Jim Sibbet joined the San Diego County Football Officials Association in 1966 and the Association has never been the same since…meaning that he has made a lasting contribution that continues to grow now and into the future.
Whenever one would meet Jim in the official’s association, they would soon learn once and forever how to spell Jim’s last name as he would announce for you to forever remember…”Two Bs and One T”. That was just one of the thousands of sayings and stories Jim would share with new officials in an honest effort to help them feel comfortable in this new organization, and to teach them valuable lessons that would help them throughout their officiating career.
Jim Sibbet not only quickly became an accomplished official, he rose through the ranks to become a crew chief, which is the referee position on a crew, which is really the single most important position within the association. If you were lucky enough to be on Jim Sibbet’s crew, you would benefit from watching Jim work, learn from his tutelage, and have tons of just pure fun. Once while working with Jim as our referee, Brad Griffith from Mira Mesa HS was coaching his very last game and was known to be a handful when he disagreed with a call. So at this point, Brad was upset and on the field right in front of Jim. Now normally this would be cause for an immediate ejection, but seeing that Jim was a good friend of Brad’s and knowing what Brad was up to, I heard Jim explain, “Look Brad, I know you’re trying to get kicked out of your last game just so you can tell the story, but I’m not going to be the referee who kicked you out when you retell this story 4,000 times. So forget it and go back to your sideline” Coach Griffith was shocked and, with a slight grin, went back to the sideline.
Jim then became an instructor, assigned to teach the 1st year officials. This is an important position that Jim was particularly good at. You see, on the one hand, some new officials believe they already know everything. And on the other extreme a new official may have absolutely no clue, and no talent. Jim had to instruct both extremes plus all of those in the middle. Again, Jim was kind, patient, and supportive of these mostly fragile egos trying to learn a new set of rules and movements within a brand-new culture. You were lucky if you had Jim Sibbet as an instructor as he would mentor you along, share important tips, and again, remind you to just have fun.
Jim’s talent and diplomacy served him and the Association well as he became an active board member, and for 15-years was our Assignment Secretary. Now you may not know about how challenging and difficult it is to make sure every one of our 250 officials is where they are supposed to be on a Friday night, let’s just say that the job of assignment secretary definitely belongs on the TV show. “Dirty Jobs.” And Jim handled it with ease, calm and charm.
I know that all of what is said here can, and will be, corroborated by the San Diego Track Officials Association as Jim has been honored for all of his officiating accomplishments over and over again, in both sports. Jim Sibbet has been honored by the San Diego Chapter of the National Football Foudation as the Official of the Year in 2007, then in 2008 was inducted into the San Diego Sports Officials Hall of Fame, and finally, the highest award and recognition possible in our avocation, was honored with the George A Schutte Memorial Award in 2013.
Jim Sibbet was a friend, a mentor, and a heck of an official. The San Diego County Football Officials Association has lost a bit of it’s soul, but we will forever be thankful for Jim’s contributions and we are a much better association because we had Jim Sibbet as one of our leaders and officials on the field. As you can tell, we loved Jim Sibbet and will miss him greatly.
Jim's Nomination into California Coaches Association