This week, MHSAA officials coordinator Sam Davis explains why sometimes the official farthest away from the action is the one with the best angle to make the call.
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Primary Areas - Listen
In just about every single basketball game ever played, there are times where fans will turn to each other and wonder, “Why did that official make the call when there was another member of the crew that was a whole lot closer to the play?”
The most important thing in all of officiating, and especially basketball officiating, is the angle for an official. There will be many times during the game that the official that is closest to the play actually has the worst look or the worst angle.
Many times the player is going up in the lane for that shot, and the whistle will come from one of the two outside officials because they had the perfect angle to see all the elements of the play and can rule correctly.
February 28: Under the Bus - Listen
February 21: You Make the Call - Listen
February 14: Because They Love It - Listen
February 7: Coach/Official Communication - Listen
January 31: Backcourt Violation? - Listen
January 24: Required Hockey Equipment - Listen
January 17: You Make the Call: 10-Second Clock - Listen
January 10: Tripping in Hockey - Listen
January 3: Sliding in Basketball - Listen
December 27: Stalling in Wrestling - Listen
December 20: Basketball: You Make the Call - Listen
December 13: Basketball Uniform Safety - Listen
December 6: Coaching Box Expansion - Listen
November 29: Video Review, Part 2 - Listen
November 22: Video Review, Part 1 - Listen
November 15: You Make the Call - Sleeper Play - Listen
November 8: 7-Person Football Crews - Listen
November 1: Overtime Differences - Listen
October 25: Trickery & Communication - Listen
October 18: Punts & Missed Field Goals - Listen
October 11: What Officials Don't Do - Listen
October 4: Always 1st-and-Goal - Listen
September 27: Unique Kickoff Option - Listen
September 20: Uncatchable Pass - Listen
September 13: Soccer Rules Change - Listen
September 6: You Make the Call: Face Guarding - Listen
August 30: 40-Second Play Clock - Listen
August 23: Football Rules Changes - Listen
Separated by 527 travel miles – whether over Mackinac Bridge or around Lake Michigan, the Novara family celebrated nearly parallel football successes this fall.
At Portland, John Novara completed his 25th season as head coach leading the Raiders to a 12-1 record – their best since finishing Division 5 runner-up in 2018, and a second-straight Capital Area Activities Conference White championship on the way to reaching the Division 4 Semifinals.
At Kingsford, fifth-year coach Mark Novara led the Flivvers to a 10-2 record – their best since posting the same in 2004. Kingsford shared the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper title and won a Division 5 District title, its first District championship since 2009.
John Novara graduated from Iron Mountain in 1989, and younger brother Mark graduated from Kingsford in 1993.
Similarly parallel, both teams were quarterbacked by Novaras. Dominic Novara directed the Raiders’ attack, and cousin Nic Novara led the Flivvers. Both are juniors. (Mark Novara was a Division III All-American at quarterback at Lakeland College in Wisconsin.)
One more connection: Portland athletic director Kevin Veale quarterbacked the Iron Mountain teams with John Novara as tight end long before they worked together downstate. Veale’s nephew Garrett Veale was a standout two-way lineman for Mark Novara and Kingsford this fall.
Small gesture, memorable connection
Dante DeGrazia’s senior season was sadly short-lived this fall, as he suffered a season-ending injury during the first half of South Lyon East’s opening game against White Lake Lakeland at Michigan Stadium.
But an official provided a memory the DeGrazias will not forget.
Chris Curtis had begun his 16th season as an official earlier that day at U-M, and stuck around to watch the Lakes Valley Conference matchup. A month later, he was officiating the East/Warren Mott game, and made sure to check in with DeGrazia – a small gesture, but a meaningful one as well and another reminder of the interconnectedness of communities within educational athletics.
“When he heard my son wasn't able to play anymore, needed surgery and that he was a senior, he offered him kindness and a hug on the field,” Dante’s mother Dana DeGrazia wrote to East athletic director Greg Michaels. “As a parent whose son is going through a rough time dealing with losing his senior season, hearing this story from Dante means a lot to me and the support that was given to him and I wanted to reach out and tell him thank you.”
PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford football coach Mark Novara, far left, quarterback Nic Novara and Portland coach (and uncle) John Novara celebrate the Flivvers' District title. (Middle) South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game. (Photos courtesy of the Portland football program and DeGrazia family, respectively.)