Q. You’ve been a volleyball official for 42 years?
Q. How do you get your assignments?
Some of them we do independently. Some of them we go through an Association like the Joplin or Springfield Association.
Q. You have to be up on the rules?
Q. What all do you officiate?
Only volleyball. There’s been a lot of volleyball in my life.
Q. Where all do you go?
I’ve gone as far south as Branson. I’ve gone as far north as Holden. I had a game the other night at Buffalo. As far west as I go is Nevada.
Q. Do they pay you milage?
Usually just milage one way.
Q. How much do they pay to ref a game?
$75 fo a varsity game. $50 for a JV game.
Q. Then you have to stay up on all the rules changes?
Yes. We are required every year to take an on-line rule change test. We used to do it in person, but now it’s on a MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) site.
Q. It surprised me the other night that they won three games.
This year they have to win the best of 3 out of five games. MSHSAA is trying to get close to the college level rules as they can.
Q. Do you spend time on the ladder or are you always on the floor?
We rotate. We decide before the game where we’ll start. The umpire is on the floor and responsible for anything on the floor – foot fault, net faults, illegal substitutions. They are also responsible for the scorer, libero tracker,and timer, plus the lineups and rotation. The referee, the guy up high, is responsible for illegal hits, back row attack, and basically a little bit of everything.They are also the general supervisor of line judges and all the official scores table.
Q. Tell me about the back-row attack. A back-row player can’t come up front and spike the ball?
Correct. It looks like a really easy sport, but you have to memorize all three back-row players every rotation. Normally we are lucky. They only send one player from the back row up. A back-row player (on or in front of the 10 foot attack line) returns a ball that is higher than the net, it is a violation. A back roll player can not participate in a complete block so you have to watch for that also. They can set it and it’s OK, but if it goes over the net, it’s a back-row player attack if contacted above the net.
I had a funny incident this year at Nevada who was playing Clinton. It was Nevada’s first win this year.
The line judge was a Clinton Cardinal player’s mom. Right before the time out I called a back row attack on Clinton. The line judge came over and I said, “That’s my favorite call. The lady said, “It’s not mine. That was my daughter you called it on.” “I said, tell your daughter she made my day.”
Q. And a front row player cannot intercept a serve?
That is correct.
Q. There’s a lot to remember.
Yes, there is. It looks easy but there’s a lot to remember.
I’ve been so lucky in my years of calling, I’ve had some of the best partners in the business. My first partner was Jim Davis, who also called the Missouri State finals. Then I called with Garry Keeling . He was the High School coach at Bolivar and I’d known him a long time. Then I had Rusty Norval until he got sick.
Now I call most games with Pat Garrett, a former coach, a very good official.
The first game I called was with Rick Mumford. Rick made a call that ended the game and one team lost. The losing coach drop kicked a folding chair onto the floor. I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Rick didn’t do anything. The next time we were at that school, Rick asked the coach “How’s your foot?”
Q. And you probably get a lot of help from the fans.
I’m so lucky, I just tone it all out and watch the coach and players. I had a game at Lockwood on night, a few days later I returned back to Lockwood and the principal met me before the game and told me he kicked out a unruly fan my last game. I told him thanks but I had no idea what took place and never knew what happened.
Q. How did you get into it?
Actually Rick Mumford talked me into it. The second year I called had a state quarter final. Then I’ve had six state finals that I called. I’ve had so many quarter finals I lost track.
Q. Do you like it?
Yes, I enjoy it. Fans and players don’t realize that if we don’t show up, they can’t have a game. We basically take off work early and travel to the game.
I got a letter Saturday. They are 10 officials short of being able to cover a tournaments they have Saturday in Springfield.
Q. Why do you think that is?
Some people just want to go home and relax. The pay is fairly good but not great. I talked to a lady who is in the Springfield Association. She said several officials have been quarantined. I’ve had six games cancelled this year. Up until this year, I don’t think I have ever had a game cancelled. A lot of coaches are NOT nice to officials and give them a hard time then they give a bad rating, referees get discouraged and give it up.
Q. Anything else you can think of?
I’ve seen several good players. A girl from Willard, Lori Endicott played on the United State Olympic team. I saw her several times. One of the overall players that I saw who was extremely good was Tonia Hooper. I’ve seen a lot of really good talent come and go. When she played some of the girls on the other side would already have their arm over their face not wanting to get hit by her. El Dorado Springs Bulldogs has some out standing talent on this year’s team which rate towards the top.
Q. Did you ref Stephanie Busby? She was the first one I saw block the ball straight down.
Yes, she was really good. Becky Lipasek, her coach, brought me a picture of me refereeing Becky’s state tournament when she,(Becky Lipasek); was in High School (I don’t remember her team she played for ) but they were the state championship her senior year.
I tell people starting out referring that you turn your whistle upside-down so the noise goes away from your ears. If you look at anything but their hands you are going to miss a call. A lot of times the coach will ask me, “What is the number?” I don’t even look at the number. It looks like I’m not watching. But, literally, I just watch the hands.
Q. Do you call double hits?
The rule book says anytime there is prolonged contact, it is a violation and a player shall not have successive contracts of the ball.
You need to remember, I should not take control of the game. Just want the girls to play and have fun.
The biggest compliment we can get is when nobody knows we were there.
Q, How long are you going to keep calling games?
I’m not for sure. After each game, both coaches rate the officiating crew. “1” is the highest. “2” is OK. “3” is still acceptable. “4” and “5” are bad. Many officials get a “3”or worse,I’m still getting “1” ratings. So I just don’t know.