Most coaches like to think they can officiate a basketball game better than a referee. John Moore is one guy who can speak from experience.
Moore, 37, was the varsity coach at Laguna Hills High School for seven years. He resigned last year to become a referee. He said the transition hasn't been that difficult.
"Officiating has been everything I hoped for," Moore said. "I haven't had an incident. In fact, I haven't called a technical this season. I've had a couple kids from a losing team tell me that I called a good game."
Moore first became interested in officiating as an assistant at Loyola High in Los Angeles. He said the knowledge of the rules made him a better coach.
"I started going to the officials' meetings just to get to know the rules," he said. "I spent 18 years in coaching, and I would like to think by going to those meetings, I learned more about the game."
Moore estimated he earned $1,500 as a coach and says he's earning the same amount as an official, although it will take him 50 games at $30 each to match that figure as a referee.
"My wife has gone to a couple of games, and she's my biggest critic," he said. "As a ref, I'd like to fade into the wall. But as a first-year ref, this has been better than I had hoped it would be.
"I think I know where the ball is going, although I can't anticipate completely. I'm having fun and I don't take anything personally."
Moore attended two summer clinics and says his most difficult games are the ones when nobody is sitting in the stands.
"I try to remain faceless and colorless," he said. "The toughest games to work are the JV games where there's nobody in the gym. The first thing I learned in this business is to try and do anything to stay out of trouble."
Moore said that referees don't "look that bad to me" on the high school scene. He also said there's "an air of confidence" surrounding the best officials.
"I started working with Booker Turner (a Pacific 10 Conference referee) and he always had the look of confidence. He would come to a game dressed well and had this feeling of confidence that drew respect from the coaches. I have tried to emulate him. I think I've been accepted."
Moore became accepted last summer working games in the Dana Hills Summer Tournament. He also officiated scrimmages for Irvine and San Clemente, former South Coast League rivals.
"I never heard a coach say, 'I don't want him' and never hope I do," he said. "I don't think I'll ever work a South Coast League game. The first time I became conscientious of doing a game was the Estancia Tournament, and I didn't get a complaint there.
"I had a Saddleback College game and their coach, Bill Brummel, made the team stay and practice after the game. It was Christmas time, and I felt for those kids. It made me think as a coach. But I knew I called a good game."
Moore has officiated for seven years, beginning in the Long Beach Assn. under CIF Southern Section assistant Dean Crowley. He said the switch to stripes was long overdue.
"The games and the partners I've had to work with have been better than I would have hoped," he said. "Sometimes, I wonder if I should have done this three years sooner."
Prep Notes The winter meeting of the Orange County Athletic Directors' Assn. is scheduled for 7 tonight at the Anaheim Stadium Club. The organization will salute soft drink executive Charlie Seaver, who has provided the trophies for CIF Southern Section champions and the most valuable players of the nine county leagues over the years. Guest speaker will be Dr. Chris Jordan, who will discuss the role of the team doctor. . . . Valencia running back Ray Pallares and El Modena lineman Don Gibson were named the offensive and defensive Players of the Year by television station KDOC (Channel 56) of Anaheim. The players' school booster clubs were presented $1,000 scholarship awards by In-N-Out Burger. Pallares, the leading rusher in state history, has planned trips to Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach. Gibson will visit USC, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and Nebraska. . . . Linemen Gibson and Lance Zeno of Fountain Valley and quarterback Scott Stark of Capistrano Valley have been named to Cal-Hi Sports 1985 All-State football team. Santa Ana running back Robert Lee was named the Sophomore of the Year by the same publication. . . . Former county baseball stars Bryan Beals (Sonora) and Vince Shinholster (Loara) are expected to be in the starting lineup when Arizona State plays host to Cal Poly Pomona in its season opener on Jan. 31. Beals, a sophomore, will start at second base and Shinholster, a transfer from Cypress College, will start at third base.