Joe Duncan’s Funny Stories from the Sidelines as a Big 10 Football Referee

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer


While we are on the playing field of this game called life, we try to be in control. We give commands, make our own calls, and judge one another. We forget you are ever present on the sidelines, leading us, guiding us, and helping to call the plays. Help us to remember that no matter what quarter we are in in our lives, you are there with us through it all.



  • Greg Griffin announced that there are 311 days until the tree lot opens. He thanked everyone who helped in 2022 and gave a special thank you to all the team captains. Karl Frydryk said total sales was $93,000 and the net profit was $41,000.
  • Erin Laurito, co-chair of the Got Talent Contest, said the committee is looking for additional members. Email her if you want to help.
  • Debe Dockins, co-chair of the social committee, said that a Euchre party is planned for February and a Kentucky Derby Party in May. She asked if anyone knows of a place to hold the event. They hope they can find a neighborhood clubhouse of a member.
  • Ron Thompson announced that he and Megan Dalton, the co-chair of the Oratorical Contest, need three judges and a timer. The event will be held at lunch on 2/7/2023 and 2/21/2023.
  • Donna Huss announced that the St Leonard Club is holding a food drive for South Community Mental Health. To help them she is asking CNO members to please bring 1 or 2 non-perishable goods to a Tuesday lunch on January 24th,, 31st or February 7th. Carol Smerz and Mike Bevis will accept the items and get them where they need to go.
  • Bill Stone, the Governor of the Great Ohio District of OI, announced that the next district conference will be held on February 10th and 11th. The theme is Mardi Gras and there will be a party where you are encouraged to wear your favorite costume and beads. On Saturday will be an Ohio Exposition of various district clubs showcasing the special events, contests and fundraisers they hold.

Happy Birthday Barbara Santo

Today was Barbara Santo’s birthday. Thanks to Barbara who sets up the Birthday table each month with a tasty confection. Barbara had a triple day: on her birthday she was sang to, she sat at the birthday table, and President Beth Duncan gave her a birthday sash to wear.

Note that Bob Duffy led us in singing Happy Birthday. Thanks, Bob, for toughing it out with our low singing skills.

Have a great year, Barbara!

Joe Duncan – Funny Stories from the Sidelines, Big 10 Football Referee

Introduction by Beth Duncan

It is my pleasure to introduce our speaker today.  If he does a good job, then I will claim him as a relation but if he doesn’t then, well, he isn’t my big brother. No pressure Joe! 

Joe Duncan, our speaker today, has officiated football for 36 years out of which 27 years was as an NCAA official.  He also officiated Arena Football for 10 years. 

He has quite the resume of Post season games including the following:

  • The Las Vegas Bowl
  • The MID American Championship
  • The Arena Bowl
  • The Gator Bowl
  • The Eddie Robinson Classic
  • The Cotton Bowl

He was also an Ohio High School football rules interpreter and he served as an assignor of officials in the western Ohio League. 

He is in the Ohio High School Officials Hall of Fame and Joe shares that honor with his dad (my dad too but it’s not about me…) as one of 3 Father-sons to be in the Hall of Fame!

Joe will Share some funny stories about players and coaches so no sleeping because he has a whistle and knows how to use it.  Also, you will notice there are some flags on the tables so at the end if you have questions and/or just have always wanted to throw a flag at an official, well, there you go! 

Let’s give a big Optimist welcome to Joe Duncan….

Stories From the Sidelines – High School

Joe Duncan started off saying that Centerville has been blessed with great coaches.

During a game before Joe had a dinner scheduled with a friend who was one of the coaches, the coach disagreed with a call, and he told Joe that dinner was off in no uncertain language. When the friend’s team won, he said I guess it is OK, you can come to dinner since the call didn’t matter now.

Bob Greg, a coach from Stevens High School, complained at a game with Centerville that Joe was the only referee that ever called a penalty for an illegal block below the waist on his team. Joe took it as a compliment.

Joe called pass interference against Moeller. Coach Jerry Faust, who was also the area’s athletic director, went to the referee locker room at half time. Coaches are not supposed to go there during a game. Faust said he was not there as a coach but rather the athletic director. He just kept complaining. A few days later Faust called Joe and said he watched the film and it was a good call. Joe called someone who wouldn’t believe that Faust apologized. He told Joe that Faust calls every official he is mad at in case he gets them in the playoffs.

Once a coach argued that the other team had not scored a touchdown on a play. After an extensive argument, Joe finally asked the coach if he gets the newspaper in the morning. The coach responded yes. Joe told him to read it in the morning and it will say it was a touchdown.

Stories from the Sidelines – College

Note that Joe kept his language family friendly since his mother was a guest at today’s lunch.

Joe’s first college game to referee was University of Dayton vs Butler. Fellow referees as a gag gave him a half roll of toilet paper before the game and told him to hold onto it since he might soil himself. The Butler coach was in on it, and they all laughed and laughed.

After halftime at a game where Ohio Northern was up 34 to 0, the coach said his players said the losing team was holding on every play and Joe wasn’t calling it. Joe said, “Well you’re winning 34 to nothing so they must not be holding very well.”

At a Georgetown game the coach was not happy with referee calls and finally exclaimed, “Where did they find you guys? You’re terrible.” Joe explained, “Well all the good referees today are officiating at games where the teams are good.”

Stories from the Sidelines – Big 10 Stories

There was a nighttime game in Nebraska with coach Joe Paterno who had some years on him. Before the game Paterno was nowhere to be found. They finally found Paterno sound asleep on his desk.

Lou Holtz, the famous Notre Dame coach, was known as “The Master of Intimidation.” Referees before the 9/11 tragedy could park their cars right next to a special entrance for them at the stadiums. To let the referees know that they were in Holtz’s house he locked the fence blocking the special entrance. The referees essentially had to walk around the entire stadium. During the game fans thought at one point that Holtz was just reading Joe the riot act. The camera was behind Holtz and he was bobbing his head all over the place. Joe’s father even called him after the game to find out what all the fuss was about. Joe told him we were actually having a very friendly and polite conversation of small talk. Holtz even started off the conversation with a heartfelt, “Welcome to South Bend.” Joe’s father showed him the video tape and it indeed looked very contentious. Turns out Holtz was just trying to create the illusion of issues for the fans in the stands and on TV.

Joe was a referee for the Ohio State v Michigan Game games in 2002 and 2003. Once he made a pass interference call in the endzone against Michigan. The Michigan coach insisted that Joe tell all the other referees he doesn’t like any of them, which Joe did. Later the coach asked Joe if he had done as requested and Joe had. Th coach said, “I wish you had not done that because I viewed the replay and the call was good, I’d like to get better calls in the second half.”

Referees get two tickets to games they officiate to give to family and friends. Joe had family at a Notre Dame v Purdue game. After a call in the endzone fans didn’t like, the people behind Joe’s family knew who they were and feigned being outraged. They said, “Someone should kill the referee and all of his family!”

Thank You

Thank you, Joe Duncan, for sharing your funny stories from being a referee. Hopefully you can come back another day since you didn’t make it halfway through your list.

Welcome Guests!

GuestGuest Of
Bill DuncanBeth Duncan
Cadance LowellBill Williams
Faye DuncanBeth Duncan
Fred CramerTerry Lewis
Gina DuncanBeth Duncan
Gina SmithMike Bevis
Ginger RossStan Fronzaglia
Jim SmerzCarol Smerz
Joe DuncanSpeaker
Kendal CookeBarbara Santo
Matt DixonCasey Dixson
Scott MaysSteve Mays
Sergii ChernyshevBlanca Ortiz
Ted NorbutLynne Reilly
Tony HaleyBob Lawson
Pete TinsleyKelly Stone
Laurie TinsleyKelly Stone
Greg HoffbauerDebe Dockins

New Member Readings and Inductions

NameSponsor1st 2nd 3rd Reading or Induction
Glen BrendelErin Laurito Staugler1st Reading
Cadance LowellBill Williams1st Reading

Happy Bucks

No time for Happy Bucks this week.

Sergeants at Arms

No time for Sergeants this week.

Membership Anniversaries

Dick LeeJanuary 18, 20176
Pam MillerJanuary 18, 20176
Lynne ReillyJanuary 18, 20176
Morgan SchiffhauerJanuary 18, 20194
Deb UlrichJanuary 18, 20176
Gary DeMarcoJanuary 20, 20167
Casey DixonJanuary 20, 20212
Doug FlandersJanuary 20, 20212
Jeff KujawaJanuary 22, 20158
Mike YoderJanuary 22, 20149
Mike KistlerJanuary 23, 20203
Kristen MarksJanuary 23, 20203
Debbie ParksJanuary 23, 20203
Bill ShislerJanuary 23, 20203
Julie ShislerJanuary 23, 20203
John ThompsonJanuary 23, 20185


Lisa MaciejewskiJanuary 17
Barbara SantoJanuary 17
Myron RheaumeJanuary 20
Gary SmigaJanuary 21

CNO Donations – 2013 through December 2022

Click here to see a summary of donations the club has made since 2013

Thank You Notes Received

CLICK HERE to see the Thank You Notes the Club Received this week

A Copy of this Week’s Meeting PowerPoint Slide Deck is here

All Photos taken at this Week’s Meeting are here

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