Speaking technically, 2 is negative number

SIDELINES

January 18, 1995|By PAT O'MALLEY

You can please some of the coaches some of the time, but you can't please all of the coaches all of the time. So it always has been and always will be, though knowing that doesn't make it any easier for many high school officials and referees.

As long as scores are kept, there are going to be differences of opinion among coaches and officials. Coaches have a right to disagree as long as they stay under control.

If they get out of control, they should be penalized, but a relationship of professional respect must exist between the parties. Some are wondering if a new rule this basketball season has jeopardized that relationship by putting more pressure on both sides.

The National Federation of State High School Associations had good intentions when it reduced the number of technicals from three to two (same as the college rule) before a coach is ejected, but instead of reducing friction between coaches and referees, it may have created a more adversarial atmosphere.

Broadneck coach and athletic director Ken Kazmarek said: "Like a lot of things the federation does, it

makes changes just to make changes and many times goes back to the old rule."

As a result of this change, coaches feel more threatened. Now if a coach receives a technical, he must sit on the bench the rest of the game. If he gets up to coach, and many high school coaches prefer coaching their players while standing and pacing, he may receive another technical and be banished.

"I don't see the difference whether a coach is standing or sitting and says something inappropriate," said Annapolis coach John Brady, who was ejected this season for the first

time in 18 years.

"The confident officials who know the rules usually don't give technicals and those unsure of themselves have a tendency to use technicals as a defense mechanism.

"The more experienced guys will listen to you and let it go to a point and usually warn you before teeing you up."

North County's Brad Wilson was ejected in the first period of a game this season and Brady's ejection came in his own Christmas tournament. And there have been several near ejections.

"We only had one ejection last year and it was in a JV game," said Rick Wiles, the county coordinator of physical education.

It's understandable the national governing body wants to curb disputes and unsportsmanlike conduct, but two technicals resulting in an ejection may be too harsh and may only generate animosity between coaches and officials.

"I can deal with the new rule but officials have to handle it properly, not be trigger happy and out to get somebody," said Kazmarek.

0$ When a coach is berating an offi

cial or merely questioning his judgment in an undiplomatic manner, he may get a technical, and human nature sometimes causes the coach to get in the last word and receive a subsequent second technical.

Bill Burroughs, the state rules interpreter for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, has been a high school and college official for 30 years. He likes the two-technical rule.

"Everybody has a different tolerance level, but most officials consider a technical a last resort," said Burroughs, who resides in St. Mary's County. "I've heard both sides on this issue, but the intent is focused on fostering good sportsmanship.

"The head coach's behavior is directly responsible for that of the players and fans. As a general rule, most coaches behave and I like to think that most officials exercise good judgment."

Agreed, but certainly the overall judgment and experience of college officials is superior to that of high school officials. That's why they're working the next level.

The less-experienced high school official needs more space because his judgment might not be as sharp. For him, three technicals work better than two.

In 25 years covering county high school sports, I can't recall a basketball game I covered in which a coach was ejected.

After the game under the old rule, most coaches would forget the two technicals and so would the referees. More often than not, the two parties wiped the slate clean, and that's the way it should be.

There will always be personality clashes in sports, but there is no place for grudges. Now, the coach gets two techs, is ejected, and the tendency to hold a grudge is increased.

Of course, the only answer is for all coaches to behave and all referees to be reasonable and exercise good judgment. Unfortunately, that will never happen and, for now, it's two technicals and see you later.

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