Certifying both Head Coaches is a critical step of the pre-game and must be completed before every game. Essentially, the coaches’ certification assures the crew that all players have legal equipment and will wear it properly.
The crew speaks with one voice: the Referee does all of the talking, except for when the other crew members introduce themselves. Should the coaches ask for clarification on a rule, let the Referee answer. This establishes a clear chain of command to each coach, and shows that the crew is unified with the Referee in charge.
The certification steps listed later can be completed in any order, but you are required to ask each coach:
“Coach, do you certify that all of your players are legally equipped by rule?”
The School Employee Head Coach And Community Coach:
The GHSA mandates that all head coaches be school employees. However, it is often the case that the community coach who is the de facto head coach of the team. They will know the game plan, the captains, call time outs, and have questions for the officials. But be sure to certify the school employee and work with the community coach.
For GHSA-sanctioned Varsity games only, a school employee is required to be the Head Coach certified by the officials. The GHSA 2018-2019 White Book (2.52 a) defines the Community Coach as:
a person who does not have a professional-level certification, who relates in role and function to a professional and does a portion of the professional’s job or tasks under the supervision of the professional, and whose decision-making authority is limited and regulated by the professional. Community coaches are not allowed to function without the immediate supervision of an educational professional and may not assume any of the duties of a varsity Head Coach or be named by the school as a varsity Head Coach. [our emphasis].
If you do not know if the coach you are about to certify is a school employee you must first ask: “Are you a school employee?” If the coach answers in the affirmative, then you may finish the certification. This rule is in place to cover various legal requirements that all GHSA-sanctioned Varsity teams must abide by.
What Does the Coach Agree to?
The head coach confirms, per Rule 1.11.1 a-e NOTE, to the Referee and crew that all players:
a. Have been informed what equipment is mandatory and what constitutes illegal equipment.
b. Have been provided the equipment mandated by rule.
c. Have been instructed to wear and how to wear mandatory equipment during the game.
d. Have been instructed to notify the coaching staff when equipment becomes illegal through play during the game.
e. Have had their crosses, uniforms and all other equipment inspected by the head coach for meeting specifications.
The pregame equipment certification by the head coach acts as the team warning. If you start any game without an affirmative answer from each Head Coach, you and your crew may be criticized in the event of a player injury due to illegal or improperly worn equipment.
You must complete this step every time.
Certify The Home Team Head Coach First:
- Introduce yourself and give the coach a good, firm hand shake.
- Referee asks: “Coach, do you certify that all of your players are legally equipped by rule?”
- Affirmative Answer – This coach is certified (hand the coach the certification card).
- Negative Answer – The game cannot begin!
- For the captain’s numbers (all officials should write these down on their scorecards).
- For the in-home’s number (the first or last player listed in the book who is also a starter in the game).
- If there is anything about the field that you need to know about?
- Confirm the start time (ask if the scoreboard is counting down to game time or five minutes prior to game time)
- Will there be a national anthem and when will it begin
- Will be player introductions or a recognition ceremony, Senior Night etc…
- If “Yes”, ensure that they occur early enough to start the game on time
- Tell coach when you will call for captains
- Use the game clock (“I’ll call captains with 5 minutes left on the game clock”)
Get this out of the way early; coaches are trying to prepare their teams to play
This is a great time to set the tone of your interactions:
- Coach if you have a question, we will be sure to get you an answer.
- Coach, I would appreciate it if you could keep the players out of the coaches box today.
- Coach we are here to do a good job for you today.
- Finally, ask if the coach has any questions and wish them good luck.
Certify The Visiting Team Head Coach Next:
Repeat steps for Home Coach Certification
Let the visiting coach know about the anthem, field condition, special halftime events etc…
Do not certify a Head Coach who tells you that they are not a school employee in a GHSA-sanctioned Varsity game.
These cards are provided to officials who are Referees at the beginning of the season. They are printed in color with the GLOA shield logo, on card stock and shrink wrapped in packs of fifty.
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