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papalambeau
distinguished member (299)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/21/2024 09:16AM  
I've noticed through the years that we have a good number of coaches and retired coaches who are part of this community. It would be interesting to share specifics of where and what you are coaching currently or have coached in the past.

I've been coaching football on and off for the past 45 years. I began coaching in 1979 out in Colorado and we won a state championship in 1983. Moved back to Wisconsin and have continued to coach high school football. Also have coached baseball and basketball at the high school level but my coaching first love is definitely football.

Blessings,
Papalambeau
 
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Jackfish
Moderator
  
02/21/2024 10:28AM  
Hey papa... I'm a long-time (but now retired) football and basketball official in the Green Bay/Appleton area. I see that you're in Neenah. We worked several games with Neenah (home and away) over the years. Maybe a retired zebra can join your campfire? :)
 
papalambeau
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02/21/2024 10:41AM  
Jackfish: "Hey papa... I'm a long-time (but now retired) football and basketball official in the Green Bay/Appleton area. I see that you're in Neenah. We worked several games with Neenah (home and away) over the years. Maybe a retired zebra can join your campfire? :)"


You bet Jackfish! I know a lot of us are getting an even greater appreciation of our officials lately because so many are retiring and there aren't enough young refs stepping up to take their place. A number of schools had to play on Thursday nights or Saturdays this past season because there were not enough referees to man all the Friday night football games.

Did you know a good friend of mine - Bernie Barribeau - by chance? He did a lot of refereeing in the Valley through the years and even a good number of college games. He passed away this past June.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
  
02/21/2024 12:12PM  
papalambeau: "Did you know a good friend of mine - Bernie Barribeau - by chance? He did a lot of refereeing in the Valley through the years and even a good number of college games. He passed away this past June."

I knew of Bernie, but didn't know him personally. He led many of the in-person football rule interpretation meetings over the years and had an officiating "resume" as long as your arm. Many state assignments. I heard that he unfortunately passed away.
 
02/21/2024 05:26PM  
I coached Middle School and High School Basketball for 35 years. A couple years of HS football and track earlier in my career. All in Illinois
 
MidwestMan
distinguished member (245)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/22/2024 08:54AM  
I've coached middle school boys' basketball in Rhinelander, WI and am currently an assistant boys' track & field coach at a high school in northern Illinois. My first coaching opportunity was in Aspen, Colorado. I was offered an assistant boys' baseball coaching job at the high school level. I passed (no interest in coaching baseball) but I certainly itch to get back to Colorado.
 
wrestlencanoe
distinguished member (403)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/22/2024 11:06AM  
I have spent 28 years coaching middle and high school wrestling in Iowa. I've been fortunate to be associated with an awesome program with hard working athletes, dedicated coaches and community support. This in my 31st year as a teacher and I will be retiring May 31.
 
MidwestMan
distinguished member (245)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/22/2024 01:14PM  
wrestlencanoe: "I have spent 28 years coaching middle and high school wrestling in Iowa. I've been fortunate to be associated with an awesome program with hard working athletes, dedicated coaches and community support. This in my 31st year as a teacher and I will be retiring May 31. "


Congrats on your upcoming retirement!
 
YetiJedi
distinguished member(1440)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/23/2024 12:27AM  
I coached jv boys basketball for a handful of years. Loved it! Taught high school at the time too. When I spend time in the wilderness I do a little bit of writing. I'm working on a never-to-be-published book: "All I really need to know about leadership, I learned as a jv boys basketball coach." One of the most influential people in my life was my jv boys basketball coach.

Good topic, Papalambeau. Brings back some good memories for me as well as encourages me to share a personal project I've been working on for close to 20 years since I last coached. Thank you for that.
 
papalambeau
distinguished member (299)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/27/2024 02:59PM  
YetiJedi: "I coached jv boys basketball for a handful of years. Loved it! Taught high school at the time too. When I spend time in the wilderness I do a little bit of writing. I'm working on a never-to-be-published book: "All I really need to know about leadership, I learned as a jv boys basketball coach." One of the most influential people in my life was my jv boys basketball coach.


Good topic, Papalambeau. Brings back some good memories for me as well as encourages me to share a personal project I've been working on for close to 20 years since I last coached. Thank you for that."


Thanks Jason. I think you have a winner with your book and love the title. One of my sons is a jv boys bb coach right now so I'm going to share that title with him. I'm sure he's going to love it!
 
02/28/2024 06:16AM  
I’ve coached one sport or another for 38 years. It all started when I was 16 and my varsity baseball coach asked me to coach park and rec baseball in St Cloud.

Club or association sports Ive coached are baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer. I’ve coached both rec and travel teams.

School sports that I’ve coached are middle school football, 9th grade basketball, varsity baseball, and JV soccer

I also coached VFW and Legion baseball for a few years in my 20s.

Baseball was tge sport that was my true passion and the sport I coached the most.

Then I had 2 daughters and they became my true passion and I coached whatever they played. I coached their rec sports and then their travel sports.

When my oldest daughter was in 7th grade playing JV soccer I was so excited to sit back and enjoy watching her play and then with 5 games left in the season the coach quit. I had worked with the varsity coaches in club soccer before so they asked me to coach the last 5 games. Little did I know that would turn into 5 games plus 5 years. LOL.

This last year was the first year I didn’t coach a travel team or a high school team and it was nice to slow down and spend more time camping, hiking, and canoeing. But, it’s all starting over and I’m coaching our 5 year old son’s rec sports.
 
02/28/2024 07:34AM  
I coached in, refed, and was in charge of the Two Harbors Youth Soccer Club for 6 years.

I was also a stroke and turn judge for swimming. My cert has expired, might think about renewing and doing it again in the coming years.
 
grizzlyadams
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
  
02/28/2024 09:52AM  
I coached middle school basketball for 4 years (1 year 7th-grade girls and 3 years 7th & 8th-grade boys) and youth summer league softball. I was also a strength and conditioning coach for 11 years and reluctantly gave that up after the football season this year due to a growing family. This fall will be my 15th year coaching football in SE Minnesota. I started as an assistant middle school coach and have been a JV/Assistant varsity coach since 2013. We won state in 2013 and 2021 and finished as runner-up in 2022.
 
02/28/2024 11:34AM  
I've coached youth soccer in central MN for about five years now. My boys are just far enough apart in age that I'm able to coach both of their teams. papalambeau I have to agree with you that it has been a struggle to find enough folks to fill volunteer coaching roles in the community. I have volunteered as a pacer for local road races on occasion as well; maybe not an official role but there is plenty of coaching involved.
 
02/28/2024 04:35PM  
portagerunner: "I've coached youth soccer in central MN for about five years now. My boys are just far enough apart in age that I'm able to coach both of their teams. papalambeau I have to agree with you that it has been a struggle to find enough folks to fill volunteer coaching roles in the community. I have volunteered as a pacer for local road races on occasion as well; maybe not an official role but there is plenty of coaching involved. "


Which club? I coached girls for Great River and for Tri County United before it merged with Monticello to form Great River.

You are correct on not enough coaches. I started coaching soccer because the first year my older daughter played competitive/travel they didn’t have a coach for her team so I learned on the fly. They said I was the best bet because I was an elementary teacher and they knew I coached other sports. Ended up doing it for 8 years and I also was coaching 2 teams at time coaching both of my daughters starting the 3rd year. My last year coaching club soccer was 2022. Last summer 3 teams from the club begged me to coach when they heard I wasn’t coaching a team.
 
02/29/2024 10:27AM  
ducks: "
portagerunner: "I've coached youth soccer in central MN for about five years now. My boys are just far enough apart in age that I'm able to coach both of their teams. papalambeau I have to agree with you that it has been a struggle to find enough folks to fill volunteer coaching roles in the community. I have volunteered as a pacer for local road races on occasion as well; maybe not an official role but there is plenty of coaching involved. "



Which club? I coached girls for Great River and for Tri County United before it merged with Monticello to form Great River.


You are correct on not enough coaches. I started coaching soccer because the first year my older daughter played competitive/travel they didn’t have a coach for her team so I learned on the fly. They said I was the best bet because I was an elementary teacher and they knew I coached other sports. Ended up doing it for 8 years and I also was coaching 2 teams at time coaching both of my daughters starting the 3rd year. My last year coaching club soccer was 2022. Last summer 3 teams from the club begged me to coach when they heard I wasn’t coaching a team. "


CMYSA. I've often ended up helping both teams on the field since roughly half of the teams don't have coaches. It sounds like competitive/travel is in our near future as well.
 
03/03/2024 07:13AM  
After my college wrestling eligibility ended, I spent my last year of college as a junior high wrestling coach. As a public school teacher, I was the varsity wrestling coach for 9 years but also added JV and junior high volleyball, and then head track coach to my resume. After the wrestling program was dropped due to lack of numbers, I began officiating wrestling, volleyball, and basketball. After our school began co-opping with a nearby district, I resumed my wrestling coaching with the junior high team and added freshman football (one year) and assistant track. After 17 years at the small rural district, I moved to a Lutheran high school in Wausau and taught another 17 years. My first year there I was the varsity volleyball coach and then became the AD for the next 16 years but continued to coach JV volleyball and later assistant track. But as AD I was too busy doing that so I gave up officiating. My last 4 years of teaching I switched from assistant track to assistant baseball coach. 10 years ago I retired from full time teaching, as AD, and coaching. But, as my knees were still kind of OK, I started reffing volleyball and wrestling again. Last week I finished my last middle school wrestling gig for the season, but I'm booking dates for both sports into the 2025-26 season. 50+ years as an athlete, coach, AD, and ref. My family tells me they're going to have my funeral in a gymnasium and bury me under the bleachers.
 
03/03/2024 09:21AM  
This fall will be my 30th high school football season as an official. I also officiated small college ball for 9 years. I serve on the organizing committee for an officials clinic. Over the years, we’ve had a number of D-1 and NFL officials serve as clinicians. I’ve met a lot of great people through officiating. It’s been a rewarding journey for me.

The demographics of the officiating community is similar to this community. In general, we’re getting older and there are not a lot of young people willing to participate.

 
analyzer
distinguished member(2166)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
03/03/2024 01:07PM  
I umpired mens USSSA softball from 99 to 2018. I officiated 7th and 8th grade football from 1999 until 2022. We followed NFHS rules at that level. 7th and 8th grade in our area, don't play on Friday nights, so I didn't have to give those up. After a stressful week at work, I didn't really want to officiate on Friday night. After a good night of rest, and sleeping in a little on Saturday, I was better able to navigate the challenges of a game. As well, in some respects it paid better, as I could work 4 games on Saturday, and 4 on Sunday. It didn't pay better per game, but as a whole. I like the 7th and 8th grade level, as those kids will soon be playing high school ball, and they often don't know the rules very well. Some coaches are just parents, and don't know the rules very well either, so I could help both the players and coaches understand the rules of the game.

When I was coaching my son's team 3rd grade-8th grade, I was fairly disappointed with the quality of officiating. Back then there were lots of high school age officials, and they tended to lack knowledge of the game, and either rarely threw flags, or were largely influenced by whatever coaching staff was yelling at them the most. There were some older officials, but they didn't communicate very well, were often belligerent, crabby old guys, and again, often didn't know the rules very well. I made a promise to myself, when I was done coaching, I would learn to officiate, and help teach others. I wanted to improve the experience of the players, coaches and parents.

I recall a few examples of critical mistakes made by the officials back when I was coaching youth football. One playoff game, I had happened to watch a nebraska/Colorado game the night before. There was very short kickoff that was popped up in the air, and a receiving team player called for a fair catch. That was the reason that on an on-side kick the kickers would drive the ball into the ground (not legal now), and then have the ball pop up in the air. I've watched a ton of football, and it's very rare for a team to call a fair catch on a kickoff that only traveled about 15 yards. But it was something I hadn't taught my players, so I went over it prior to the playoff game.

By total coincidence, the opponent won the toss, deferred, and pooched kicked the kickoff about 15 yards, and my outside midfield player, called for a fair catch. The kickoff team ran him over, the ball popped loose, and was recovered by the kickoff team. Despite making a very clear fair catch signal, the officials didn't throw a flag. My player had a concussion and they had the ball. I asked an official to come over so we could discuss it, and he just told me to shutup (I was not yelling, or even raising my voice). He refused to discuss it with me. I just wanted to ask him if he saw the fair catch signal. But he wasn't having it.

There was another semi-final playoff game, we were tied 0-0, with about a minute left in the half, and just received a punt on our own 10 yard line. The other team was out of timeouts, so I had our QB take 3 knees. I asked the ref how much time was left, and he said 48 seconds??? I was incredulous, how could we only run off 12 seconds in 3 plays, with no timeouts. I asked him for an explanation, and he said because it's "10 minute stop time". Apparently he thought that meant that the clock stops after every play, regardless of the result of the play. It suddenly made sense why the other game was finished, and we were not even to half time yet. We punted and they ran the punt back for a touchdown. We lost 7-0.

Those are just a couple examples of officials not knowing the rules, or application of the rules, and I wanted to do my part to make it better.

I will freely admit, there was a lot that I didn't know. When I first started officiating, I would write down questions that I didn't know the answer to, on a 3 x 5 card. Any time I wasn't certain of the rules, i'd write it down, and look it up when I got home. When I first started, I couldn't get through a game without filling up the card. It's been 23 years, while I rarely have to write anything down anymore, some things still come. You darn near have to be an attorney to understand some of the rule applications. I still struggle with some of the PSK rules. There's a foul before the kick, and foul after the kick, and a foul after first touching, and a turnover... yikes. There's some rule applications I'm glad never came up.

I'll throw this one at you.

Team A faces a 4th and 2, from their own 28, and lines up to punt the ball. A punts the ball high in the air, but it only travels about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage to the 33, R touches the ball, and it bounds back behind the line of scrimmage to the 23. A picks up the ball, throws a pass down field, but it's dropped and incomplete. There are no players ineligibly downfield.

Whose ball? Down and distance from where?

What if the pass was complete to the 27, and they got tackled at the 29?

When my son was old enough, I had him officiate with me, and eventually he had a couple friends that I mentored as well. I really enjoyed those years officiating with my son and his friends. It was alot of fun, and in my opinion, they were among the best officials I worked with.

Unfortunately, it got to the point where the parents, and coaches were so bad, I gave it up. 2 years ago, when I walked off the field at the end of the season, after getting an earful from an irate coach, I was stopped by the director of their league. He was apologizing for the behavior of that coach, however I told him it was my last day ever stepping on one of their fields. So far it's been my last day officiating football in general. I'm sorry to say they got the best of me, but the things they were saying to me, and my team were ridiculous.

I was working with young, first and 2nd year officials, on a 3 man crew. I was wearing the white hat. If i'm working with experienced linemen, I can look away from their responsibilities, and focus on mine. But there are times, because of their inexperience, that I cannot afford to look away from the ball, and watch for other infractions. For example on a kickoff, if I have experienced line men, I might look away from the ball, and watch for low hits below the waist, holding, clipping, blindside block etc. However, because they are relatively new, I don't trust that they may miss a knee touching before the ball comes loose, or a face mask, etc. I don't have the liberty to look around as much or as often. In this case, the coaches were upset that we missed a targeting call, that was well away from the ball. There are 22 kids, and only 3 officials. It's not possible to watch everyone.

They had given up the leading touchdown with 30 seconds left, and I think they were more upset about not getting another 15 yards, then their player getting hurt. But they insults they were leveling at us, was over the top.

The bulk of our games that we were assigned that year, was in that community. We had the same 4 home team coaches half a dozen times each. I can tell you 3 of those 4 coaches, were among the top 5 worst coaches I had had in my 23 years, in terms of sideline demeanor.

In my experience at that level, there are basically 3 types of youth football coaches:

Type 1: This is a parent or coach (often it's a coach who coaches that same team year after year, without even having a player on the team), who knows the game, knows the rules, and is a very good instructor. These coaches, are consistently watching their players for ways they can improve their techniques. They will sub them out, coach them up, and sub them back in. They are also looking for weaknesses in their opponent that they can exploit. They are skilled tacticians. Their teams are almost always above .500. If they ask the official a question, in most cases its because they want to know what the infraction was, and who the player was, so they can talk to that player directly, and coach them up, so they don't continue to make the same mistake. Occasionally they ask for clarity, because the options are not clear, or because they think that the official may have made a mistake in application of a rule (not the flag itself). These coaches very seldom raise their voice. The interaction with the official is secondary to coaching the players. If not way down the list. I LOVE type 1 coaches.

Type 2: This is a parent who volunteered to coach, because there were no better options. That parent doesn't know football very well, and is largely in over their head. It's very difficult for them to get the right number of players on the field, and get them lined up properly, let alone trying to be successful. These coaches have teams that are often winless, struggle to get a first down or two, and may not score a touchdown all year. Sometimes these coaches are angry elves but it largely stems from frustration, and in some cases embarrassment. It's rarely directed at the officials, they're just yelling trying to get their kids where they need them.

Type 3: These coaches are the ones that make officials want to quit. They think their job is to look for infractions that the official isn't calling, and scream about it, on every play. They try their best to influence the officials. You can close your eyes, and easily hear these coaches on every play. THAT'S HOLDING!!! ARE YOU BLIND??? HE'S HOLDING MY PLAYER!!! HOW DO YOU MISS THAT??? As their focus is entirely on the officials, their parents, who often don't know better, join in the circus. Sometimes these types of coaches are wrong, but because they are screaming about it, the parents think they're right. Often these coaches played high school ball 30 years ago, and don't realize the rules have changed. Blindside block is a big one. The definition of a blindside block has evolved over the years. A block that was legal 20 years ago, isn't legal now. Sometimes these coaches think in terms of what they see on TV, which is either college or professional football, and often times there are differences in the rules. For example, in high school, there is no such thing as "uncatchable", when it comes to pass interference. It's either interference or it's not, whether it was catchable or not, is irrelevant. MN in the last couple years just added the "out of the tackle box" rule, with regard to intentionally throwing the ball away. For years you would see it on TV, but it wasn't a rule in high school. So the type 3 coach, who just got flagged for intentional grounding, would be screaming at me "He's out of the tackle box", when it wasn't yet a thing. Encroachment by the defense, is an automatic whistle in high school, where in pro ball they get a free play if there isn't contact. It's things like that that these type 3 coaches lose their mind over. I had a play in that last game i worked, where the punt team had 5 guys in the backfield. After the ball was snapped, their right tight end tried to release, and go down field to cover the punt, and the defensive tackle "blocking him", grabbed some jersey, and was going for a sleigh ride. So there were two off-setting penalties on the play: Illegal formation on the offense, and holding on the defense. The Angry elf on the sideline immediately started screaming at me, that we "can't call Holding on the defense". "The defense can use their hands". There's no such thing as holding on the defense", etc. I try to keep a straight face, but that last one was too much, and made me a laugh a bit. I know I'm not supposed to be listening, but it's ridiculous. Then the parents think he's right, and they all start chiming in.

I'm not one to get into verbal altercations with the coaches. I prefer to walk over, shorten the distance, and lower my voice, so that the parents can't hear the discussion. But I don't have time to walk over to the sideline on EVERY play, which is basically what is necessary with some of these type 3 coaches. I really wish they would just focus on coaching their players. I also don't like to throw coaches out of the game. They volunteer a lot of hours to coach the kids, so I try to avoid ejections.

If you give me film of a type 3 coach, and don't even show me their team, I'm going to guess that most of the time, they are coaching a sub 500 team. Because they are focused on the officials, they are spending less time trying to improve their players techniques, and less time trying to figure out the weakness of their opponents, so they can tweak their attack, and win. it's often these type 3 coaches that are getting flagged for too many men on the field, or they are playing downs with 10 guys. They should be counting their players, but they are too busy yelling at the officials. Players for these types of coaches, also start to buy-in, that they are losing the game because of the officials. I rarely hear complaints from players that play for type 1 coaches, but frequently hear complaints from players of type 3 coaches. Players for type 1 coaches, know that there is some holding that will always be part of football, and that they have to figure out how to play through that. Players for type 3 coaches, tend to quit on the play as soon as any small amount of holding occurs, and they throw their hands up and start looking to the official for a flag/help. Type 3 coaches are crippling their kids. They are inadvertently giving their kids a crutch to lean on, the isn't helping in their development.

Sorry, I'll get off my box now. I will say, that in general, I really enjoyed my 23 years of officiating football. I may get back into it, but I'd probably do high school instead. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing those coaches at least have a pretty good understanding of the current rules, and probably a little bit better control of their emotions.



 
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