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NEC coaches discuss the qualities of a good official

At last week's NEC media day, the conference's 10 coaches took on the topic of officiating and came to a fairly strong consensus.

Farleigh Dickinson coach Peter Cinella and redshirt junior Erika Livermore at NEC Media Day.
Farleigh Dickinson coach Peter Cinella and redshirt junior Erika Livermore at NEC Media Day.
Photo by Ray Floriani.

BROOKLYN, NY - The late Edgar Cartotto, on many occasions, noted that, "in officiating you are expected to be perfect then improve."

Drawing from years as an outstanding official, supervisor and clinician, Cartotto spoke from experience.

Officials are human and thus cannot be perfect. There are certain qualities coaches look for in a good official. At the Northeast Conference (a conference Cartotto served as officiating supervisor for a number of years) Media Day at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the ten women's coaches were all asked for the qualities they look for in a good official. Ten coaches and opinions. Each, interestingly, sharing a common thread in their respective response.

Mary Burke Bryant :"We (coaches) love communication. There are officials who don't want to hear it (coaches' comments). But we want officials to be in the flow of the game and be willing to give comments and communicate."

Sal Buscaglia, Robert Morris: "Consistency. Ee the play and hustle into position to make the call. Communication with coaches is important. A good officiating crew will have understanding of the flow of the game."

Lisa Cermignano, Wagner: "Consistency. That is one of the biggest things we as coaches look for. Be consistent and that should be on a national level. I think officials should understand the players as well."

Peter Cinella, FDU:" Consistency. Be able to be talked to. I might say ‘my post player is being bumped can you look for it'. A lot gets said to officials but we as coaches want solid answers. Be approachable, that is a big thing we look for in officials."

Joe Haigh, SFPA: "A lot of coaches want communication. It is important that officials do not take it personally when we communicate with them. Some referees may respond to you saying ‘you were wrong', when in fact they may not have had the proper angle to judge the play in question. Not being able to communicate leads to frustration on the part of coaches and officials. Calls and good judgment are important as well. Overall, communication is very important. I admire officials who respect the game."
Jessica Mannetti, Sacred Heart: "Be fair. Be a good communicator when questioned. Be consistent across the board. Call the game fairly and consistently and be mindful of the flow. And, very important, don't take the athleticism out of the game."

Beryl Piper, CCSU: "Consistency is a big factor. Various crews especially from other conferences may vary with how the game will be played. Even in three man rotations, one will call it tight and another is more lenient. You want that consistency so when the officials set the tone of how the game will be called we can quickly adjust."

Gail Striegler, LIU: "The willingness to communicate. Some officials will not communicate. Obviously good and bad calls will be made, but as a coach you want the ability to talk to the officials if you have a question."

John Thurston, SFNY: "We want effort at every level. We get some officials working Big East or Atlantic Ten games as well as ours. They may do a Big East game on Saturday and not give the same effort when we get them on Monday. Our games in January and February, in conference, are especially big. Have to say 99% of the officials working multiple leagues do work our games diligently and we do appreciate it."

Bryan Whitten, Mount St. Mary's: " Communication is something we want. The big thing is having a coach get the chance to question or get an explanation on a call. Be consistent, if you call hand checking the first minute do it the last minute as well. Some crews will call a tight first half and loosen things up the second half. Don't change how the game is played at halftime."

Communication and consistency. Interesting how this was a very common theme. One could put this question out among all the coaches in college basketball today and receive a similar opinion. Communication means not explaining every play but a professional response when a situation is questioned. Consistency stems from other factors as hustle getting in position and just taking the game seriously and working hard. As noted, officials are not perfect but the qualities the NEC coaches (and other coaches) look for, constitute a better officiated game.