Originally posted by 112448
This is my first post, altough I've been reading for some time now. So let me start off by saying I think this forum is a really good idea and that I've appreciated many of the questions/replies that I've read. It's nice to know there are other "basketball junkies" out there.

With that said...Does anyone else think it was a problem that they had a conversation with the coach prior to the game? How would the coach of the opposing team react if he saw the game officials having a discussion with his counterpart, prior to the game...in the stands?

Thanks,
Jake
Jake,
I don't see any sign of impropriety.
We go to say "Hello", introduce ourselves and if the Coaches initiate the conversation, we cannot very well turn our backs on them before they are done.
If they have a question, we answer, but we keep it polite and brief.
Similarly, when a fan stops to say something during warm-ups,... polite and brief.
mick
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 09:26am
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If it was a brief conversation I don't know what would be wrong with it. Todd can correct me, but the situation seems to be one where the coach was just looking for a rule clarification, saw him and asked. I don't think it a newsflash to anyone on this board that coaches are NOT rules experts (the few coaches on this board excluded), therefore they need to seek guidance form a higher power... officials.

Whether we move from one area or not during our officiating career, after time we see the same coaches, in the same leagues over and over. Whether we like it or not, there becomes a small air of familiarity (which probably breeds so much discontent on the coaches part during games). I take it as a compliment when a coach asks me for a rule clarification, I know that he thinks I have a good grasp of the rules. As long as he keeps it quick, I see no harm. I liken pregame encounters with coaches like the old Bugs Bunny cartoon with the wolf and the sheepdog. When we clock in between the lines we are enemies, after we clock out we warily tolerate and encourage each other.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 12:17pm
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Smile Common Sense

Quote:
Originally posted by 112448
This is my first post, altough I've been reading for some time now. So let me start off by saying I think this forum is a really good idea and that I've appreciated many of the questions/replies that I've read. It's nice to know there are other "basketball junkies" out there.

With that said...Does anyone else think it was a problem that they had a conversation with the coach prior to the game? How would the coach of the opposing team react if he saw the game officials having a discussion with his counterpart, prior to the game...in the stands?

Thanks,
Jake
I chalk this up to common sense (and yes, some do lack this).

I've seen guys walk up into the stands to say hello to people they know or get overly "chattie" with the coaches they know or they want to brown-nose. That, IMHO, is unprofessional.

However, speaking to a coach who has a question about a rule is NOT over that unprofessional line. In fact, I would consider it unprofessional to turn your back on the coach and NOT answer the question. Answer the question and then go about your duties. Same as we do when a coach politely asks about a violation/foul during game play.

Just my two-cents on the subject.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 01:53pm
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Re: Common Sense


[/B][/QUOTE]

I chalk this up to common sense (and yes, some do lack this).

I've seen guys walk up into the stands to say hello to people they know or get overly "chattie" with the coaches they know or they want to brown-nose. That, IMHO, is unprofessional.

However, speaking to a coach who has a question about a rule is NOT over that unprofessional line. In fact, I would consider it unprofessional to turn your back on the coach and NOT answer the question. Answer the question and then go about your duties. Same as we do when a coach politely asks about a violation/foul during game play.

Just my two-cents on the subject. [/B][/QUOTE]

This situation just happened to me at the end of the season. Evidently, in a previous game, A1 was oob for a throw in and she shuffled her feet then inbounded the ball.
The official called throw in violation. In another game B1 dothe same thing and different officials have no-call.
I now get into thr gym for my game and Team A coach wants to know the ruling. I tell him about the imaginary 3 foot space oob etc. Don't you know, it happen with A1 right in front of team B coach. Before I can reply to B's whining the team A coach says' " Bob there is an imaginary 3 foot spot for the inbounder" I guess they do listen.

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  #20 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 03:30pm
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As I said in my previous post, we should talk with coaches as little as possible. And when we have to discuss a rules problem it is always done with both coaches together. The pre-game introduction is no place for a rules clinic or interpretation. No knows better than I do how I like to give clinics to educate players, coaches, fans, and the press on the rules of basketball and officiatint mechanics but the pre-game conference is not the place.

How do you handle the question if a coach wants to ask just politely tell him that unless you would like to hear his question after the game when you can give him the proper attention his problem deserves and end it at that.
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Trumbull Co. (Warren, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Wood Co. (Bowling Green, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Ohio Assn. of Basketball Officials
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 03:43pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Watson
Todd can correct me, but the situation seems to be one where the coach was just looking for a rule clarification, saw him and asked. I don't think it a newsflash to anyone on this board that coaches are NOT rules experts (the few coaches on this board excluded), therefore they need to seek guidance form a higher power... officials.
You're exactly right, Brian. This brief discussion occured during the first game as my partner and I sat in the corner of the gym, not during the "pre-game" of the game we worked. The coach described the play, and asked for our ruling as to its legality. Question answered, the discussion ended and he left. Only problem, as I stated earlier, was that he still misunderstood and, thus, became upset when the violation was called during his game.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 03:58pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Todd VandenAkker
Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Watson
Todd can correct me, but the situation seems to be one where the coach was just looking for a rule clarification, saw him and asked. I don't think it a newsflash to anyone on this board that coaches are NOT rules experts (the few coaches on this board excluded), therefore they need to seek guidance form a higher power... officials.
You're exactly right, Brian. This brief discussion occured during the first game as my partner and I sat in the corner of the gym, not during the "pre-game" of the game we worked. The coach described the play, and asked for our ruling as to its legality. Question answered, the discussion ended and he left. Only problem, as I stated earlier, was that he still misunderstood and, thus, became upset when the violation was called during his game.
Todd,
You were fine and you know it.
mick
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 05:05pm
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Mark

I agree with you 100% and I don't want to beat a dead horse (sorry if it's already too late), but I found a statement in a memo from Jack Loube, the IAABO Executive Director, regarding game management that I thought was pertinent to this situation.

"If you speak to one coach, speak to them both. Coaches are suspicious of officials to begin with, don't do anything to confirm their suspicions. If you want to minimize the conversation and don't feel like talking, bring them both together. There is no advantage to be gained by either of them, and the talk will be brief."

and

"Don't sit in the stands with either coach before the game. The opposing coach feels he has no chance to win. Be friendly, but selective in what you say."


Todd, I'm not at all trying to imply that what you did WAS wrong...I'm just trying to point out that the fact that the opposing coach, since he/she was not involved in the conversation, could misconstrue the point of the conversation.

It is my believe that a polite, "coach, that's a good question and i'll address that prior to start of the game with both you and the opposing coach," would certainly be one way of handling the situation. That way, neither coach feels he/she has got an advantage over the other or feels that the other is getting an advantage over him/her.

Let's face it, in this situation, you and your partner where trying to be "nice guys" and look where it got you. It stinks sometimes, but like Mark said,

"the only friends that an official has on the court is his/her partner(s). Coaches are NOT our friends. Sad as that sounds."

Jake
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 12, 2001, 05:24pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by 112448

"If you speak to one coach, speak to them both. Coaches are suspicious of officials to begin with, don't do anything to confirm their suspicions. If you want to minimize the conversation and don't feel like talking, bring them both together. There is no advantage to be gained by either of them, and the talk will be brief."
In general, this advice is very well taken. But refs talk to coaches throughout the game, as coaches say, "what did you call there?" or quietly protest a lack of a call. I consider brief and pointed statements in response to questions or comments appropriate and common among the best refs. Similarly, a brief answer to a pointed pregame question is significantly different from an extended chat. If he hangs around talking, you need to make yourself scarce to avoid an improper appearance.

Todd gave what sounds like a brief and concise explanation of the rule and left it until they violated, at which point he called it, as he would regardless of talking to the coach first. He isn't looking for friends or the support of the coach, just telling him a straightforward rule. As for the coach protesting at that point, he just shows his stupidity. He had shown his hand early (making Todd aware that he might have to make this call), was been told that this would not fly and then his players did it anyway. The pregame discussion obviously did not give the coach any advantage in this case, and I would argue that explaining a rule in no way favors a coach (and the coach who is smart enough to ask is that much better for having done so).
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old Tue Mar 13, 2001, 08:30am
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Quote:
Originally posted by 112448
Mark

I agree with you 100% and I don't want to beat a dead horse (sorry if it's already too late), but I found a statement in a memo from Jack Loube, the IAABO Executive Director, regarding game management that I thought was pertinent to this situation.

"If you speak to one coach, speak to them both. Coaches are suspicious of officials to begin with, don't do anything to confirm their suspicions. If you want to minimize the conversation and don't feel like talking, bring them both together. There is no advantage to be gained by either of them, and the talk will be brief."

and

"Don't sit in the stands with either coach before the game. The opposing coach feels he has no chance to win. Be friendly, but selective in what you say."


Todd, I'm not at all trying to imply that what you did WAS wrong...I'm just trying to point out that the fact that the opposing coach, since he/she was not involved in the conversation, could misconstrue the point of the conversation.

It is my believe that a polite, "coach, that's a good question and i'll address that prior to start of the game with both you and the opposing coach," would certainly be one way of handling the situation. That way, neither coach feels he/she has got an advantage over the other or feels that the other is getting an advantage over him/her.

Let's face it, in this situation, you and your partner where trying to be "nice guys" and look where it got you. It stinks sometimes, but like Mark said,

"the only friends that an official has on the court is his/her partner(s). Coaches are NOT our friends. Sad as that sounds."

Jake

I have been a member of IAABO (Bd. #55) for eleven years and currently sit on three of its national committees, including the Visualizationa & Education Comm. and know Jacky Loube personally. I do not know how many times at conferences and clinics that I have heard him give the advice that you quoted Jake but it is what I had taught to me when I became a basketball official thirty years ago and it is what I teach my basketball officiating students.

Talking to coaches before a game will always come back to bite you in the tuckis (forgive me, my Yiddish is not that good). When it comes to speaking to coaches in that situation the best advice I can give you is to "Just say NO!"
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Mark T. DeNucci, Sr.
Trumbull Co. (Warren, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Wood Co. (Bowling Green, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Ohio Assn. of Basketball Officials
International Assn. of Approved Bkb. Officials
Ohio High School Athletic Association
Toledo, Ohio
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old Tue Mar 13, 2001, 09:48am
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr.
Quote:
Talking to coaches before a game will always come back to bite you ..... When it comes to speaking to coaches in that situation the best advice I can give you is to "Just say NO!"
This is still a game. This is only a game.
I will continue to avoid chatting with coaches other than pleasantries, and I will continue to politely and briefly answer anyone that asks me a question about this, or that; but, to tell a coach that I cannot/will not answer a question, is more rude and arrogant than the posture I naturally assume.
I am not paranoid, and I do not think the "other coach" is paranoid either.
mick
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old Tue Mar 13, 2001, 04:45pm
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Mick, I like your approach, and it seems to conform with what I have seen many of the better officials do (in general - everyone has their own preference).
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old Tue Mar 13, 2001, 11:49pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Watson
As long as he keeps it quick, I see no harm. I liken pregame encounters with coaches like the old Bugs Bunny cartoon with the wolf and the sheepdog. When we clock in between the lines we are enemies, after we clock out we warily tolerate and encourage each other.
I like this!! I'm gonna keep it in mind ....
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old Wed Mar 14, 2001, 11:59am
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This thread started as a discussion about an unusual throw-in play and has shifted to a discussion of the how and when to give a rules interpretation to a coach. And before I go any further I will reiterate my support for Jacky Loube’s position on this matter.

I have officiated boys’/girls’ high school basketball for thirty years and women’s college for 27 years and I can honestly say that I have seen many changes in how coaches conduct themselves and the vast majority of these changes have not been for the good of basketball.

My high school basketball coach was also my next door neighbor. In 21 years as a head coach he won 378 games and lost 122, all at the same high school. Included in those 378 wins were fifteen league championships and I had the good fortune to play on two of them. Many people in our community thought that of all his players I was the one most likely to become a basketball coach, instead I became an engineer and put on the stripe shirt of a basketball official. The amazing thing about my head coach was that he was also an OhioHSAA registered basketball official. In 1948 he was a charter member of the Trumbull Co. Bkb. Off. Assn., an association in which I am still a member. When asked why he was also a basketball official even though he coached and did not officiate was that one could not teach a sport or game unless he knew the rules.

I can count on one hand the number of high school basketball coaches that I know are also basketball officials. When I first started officiating women’s college basketball (the good old NAGWS days) a good number of the women’s college basketball coaches were also NAGWS basketball officials. These coaches knew that if you are going to teach the game you must know the rules. With very few exceptions, today’s coaches are completely ignorant of the rules of the game. And what is worse in many states (Ohio and Michigan included)
coaches determine who officiates at the jr. varsity and varsity level.

I consider myself an educator of basketball officials (as well as players, coaches, fans, and the press). I will gladly sit down with anybody and answer his/her questions about the rules and mechanics of the game. But sitting in the stands watching the game before your game is not the time or place to be discussing anything with one of the coaches in your game. If you are officiating the second game of a tournament doubleheader, stay in your dressing room until it is time for you to take the court to start your pre-game duties. Limit your conversation with the coaches to good morning/afternoon/evening and good luck, as well as the other NFHS required questions. If the coach wants to ask a rules question just tell him to see you at a later date when you can give him your undivided attention. If the coach persists, just tell him politely that this is not the time or place to have a rules discussion.

To some people how I have suggested to handle a coaches request may seem rude but it is not. Officiating is an avocation but it is also a profession. There is a time and place for everything and before a game is not the time or place for a rules interpretation. The coach may or may not be trying to set you up for a later problem but the best way to avoid the problem is to limit your contact to what your duties require you to do. Once again this is going to sound cynical but it is true: The only friends that you have on the court are your partner(s). Coaches do not know the rules, casebook plays, and mechanics and they will use their lack of knowledge to their advantage every time.

What is the solution to this problem. First, every high school coach should be required to be a registered official and meet all of the same meetings, testing, and educational requirements that “real” officials have to meet. Second, in states (such as Ohio and Michigan, where I officiate basketball) where coaches and/or athletic directors chose the officials, the assigning of officials should be taken away from them. In many states (such as California and Florida, where I have officiated high school basketball in the past), coaches and athletic directors have no say so in who officiates. This is also true for the most part in IAABO states. In some states the State Assn. does the hiring and in other states it is the officials association that does the assigning. Coaches have an interest in the outcome of the game And in states where coaches chose the officials there will always be the appearance of improper conduct by the officials. It is a no win situation for the officials. Officials are like judges and we must always be above suspicion.
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Trumbull Co. (Warren, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Wood Co. (Bowling Green, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
Ohio Assn. of Basketball Officials
International Assn. of Approved Bkb. Officials
Ohio High School Athletic Association
Toledo, Ohio
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old Wed Mar 14, 2001, 12:34pm
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Well, Mark, that was a long way to go (i.e., a lot of reading) to arrive at your point that you feel I shouldn't have spoken with the coach, even briefly, before my game. Personally, I think you're blowing this minor contact way out of proportion, and the eventual violation that was called is irrelevant to the broader issue of explaining a rule when asked. I have been reffing for 23 years now, and I could also list my resume if I was so inclined (which I'm not). Plenty of other experienced, veteran officials have also offered their opinions, many or most of which support that I handled the situation appropriately. After how many years of reffing do officials become essentially "equal" in their credibility? In other words, your 30+ years do not equate to more credibility than my (or others') 23 years, give or take.

That said, I simply disagree with the passion (and verbosity) with which you argue your case. You may choose to sit in the locker room for the entire game ahead of yours, but I enjoy basketball and watching my officiating brethren when I get the chance. Watching part of the first game from a corner of the gym (NOT "sitting in the stands" in the middle of all the fans, as you continually imply) is not a big deal, and I have NEVER had a significant problem result from it (whether I explained the rule to this coach an hour before his game or one minute before the game, he would have reacted the same way to the violation). And if something does result, I'll deal with it once or twice in my career. It was a BRIEF conversation--nothing more, nothing less. If the opposing coach notices and chooses to ask what the discussion was about, I'd be happy to tell him. My contacts with coaches is always brief and professional; I do not fraternize with coaches; I do not have long chats with them before games. Maybe that's why I'm not as well-known as other veteran officials who DO talk a lot. Anyway, I disagree with a couple other points, too, but I'd better stop typing, or MY post will be a chore to read.
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