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The Sideline Whisperer
 
 
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Mark Ferguson
Born in United States. Mark is a grade C3 referee. He lives in Miami, Miami-Dade County.
You may contact him at 305 772 8718 or ahorugger@bellsouth.net.
 
Sir, may I ask you a question?
Updated on 2/22/2013

Tell us a little about yourself: age, place of birth, current occupation.

—Age 56. Born/raised in Greensboro, NC. Retired from Federal Government.

What is you background as a rugby player?

—Appalachian State University (1978/79). Greensboro Nice Boys (1979/80). Savannah Shamrocks (1980/83). Baumholder Highlanders (1984/86). Miami Tridents (1986/87). Baumholder Highlanders Old Boys (2012/13). Golden Isles Old Yellow (2012). AHO Old Boys (2012). Old Renegades Boys (2012). Ft. Lauderdale Silver Knights (2012). Miami Tridents Old Boys (2013). Savannah THUNDERBOLTS (2113).

Why did you decide to become a referee?

—Began refereeing to improve the game. US Forces-Europe home teams were responsible for providing the referee. Completed British Army Rugby Union Level I referee course (1985). FRRA (1986). USA Rugby Level II referee course (1989). Withdraw from refereeing (1994). USA Ruby Level I course (2012).

Did you have some kind of mentor?

—Mentored in US Force-Europe by Major Peter Britain (British Army). Mentored in FRRA by Richard "Dick" Elliot.

Do you remember your first game as a referee? How did it go? Any funny or special memory?

—After completing the British Army Rugby Union Level I course in '85, I refereed my home club in an away match against the Baden-Baden Bayonets (Canadian Army). My teammates never forgave me for choosing to referee over playing. Managing the front rows was a real challenge.

What was the most memorable screw up?

—Refereed in Freeport, Bahamas against an English club. A Bahamian prop was punched by an English second row in two different scrums. I couldn't see the punches. The prop retaliated by punching an English player on the second occurrence. I sent off the Bahamian prop. Also, an English wing ran in a try on the far side of the pitch. The home crowd thought that the player stepped into touch. I could not see the touch line from my position and the English touch judge did not raise his flag. I was questioned about both these situations after the match by the Bahamians executive board. Not fun.

Which is the one game you most remember of your career?

—I have had the opportunity to referee the Octoberfest 7's, Cape Fear 7's, St. Patrick's Day Tournament, SEC College Championships, Florida Selects, Bahamian Island Championships, and at the USA Rugby National Championships.

How well do players and coaches in Florida know the laws of the game?

—USA Rugby coaching training and certification is a plus.

What is your opinion in general of the attitude of players towards the referees in Florida?

—FRRA has several excellent referees, yet I am amazed that players have said that refereeing here is poor.

As a referee, have you made more friends or foes?

—Abusive players come and go. True rugbymen and rugbywomen are for every.

Does being able to watch a game on video help you improve your skills?

—Watching video is painful but helpful.

What are the most rewardings aspects of being a referee? And the least?

—When players enjoy their match. Verbal abuse of referees.

If you have had the opportunity to ref a match oversees, how was that experience?

—I refereed matches between US, Canadian, and combined sides made up of British, French, and German players. I was referee coordinator for the Octoberfest 7's. Best time ever! The FRRA twice assigned me to matches in Freeport, Bahama. I was treated well but it would have helped to have had Assistant Referees assigned.

What would you tell a player to encourage him becoming a referee?

—If you persevere you will referee higher level matches than you ever would have played.

Any final thoughts or comments about being a rugby referee?

—Players don't appreciate how much effort goes into refereeing. Referees try to do the best job possible. Coaches, players, and fan abuse detracts from the game. Without experienced referees, the game suffers.

 

Code updated: 08/17/2017 19:04

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