August 5, 1997 in Sports

Officially, Need Is Critical Area Schools Join In Recruiting Sports Officials

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Through the years, area high schools and officials associations have had their differences, but today they are banding together to try to avert a building crisis.

There are not enough sports officials to meet the needs of school and youth leagues.

“It is critical,” District 7 secretary Russ Brown said. “(It affects) mainly our junior high-middle school level and some of our freshmen. We’ve got some darn-good officials out there in all sports, but we need some fresh blood.”

District 7 represents all schools except those in the Greater Spokane League in Eastern Washington from just south of Spokane to Canada.

“All athletic directors are concerned about that,” Randy Ryan, the new secretary for District 8 (the GSL), said. “We’re more fortunate than others in that we’re in a big city. In outlying areas sometimes they have to do their own games … but bottom line, yes, that’s a concern statewide. We’ve all been warned and directed to do whatever we can do help those official associations to recruit.”

There is a shortage in most sports because officials are asked to do all levels of high and junior high school competition as well as youth and adult leagues.

“We’re about as close to a crisis as we can get (in a number of sports) as far as officials go,” said Chic Sale, the assigning secretary for football in the Spokane area. “We can’t get the young people who have been active in athletics interested in officiating. We can go out and get people off the street. If you were to sign up tomorrow and were available, I could have you at a ball game every day of the week … it would take a couple of years to get to (work GSL game at Albi Stadium). … I have guys, especially if they’re available in the afternoons, who work every day.”

“A lot of people work an awful lot. I don’t know if that’s healthy,” said Dan Ryan, the departing secretary of District 8. “When you have people doing more than one game (in some sports) in a night, that’s asking a lot physically and emotionally.”

District 7 has budgeted some money to help officials’ associations recruit. All schools have asked their coaches to encourage former players to sign up. In the meantime, schedules, especially below the high school varsity level, have been juggled to set games when officials can make the games. When it comes to basketball, that creates problems in the gyms because of the number of teams that also need the space to practice.

Although there are a number of reasons why people don’t go into officiating, Brown had two words for the main culprit: verbal abuse.

“Some of our fans aren’t the most hospitable,” he said. “It takes a pretty strong person to do the best job they can for the kids and the fans rip them alive in less than appropriate comments.”

Abuse goes with the territory, but there is much more than that.

“Most of these young people, they’re active, they want to play … and if they’re married, it’s hard to get out of the house every Friday and Saturday,” Sale said.

Brown added, “Sometimes young officials can’t see the forest for the trees, want to move up quicker than they’re ready.”

Whatever the reason, schools are concerned.

“In some cases we’ve had to rearrange schedules, change days, start at different times because many of the officials do work and it’s not always convenient to be there at 4 o’clock,” Brown said. “If we had a large pool it wouldn’t be a problem, but we don’t have a large pool. The associations are doing the best they can. We’re doing whatever we can to help.”

The Inland Empire football association started its weekly Monday meetings this week and will meet through the season. That’s where all officials discuss game situations and new officials are trained. Soccer and volleyball are also gearing up for the fall season.

Dan Ryan, who will start a new job as athletic director at Port Angeles this week, said, “It seems to me, with the growing importance of girls sports, there should be a way to entice those girls to get involved. … We have some great female athletes, especially in the Spokane area, and we would like to see them go into coaching and if not coaching, officiating.”

The football association provides officials for 32 high schools, 33 middle schools and junior highs, Spokane Youth Sports on Saturdays and the Parochial League on Sunday.

“Last year, by mid-season, we were in deep trouble, numbers-wise,” Sale said. “What would happen (if the situation got worse) is we would probably have to tell the middle schools, junior highs, we can’t service them. We can pretty much take care of the varsity, but on Thursday afternoons, I have as many as 25-30 non-varsity games.”

The long-range outlook is distressing if the current trend continues.

“I don’t want to think about that,” Brown said. “It will put high school sports (in jeopardy). … It could be an interesting and depressing dilemma.

“The schools are trying to assist the officials associations by sending them names of people who might be interested.

“Former players make some of the finest officials even in the sports they haven’t played. We want to work to get new blood, not because of the old blood, but we need new blood to increase the pool. The middle school level and freshman level will suffer first.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: OFFICIALS CONTACTS Area contacts for the Washington Officials Association:

FOOTBALL Colville Valley Bob Young 1504 S Adams Rd. Veradale, WA. 99037 509-928-0868

Inland Empire Chic Sale 13504 E. 6th Ave. Spokane, WA. 99216 509-924-1936

S.E. Wash Steve McMillan 1220 NW State, #38 Pullman, WA. 99163 509-332-6801

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL Colville Valley Brian MyersBB/SB P.O. Box 63 Kettle Falls, WA. 99141 509-738-4405

Inland Empire Bob McCullough BB P.O. Box 7596 Spokane, WA. 99207 509-468-4382

Palouse David Dean BB P.O. Box 791 Pullman, WA. 99163 509-332-8996 509-487-3557

Spokane John Isles SB 1517 E. Board Spokane, WA. 99207 509-487-3557

GYMNASTICS Spokane Karen Renner 3809 E. Marietta Ave. Spokane, WA. 99207 509-489-1432

BASKETBALL Colville Valley Bob Young B&G; 1504 S. Adams Rd. Veradale, WA. 99037 509-928-0868

Inland Empire George Chalich B 920 S. McDonald Spokane, WA. 99216 509-891-1922

Spokane Brad King G 11204 E. 20th Spokane, WA. 99206 509-924-3976

Whitman County Robert Richards B&G; 107 North 7th St., Box 94 Garfield, WA. 99130 509-635-1485

SOCCER N.E. Wash Cathy Perry 9704 N. Arrowhead Rd. Spokane, WA. 99208 509-466-4303

VOLLEYBALL Colville Valley Denise Smith 3221 Cottonwood Crk Rd. Chewelah, WA. 99109 509-935-6340

Inland Empire Connie Hoyle P.O. Box 26 Colton, WA. 99113 509-229-3712

Spokane Jack Wilcox 401 E. Magnesium, #136 Spokane, WA. 99208 509-466-8092

WRESTLING Inland Empire Mike Sullivan P.O. Box 10 Colbert, WA. 99005 509-467-6497

Whitman County Terry Cochran Route 1 Box 108 Colfax, WA. 99111 509-397-4371

This sidebar appeared with the story: OFFICIALS CONTACTS Area contacts for the Washington Officials Association:

FOOTBALL Colville Valley Bob Young 1504 S Adams Rd. Veradale, WA. 99037 509-928-0868

Inland Empire Chic Sale 13504 E. 6th Ave. Spokane, WA. 99216 509-924-1936

S.E. Wash Steve McMillan 1220 NW State, #38 Pullman, WA. 99163 509-332-6801

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL Colville Valley Brian MyersBB/SB P.O. Box 63 Kettle Falls, WA. 99141 509-738-4405

Inland Empire Bob McCullough BB P.O. Box 7596 Spokane, WA. 99207 509-468-4382

Palouse David Dean BB P.O. Box 791 Pullman, WA. 99163 509-332-8996 509-487-3557

Spokane John Isles SB 1517 E. Board Spokane, WA. 99207 509-487-3557

GYMNASTICS Spokane Karen Renner 3809 E. Marietta Ave. Spokane, WA. 99207 509-489-1432

BASKETBALL Colville Valley Bob Young B&G; 1504 S. Adams Rd. Veradale, WA. 99037 509-928-0868

Inland Empire George Chalich B 920 S. McDonald Spokane, WA. 99216 509-891-1922

Spokane Brad King G 11204 E. 20th Spokane, WA. 99206 509-924-3976

Whitman County Robert Richards B&G; 107 North 7th St., Box 94 Garfield, WA. 99130 509-635-1485

SOCCER N.E. Wash Cathy Perry 9704 N. Arrowhead Rd. Spokane, WA. 99208 509-466-4303

VOLLEYBALL Colville Valley Denise Smith 3221 Cottonwood Crk Rd. Chewelah, WA. 99109 509-935-6340

Inland Empire Connie Hoyle P.O. Box 26 Colton, WA. 99113 509-229-3712

Spokane Jack Wilcox 401 E. Magnesium, #136 Spokane, WA. 99208 509-466-8092

WRESTLING Inland Empire Mike Sullivan P.O. Box 10 Colbert, WA. 99005 509-467-6497

Whitman County Terry Cochran Route 1 Box 108 Colfax, WA. 99111 509-397-4371

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