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The passing of a coach and a teacher

I happened to see where Gary Stamp passed away recently. Stamp had a been a coach and official for many years, with many schools in this area. When I was an official, I always enjoyed working games that Gary was coaching. He was very knowledgeable about the rules, who wouldn't try to one up you on his actual or 'so-called' knowlege of the game (you would be surprised how many coaches would 'invent' rules just to try to show you what they think they know).

It had been announced previously that he was battling cancer, but his friends, family and collegues were hoping against the odds that he would pull through. He had been in remission, and in fact, he had won a 5K (in the 65 and older class) run in September. But as it happens too many times with that horrible disease, it came back with a vegence.

Most of my dealings with Gary came when I was a football official. One experience with him came a few years ago, when he was coaching Tipton. We had a him at Williamsburg, in a week eight game, with the winner qualifying for state playoffs, with the loser being eliminated. There was seven seconds to go, with Tipton ahead 9-7. On third down, Williamsburg decided to try a 38 yard field goal for the win, and the playoff berth. At the snap, the Williamsburg holder jumps up, rolls out, and throws the ball down field as far as he can. The ball is tipped, and batted, finally falling to the ground incomplete. The Tipton bench erupts thinking they won the game. Problem was, there were still two seconds on the clock, and Williamsburg looking at fourth down, with another attempt at a field goal and victory, Stamp, of course, was saying that the timing was and the game should be over. I had no way of knowing, and had no choice but to play it out. Williamsburg lined it up, but missed the field goal badly, and Tipton won. (By the way, I did call the Iowa High School Athletic Association on that play, and was told that the officials need to watch the action on the field, and not the clock. When I called Gary and told him that, he thanked me, but still insisted that the fake field goal took nine seconds, and the clock operator allowed the Raiders a second chance at the win. For years whenever I would see him, we were able to laugh about it.).

One last quick story about Coach Stamp, this time when he was at Lisbon. They were playing Midland (Wyoming), on a rainy night in Lisbon. Midland punted, and the Lion returner took it back for a touchdown. There was however a penalty flag on the play. Not one, but four flags were on the field. When I asked my crew, I found out that we had not one, or two violations, but Lisbon had FOUR separate 'block in the back' violations on that return. As I try to administer the play, Gary wanted and explaination. As I walked over, he said, "Jeff, I think you missed it. There shouldn't have been a flag on that." "I said Gary, we have a lot of choices here. There was one at the 10, another at the 26, at the 42 and down here on the 35. We had four on that play." To that he stopped, smiled, shook his head, threw up his hands and said, "Okay, okay, maybe you got something, but I didn't see it." I told him as I ran away, "Gary, you coaches never see any of those, do you?" He laughed and Lisbon won the game going away.

High School sports wont be the same. Rest in Peace my friend.

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