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MPLAHE Sun Jan 29, 2006 12:52pm

I’d like to hear some input on a situation I had the other night. JH tourney game, last game of the night between two local rivals. Gym was packed. Interestingly enough, earlier in the evening I spoke with team A coach who admitted he knew little about basketball but had to coach nonetheless.

Game starts and team A coach is yapping from the start about everything in spite of the fact I was calling a fair number of calls. His yapping starts to get the fans ire up and they begin to vocally question everything we do. At some point in the second quarter I warn the coach that I’ve heard enough. In the third quarter as I report a foul and walk past his bench, a fan sitting right behind the team stands up and yells “you s*ck!” I asked for the game administrator and told him this individual used profanity and had to leave. Things quieted down for a while, but there were several instances in which team A’s players went to the floor in the frontcourt area which resulted in quick baskets for team B and the coach and fans for Team A becoming very boisterous.

I need to point out that, at this point, the reason I was the one always dealing with this is my partner decided to swallow his whistle during the game. There was a lot of contact and sloppy play which necessitated officiating, which he chose not to do. Finally, I called a shooting foul on team A and as I was reporting it, team A’s coach got in my face about his concern for HIS kids (his kids, btw, were bigger and stronger than the other teams, but less athletic. If anyone had a complaint about kids getting the worst of it, it would have been the other coach who never complained even though the number of fouls was close until the end). I listened for a few seconds and gave him the T. He chose to escalate his argument further and I walked away but he followed me and I gave him the second and he was gone. Needless to say, things were out of control.

The game went on without any major incidents other than the catcalling from the stands with team B wining by a half dozen or so.

In looking back, I am looking for input as to how I could have handled it differently. I need to take responsibility for what was a mess; however, my partner’s lack of engagement certainly caused a lot of the problems. I am pretty confident however, that this coach was going to be a butthead anyway. I have officiated for several years and have never felt so alone on the floor. When I say he swallowed his whistle, I mean that literally. One example, fast break, play right in front of him as the lead, player comes from the right wing, classic blarge, bodies flying. I am just crossing half court following the press break. He calls nothing! BTW he is not a new official.

I would love to hear some comments from fellow officials.

ChuckElias Sun Jan 29, 2006 01:26pm


Originally posted by MPLAHE
In looking back, I am looking for input as to how I could have handled it differently.
T the coach sooner. Your biggest mistake was in letting the coach continue his bad behavior. Cut him off and everything else either de-escalates immediately or he gets tossed and the situation de-escalates at that point.


When I say he swallowed his whistle, I mean that literally.
Did you do the Heimlich, or did he have to go to the hospital? I don't think you really meant that literally. Just a tip from Mr. Grammar Guy.

Snake~eyes Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:54pm

Chuck is right on, by squashing the coach right away it will get eveyone under control. They will do what you allow.

bgtg19 Mon Jan 30, 2006 09:05am

MPLAHE, I agree with Chuck and Snake that you might consider giving this coach the Stop Sign and a T earlier. It sounds like he deserved it. So, I guess you might have handled that differently.

I also write to say: Be easy on yourself here. That was a miserable situation and sometimes the situations are miserable despite our best efforts. From my perspective, you handled things well. Good job.

SeanFitzRef Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:35am

What can you really do?
Had a partner in a rivalry game, wanted to establish himself early. We pregamed primary responsibilities, how to handle coaches, etc. 1st quarter, Reaches from L in front of Team A bench to call a carry just across halfcourt opposite the table (yes, in my primary). I don't say a word, just turn in the opposite direction. Ensuing play, A1 does the exact same thing in front of Team B bench, no whistle. Now my eyes are wide also, because he lets the play continue and they score. Coach B is livid, and rides him mercilessly. When I get a chance, about two minutes later, I try to settle Coach B down. He then proceeds to make another 'reach' call in my area. Next timeout, I step to him, turn my back to the bench, and 'politely' tell him to mind his own area, stop ball-hawking. At halftime we have another pregame, this time I'm more forceful. Midway through the third quarter, he says, "Hey, if we can move this game along, I can get out of here in time to see my daughters play!" He proceeds to swallow his whistle for the remainder of the game. At one point I just throw my hands up, then I have to call everything for the rest of the game to keep it from spinning out of control. I stayed in my primary, for the most part, but fortunately most of the action would come into my primary area. Asked assignor to never partner me with this official again.

chrs_schuster Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:59am

Get in, get it done and get out!!! Go on to next game and forget this one!! You did the best you could so forget it!

Ref Daddy Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:31am

Im not opposed to approaching my partner at any break and saying "we need to tighten this up" or something similiar. Any referee with game experience will get the message.

Also I frequently review with partner any warnings I have given or contimplated towards a player or coach. My Co will hear me say things like "I'm working on not being worked"

Having been in a very tense game with a co-official that went brain dead once and after the above "lines" didn't seem to help, I told him "look, you and I are the only two in this gym dressed this way. We are going to get run out of here if we don't get in sync."

It is all about communication.

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