Officials News

We are looking for additional SDCFOA member photos and stories from the past and present. If you have any photos or stories that you would like to have posted please send them to

Include the names of the officials. 


Photo: Pop Warner photo at University City

Mike Sexton, Don Carey and Mike Carey

SDCFOA Remembering Fellow Members

Jim Sibbet

I am sad to report that long-time member Jim Sibbet passed away peacefully yesterday.

Jim (affectionately known as "One T") joined the Association in 1966 and over the years was a Crew Chief, a College official, a member of the Board and for 15 years was the High School Assignment Secretary (pre-Arbiter days).  If you are not aware, he is Crew Chief David Sibbet's dad.

Jim worked several finals. As a Referee 1987 (D1A) and 1989 (D3A), as an Umpire 1992 (D2A) and 1994 (DIV).

Jim was a George A. Schutte Memorial Award Recipient (2013), San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame Inductee (2008), President of the Association (1981) and long-time San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame Board of Directors Secretary and highly valued mentor to many San Diego County Football Officials Association members.

Jim will be greatly missed.

Nick Herrera

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Nick Herrera who died unexpectedly on Nov. 16, 2022, at the age of 45 in Portland, Oregon. Nick, who was a member of the SDCFOA for 13 years, worked on a junior college crew. He worked the DII final in 2009 and the D1 final in 2013 during his officiating career. He moved to Portland in 2018 to be closer to his wife’s family.

Nick, who had a Ph.D. in microbiology from UCSD, had a passion for brewing beer and recently launched the first Mexican American-owned brewery in Portland. Here’s a recent article about it. Read Article

Nick is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two sons – 5-year-old Cruz and 3-year-old EZ. Nick’s closest friends have organized a GoFundMe page to collect donations for Nick’s family. The goal is to start a college fund for Nick’s boys so they can follow in their father’s footsteps and earn a Ph.D. Please consider contributing here. GoFundMe Page

There will be a celebration of life for Nick here in San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 3. If you would like to attend, please contact SDCFOA and we can get you on the invite list. Contact SDCFOA

Frank Mannen

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Frank Mannen. 

Frank was a SDCFOA member for over 30 years. He was the Referee of the 1995 DII Final and 2003 DIV Final.

He was a crew chief for over 20 years and President in 1992.

Seven Person Mechanics Meeting

Presentation made by Steve Coover to those who will be working the Semi-Finals and Finals in the next two weeks.

Here is the slide presentation by Tom Ables and Steve Coover.

Nut and Bolt - 11/16/22

Congratulations to Steve Coover

Last night Steve Coover received the Bob Breitbard Meritorious Achievement Award at the San Diego Hall of Fame High School Coaching Legends 22nd Annual Induction Dinner.

San Diego County Football Officials Assoc/School Administrator

Steve began his officiating career in 1976 following in the footsteps of his father Chuck Coover who played, coached and officiated football in San Diego County.  During Steve’s 32 years as an official, he was assigned to some of the top games including over 20 CIF semifinals and 6 CIF Championships and 1 State Championship.  He continues to serve as the Instructional Chair for the San Diego County Football Officials Association and is currently the CIF Rules Interpreter for the state.  Steve is a paid observer for several West Coast Football Conferences and the NFL.  He is a retired administrator who served as a Principal in both the La Mesa-Spring Valley and Grossmont Union School Districts.

Steve Coover Acceptance Speech

George A. Schutte Award

Congratulations to Jeff Phillips for being awarded the George Schutte Award for 2022. It is well deserved for his service to the Association. 

Frank Alfano Overtime Award

Congratulations to John Downing for being awarded the Frank Alfano Overtime Award for 2022. 

SDCFOA Banquet

Will be held on 11/2/22 @ 6:00 PM at:

Admiral Baker Club House

2400 Admiral Baker Rd

San Diego, Ca 92124

Steve Coover's Weekly Bulls

See the current Weekly Bull for 11/28/22.


Steve Coover Instructional Videos

Mike Sotelo Celebration of Life

On Thursday September 1st, a Celebration of Life event was held for Mike Sotelo. Mike was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on June 25th. Several members of our Association attended the celebration along with Mike’s friends and family.

We all came together to share stories about Mike and the incredible life he lived. There was music, food, and lots of photos. There was testimony of Mike’s accomplishments, lots of laughter, and lots of crying. Mike Sotelo was a structured and disciplined man. He was a man who cared deeply for his family and a man of faith. He was loyal to his friends and had lots of them.

Mike also knew how to have fun. He was never satisfied with simply accomplishing something. For him, it was all about the experience. He was an avid Charger fan known as “Charger Mike”. As a season ticket holder, Mike attended hundreds of games and accumulated tons of Charger paraphernalia. He loved the team, and he loved our team too.

Mike was one of our most loyal and dedicated officials. We will all remember him for his attention to detail, the times he got knocked down in the middle of the field, and the times he would call for an official’s timeout, only to seek a trainer’s assistance for himself.

On behalf of the San Diego County Football Officials Association, THANKS MIKE! And THANK YOU Sotelo family for bringing us a man who did great service to our Association, the game of football, and our community here in San Diego. I know how proud the Sotelo family is of Michael. And they should be!

Terry Bernard                                                                                                                                                           

SDCFOA President

Junior Garcia starts his 50th season with SDCFOA

Channel 10 News interview

Read News Article

As officials, we know that what we do isn’t easy. It takes a lot of snaps to become proficient at what we do. Even with experience, there is always room for improvement. Always a cause to get better. We have fun and look back proudly at what we have learned and experienced over the years. But sometimes it’s tough. You have a bad game. A coach gives you hard time. Or sometimes the old body just doesn’t feel up to the job on a particular day. It’s fun and it can be rewarding but imagine doing this for 50 years.

This year our own Junior Garcia will complete his 50th year as an official in our Association. 50 years of snaps, flags, whistles, and calls. 50 years of learning, growing, improving, and setbacks. 50 years of leadership, mentorship, friendship, and comradery. This is truly an amazing accomplishment. Junior has dedicated himself to our Association, the youth in our community, and the game of football. He has done it faithfully, competently, and happily for all these years.

When you do positive things for your community, people take notice. Local media has taken notice and came out to see Junior in action on opening night. Please watch Junior in this Positively San Diego segment recently aired on 10 News. On behalf of the entire Association, Thank you Junior! Congratulations on reaching the 50-year milestone. Now, for the good of the Association, get back on the field!    

Terry Bernard                                                                                                                                          President SDCFOA  

Recruitment Interview

If you have any questions, please call Gary Gittelson at Recruitment and Retention Committee.

(619) 431-0459

SDCFOA Welcomes the First Year Class

Welcome to the 50+ first year officials. They were on the field at Del Norte and Francis Parker High School. The 1st and 2nd year instructors along with experienced officials provided on-field training. 1st year officials received 7 1/2 hours of on-field instruction on the first day. They will be taking the field in the next few weeks. 

Good Luck and Have a Great Season!

See Photo Gallery

Position Clinic Videos

2022 Line of Scrimmage Clinic

Line of Scrimmage Video with Clinic

San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame Annual Induction

Here is a story regarding Sal Gambino from the Rancho Santa Fe Review

Sal Gambino and John Ferguson (Instructional Chair and amazing referee) are both being inducted into the San Diego County Sports Officials Hall of Fame on Tuesday September 13th at 5:00pm at the Scottish Rite in Mission Valley.  Ticket information can be found at:

Trying to cope with officials shortage

Credit to both John Maffei and the San Diego Union Tribune for this article.


2022 Football Season Kicked Off

Last Wednesday we had our general meeting. President Terry Bernard and Instructional Chair Steve Coover welcomed everyone back. Former NFL Back Judge Don Carey gave the members a presentation to get the season started.

SDCFOA would like to welcome 32 first year officials. It is not too late to join. We are accepting new officials. Go to our Home Page to register.

All training and instruction provided. 

2022 LCC 7 on 7 Passing Tournament

The LCC 7 on 7 Passing Tournament held last weekend provided training and instruction from the Instructional Chair Steve Coover, former and current NFL officials Mike and Don Carey, Garth DeFelice, Tim Podraza, current and former D1 officials Steve Hoslett, Mike Weseloh and additional college officials Matt Starr, Joe Magnuson, Rob Schaerer and Kyle Takao. SDCFOA would like to thank them for giving back.

See Photo Gallery

Shortage of youth football officials could push high school games to Thursdays and Saturdays

Read Article

Recruitment Video on KUSI featuring Joe Greene

Recruitment Photos

Seeking former football players

Recruitment in East County

Read Article

SDCFOA Remembering Mike Sotelo

It is with great sadness that I must report that one of our own Mike Sotelo has passed away. Mike had officiated for 14 years starting in 2007. He had worked JC football for many years. Please keep his family in your thoughts as they deal with this loss.


Mike passed away June 25th.

SDCFOA in the News

The SDCFOA and its officials have been highlighted many times in the local news, including articles on the association’s efforts to recruit new members, podcast interviews with the instructional chair, and feature stories highlighting notable SDCFOA officials and their accomplishments on and off the field.

July 13, 2021: “Football Officials Association Seeing Shortage in Referees” – KUSI

July 12, 2021: “Referees Sought for San Diego County Fall Youth Football Season” – Patch

July 12, 2021: “Referees Sought for San Diego County Fall Youth Football Season” – Times of San Diego

July 12, 2021: “Referees Sought for San Diego County Fall Youth Football Season” – NBC 7/39

July 12, 2021: “Referees Sought for San Diego County Fall Youth Football Season” – Coast News Group (also appeared in

June 29, 2021: “The SDCFOA Meeting Our Officiating Diversity Deficit Head On” – Voice & Viewpoint

Aug. 4, 2020: “High School Football Seeking Officials to Combat Shortage” – San Diego Union-Tribune

Dec. 11, 2019: “Safety is Priority #1 for San Diego County Football Officials” – U-T Prep Podcast, San Diego Union-Tribune

July 24, 2019: “U-T Prep Report Online: Interview with Steve Coover” – U-T Prep Podcast, San Diego Union-Tribune

Oct. 17, 2018: “Official, 80, Has No Plan to Take a Seat on the Sideline” – San Diego Union-Tribune

July 13, 2017: “Hall of Famer Earned His Stripes as Football Referee” – San Diego Union-Tribune

June 28, 2017: “Military Seen as Hotbed for Recruiting Sports Referees” – San Diego Union-Tribune

June 28, 2016: “Ex-Charger Gets Football Fix as Official” – San Diego Union-Tribune

June 24, 2016: “Football Officials Looking to Increase Ranks” – San Diego Union-Tribune

Sept. 3, 2015: “Former Ref Mike Carey Now Explains the Calls” – Associated Press

June 27, 2015: “Officials Find a Way to Stay in the Game” – San Diego Union-Tribune                      

May 6, 2014: “County Looking for Football Officials” – San Diego Union-Tribune

Feb. 24, 2013: “NFL Referee Mike Carey a Success On and Off Field” – San Diego Union-Tribune

Sept. 16, 2011: “NFL Official Knows He’s Only as Good as His Last Call” – San Diego Union-Tribune


SDCFOA remembers the sacrifice and service of those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. SDCFOA honors the service and sacrifice all members of the military gave to this country.

SDCFOA Remembering Dave Melton

Dave graduated from St. Augustine and was a 5th grade teacher for 32 years. He was a football official for 21 years. He worked in the NCAA from 1980 to 1991 and a Crew Chief for 10 years. Dave was President of the association in 1989.

Dave passed away April 19, 2022

New 2022 College Rule Changes by John McDaid

Congratulations to Mike Carey

Mike is being named the 2022 NFLRA HONOREE. The union recognized Mike for his outstanding NFL officiating career and his service to the NFLRA.  Please join me in congratulating Mike and enjoy this fun and inspiring video! The full press release is also attached. - Steve

SDCFOA Remembering Steve James

It is with deep sadness that I report the passing of Steve James who passed away unexpectedly and heartbreakingly too soon on April 15, 2022 at the age of 64 in Grove City, Ohio.  Steve was one of outstanding crew chiefs and umpires who transferred to San Diego later in life but fit right in with the SDCFOA.  His friendship, leadership, and officiating skills will be greatly missed. He was a crew chief in 2012 for 5 years. Steve worked the 2021 season. 

He worked the 2018 Division III final as an Umpire.

SDCFOA Remembering Fellow Members

Tom Husseman

Tom was an official from 1996 to 2020.

He worked the 2007 and 2009 Division III Final and 2011 Division V Final.

Tom passed away January 19, 2022

Mark Malec

Mark was an official from 1980 to 1999. 

He worked 1986 8-Man Final.

Mark passed away December 27, 2021

Our prayers and thoughts to both families.

NFL Post Season Assignments

Congratulations to SDCFOA members for working the Wild Card weekend.

Tim Podraza will be working the Pittsburgh at Kansas City game on January 16, 2022.

Danny Short will be working the Arizona at Los Angeles on January 17, 2022.

Message from Kevin Haws

January 1, 2022


As my last official act as the outgoing President of SDCFOA, I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the tremendous dedication and leadership each of you provided over this past year.   It was an absolute honor to serve with you and I am very grateful for the support you provided throughout the year. 

We say thank you to two of our outgoing BOARD members, Terry Bernard and Zack Marble.   Terry will be back in his new capacity as our President for 2022.  Also returning as re-elected members are Brandon Chavez and Bob Flavin.  We are really fortunate to have these two experienced members back on the BOARD for an additional three years.  Finally, please join me in welcoming our newest members, Rob Schaerer and David Middleton.  Your presence on the BOARD will be most sincerely appreciated.

I would also like to thank our returning Appointed Officials including Steve Coover - Instructional Chairman, Tom Ables - Assignment Secretary and Ed Zapolski - Executive Secretary.  A big thank you goes to Tony Sands for the great job he has done the past few years as our Treasurer and a warm welcome to Terry Thompson who will be taking over for Tony.

All the best to you and your families for a safe and healthy 2022.  Thank you!

Kevin Haws

Congratulations to the following SDCFOA members for their 2021 Bowl assignments:

Chris Wiggins-Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Michael Mothershed-TicketSmart Brimingham Bowl

Bob Bahne-Orange Bowl

Marlow Fitzgerald-Sun Bowl

Scott Rielly-Sun Bowl

Scott Hoslett-New Orleans Bowl

Well Deserved!

Congratulations to the following Officials that worked the 2021 Finals!

Division Open I II III IV V
Referee Brian Bortness David Garza Scott Countryman Ed Zapolski Mike Downing John Seaman
Umpire Scott Carroll Art Warren Andy Wilson Ron Gillenberg Sam Totah Imperial County
Head Linesman Tony Shaw Charlton Lynch Jacob Wittler Bob Flavin Bill Haws David Duffield
Line Judge John Isham Nathan Thernes Matt Starr Mike Kingsley Branden Chavez John Thur
Field Judge Ted Schiess Gary Gittelson Corey Butts Ben Boccoli George Conley Kyle Takeo
Side Judge Tyler Lindsay Brian Mills Jordan Graves Levi Sumner Kipper Bell David Sibbet
Back Judge Joe Magnuson David Middleton Mark Halby Garrett Haislip Rob Schaerer Imperial County

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2021 CIF Sportsmanship Award 

The SDCFOA Youth Fund, in partnership with the CIF and Commissioners Joe Heinz and Todd Cassen, will be sponsoring a Team Sportsmanship Award this year. 

Each week our crews will be asked to reflect on the sportsmanship exhibited by the teams before, during and after their games.  When a team demonstrates the highest level of sportsmanship, the crew will nominate that team for consideration.  

The winners received a trophy, banner for their gym, and $1,000 which will be presented at halftime of the CIF Open Division championship game. 

See this year's winners!


Congratulations goes out to George Conley for being named The Frank Alfano Memorial Overtime Service Award and to James Inglis for being Rookie of the Year.

Training Videos by Garth DeFelice

Garth DeFelice has provided training video for Back Judges and Running Play Coverages.

Garth is a former NFL Umpire and currently a NFL Supervisor.

SDCFOA would like to thank Garth for his continued support. 

Back Judge 2nd Level Fouls

Running Play Coverage

SDCFOA Remembering Coach Thompson



Coach Chris Thompson of Mira Mesa High School passed away last night. As many of you know, Coach Thompson battled cancer recently and was doing extremely well as was his football team.

God bless his family and the Mira Mesa community as they grieve the loss of one of the greatest Marauders of all time! 

God Bless Chris Thompson! 

Referee Magazine Article by Bob D'Angelo

September 2021

Interview with the President

February 26, 2021

Referee Magazine Covers

Garth DeFelice August 2002

Tim Podraza September 2004

Mike Carey November 2006

Butt-Fumble Play

Featuring Mike Carey


You Tube videos of this play has over 4 million views.

Bill Tellous


It is with deep regret that I inform you of the loss of one of our SDCFOA Hall of Fame members, Bill Tellous.  It is our understanding from the family that Bill died Wednesday morning at home due to congestive heart failure.  The plan for now is for some of his ashes to be spread at crystal pier with family present, but his may take a while due to overwhelmed mortuaries.  We will report any plans to celebrate Bill’s amazing life.  To say Bill Tellous was “one of a kind” is an understatement.  He truly was one of San Diego’s greatest athletes and officials.  Here is an excerpt from his Hall of Fame Bio:

Bill Tellous – Hall of Fame Basketball and Football Official – Class of 2008

Bill played football, basketball, and baseball at La Jolla High School.  He continued basketball and football with a scholarship at San Diego State University.  Bill as active in both the San Diego Basketball Association and the San Diego Football Officials Association where he was the Executive Secretary/ Treasurer for 20 years in the basketball association and 30 years in the football association.  Bill worked all levels in both football and basketball from CIF to NCAA.
As you can tell from the attached photo, if you were a rookie referee and Bill was your umpire, you could do NO WRONG!  He had your back!  God speed, Bill Tellous! - Steve

Bill Tellous letter written to the board regarding the amount of turnback's and possible penalty. He was "One of a kind".

Fathers, Sons and Brothers


Father, Son and Brother family members serving in the San Diego County Football Official’s Association gathered together to enjoy a photo opportunity at the conclusion of this year’s annual SDCFOA Banquet. Recruitment and retention of quality football officials has been a source of strength and long held tradition of our association for many years. Many of these family members have served on Varsity crews together and in several cases, Fathers were instrumental in training their Sons to become successful crew chiefs, following in their Dad’s footsteps.

Left to right (Fathers standing, Sons kneeling)

  1. John Gill and John Gill III
  2. Rick and Jimmy Christensen
  3. Don and Kevin Clay
  4. Richard and Ian Sage
  5. Bob and Mike Duggan
  6. Edward and Sergio Delos Reyes
  7. David and Alec Rios
  8. John and David McDade
  9. Dave and Jim Sibbet (in front)

Way Back row – Brothers
Bill and Kevin Haws
Don and Mike Carey
Bill Tellous (likes the limelight)

‚ÄčNot Present
John and JJ Stavola
Mark and Tyler Lindsay