Ed Rush vs Sean Miller Epilogue, A Voice for Officiating, A Word on Coaches


February 21, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon reacts to an officials call during the game versus the Miami Hurricanes at Comcast Center. Maryland beat Miami 75-70. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

So yesterday I ran an article on the Ed Rush situation trying to explain what happened from a different view, an officials’ view. I figured not a lot of people (if anyone) would agree with me and I knew that the response would be somewhat crass in general, which is more or less exactly what I got from the people that put a comment on it. I assume most others rolled their eyes and left the page in at least minor disgust at my objectifying of the situation. You can read the article and the couple of comments HERE if you happened to miss it.

The response was not only crass however, it was also personally demeaning to my ability to see the situation properly because of my “level of experience” in the field which I am in (again high school Varsity, Regional level officiating, at the moment). For more context, I went to school with and have always been very good friends with a certain Pac-12 basketball official and his family. As well I have had multiple personal and “business” conversations with other highly decorated officials within the conference and from around the nation and even been tutored by a few of the very best officials and mentors in the college game today. I haven’t made it yet because I wasn’t ready in experience the first time I tried, it costs a crap ton of money to attempt and it is a loaded field. I’m not an absolute source of knowledge, never said I was and never try to be. Like you, I try to learn something new every day in my craft, that’s basically it. I do however have some experience in the field and am aspiring to do more in it if things bounce the right way in the near future. 

I just want to say Thank You to the couple of you who called me out and the many more who rolled your eyes, not because I want to rub it in your face, but because it proves my point of objectivity in this field we call officiating. Again, this isn’t about me, it’s about objectivity in the field of officiating. Some time yesterday evening, my instincts and basic understanding of how the situation works in a basketball arena were overwhelmingly backed by someone who most certainly DOES HAVE the wisdom, knowledge, experience and credentials to incur no flack when he makes a decision to keep Ed Rush as his Coordinator of Officials. For exactly what Pac-12 lead man Larry Scott has been saying over the past 24 hours, please read the Bryan Fischer report “Separating Facts from Perception in the Ed Rush Controversy.” It also states the reasons (of which I had really no idea yesterday but correctly assumed) why there was a “T” given to Miller, and then Howland a day later.

If you just read that report or have read similar pieces, you know Rush’s comments in this case were taken highly out of context and thrown into the spit fire of national media. Granted, they should have been left in his mouth before they should have been said, but the point is that objectivity from a somewhat experienced source is better than throwing gasoline on a camp-fire when you have no experience in the field at all. You also know now that I wasn’t off base when pointing out that everything “wasn’t as it seems” in that room of officials, I’ve been there.

A comment was made to me that Sean Miller is almost “too easy going” of a coach, and maybe that’s true among the Zona faithful. Maybe his tirades don’t live up to the legend of Lute, or any of the other Wildcat legends that came before him, or even to that of Miller’s personal mentor Rick Pitino. Nevertheless, they are a thousand times worse than what you think. Personally, I thought Tony Bennett to be one of the most gentle going coaches in the league when he was at Washington State, but I tell you I saw and heard him UNLOAD on multiple officiating crews at halftime and in spurts during the game from the upper level of Beasley Coliseum. I think he won a lot of games that way.

It’s simply impossible to understand unless you’ve been an official and actually dealt with the constant badgering of a coach while trying to decipher what you have to take, what you need to take and what you can take in the way of verbal abuse. But at that level of college athletics (the higher levels of Arizona and UCLA and Kansas, etc, and even if you want to win here at WSU), there’s a very fine line between acting the part and being the part and coaches know the line. If you aren’t “acting” the part but still getting after the officials and prodding to get every call in an attempt to win the ballgame, you aren’t going to be around long enough to pay your next house bill. I believe part of Ken Bone’s passion towards the end of the season on the sidelines and directed at the officials is part of what saved his job.

You can’t be a Bobby Knight or a Mike Rice and stay around in this game anymore (or maybe you can, come on Rutgers do the right thing), but you damn sure better get after somebody. I’m just saying high school coaches take their shots at officials in an effort to win and they test your integrity, knowledge, judgement and personal fortitude when they do it (which is to say they flat get after you as a person of interest in their efforts to win). College coaches get paid a dump-load more money to NOT lose and they are given a thousand times more leeway, so you do the math. Officials have a most difficult job and they take a lot more abuse than what you see being dished out from your tube.

But again, I’m not imposing Miller or any other coach is a bad guy (ok Mike Rice is a BAD guy, but I mean inherently without prior knowledge), just that on the court during a basketball game there are things you can’t see as a fan that are going on. So be a little bit more objective if you will when you hear things about officials or their coordinators. Get all the facts before running a guy under the bus for a comment that was so clearly taken out of context and then so clearly motivated for an alternate outcome when you “read inside the lines” (oh yes, I saw and mentioned that in my piece as well before Larry Scott brought it up and confirmed that is likely what happened).

The facts are all right there in Fischer’s article and as I thought when I objectified the situation originally, there was a pretty harsh misunderstanding. However, if Rush gets fired before next season because there is this growing feeling of irreparable damage, I understand that as well. Again, I agree that those comments were incredibly misplaced.