Peter Webb, who is the coordinator for trainers and rules interpreters for the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO), recently was invited to share information about his organization to officials in the Rockford area;
Maybe other officials associations in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois should listen to what Webb has to say.
Why? The crisis in officiating is getting worse--even the Illinois High School Association concedes there is a lack of numbers in virtually every sport--and something needs to be done on several levels--recruiting, education, training and pay.
Webb, who served as an official for 38 years, coordinates the nearly 200 trainers and rules interpreters around the country for IAABO, an 85-year-old organization whose roots are planted firmly on the East Coast, Colorado, St. Louis and Cleveland. It has a worldwide membership of 15,000 officials, most in the United States.
The primary focus of IAABO is on high school basketball. Its function is to recruit, educate and train officials. Webb claims lack of basketball officials isn't a problem in his areas but there is a lack of qualified officials in football, baseball, soccer and other sports.
IAABO has a slight membership in Illinois and Gary Gullett, who represents some officials associations in the Rockford area, invited Webb to share information about his organization to officials in his area. Gullett said he was interested in giving IAABO more of a presence in his area.
"In our strong regions, IAABO has a close relationship with the state association," Webb said. "Officials are taught from the beginning that they are part of educational process, that they are in it with the schools. It is a professional package that the officials bring to the schools."
Webb said he was fortunate to absorb IAABO's brand of training when he was a young official in Bangor, Maine. He had one-on-one training with John Nucatola, often described as the father of modern-day basketball officiating mechanics and a past president of IAABO. In fact, 11 IAABO products have been inducated into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"We love to have our story told," Webb said. "Our mission is to serve the game and the schools that have a need."