For an Oklahoma basketball referee, nothing is more satisfying than being called to officiate high school championship games at the Oklahoma State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
Known as the Big House, it is the pinnacle of an Oklahoma referee’s career to be invited to oversee these games. It is only attainable after years of selfless dedication to school sports.
In March, Chance Scott got the call to head to the Big House to officiate Class A girls basketball games at the state tournament. This was his first time there in that capacity and was an experience he will never forget.
“The closest a person will ever get to competing in sports once a person’s own athletic career is over is coaching and officiating games. It is wonderful to referee at this level,” Mr. Scott said.
For more than 10 years, he has dedicated himself to officiating school sports – primarily basketball and baseball. He has presided over games from the first grade level to high school 6A sports. Currently, Mr. Scott is a career technology instructor at Newcastle High School and the school’s junior high fast pitch softball head coach.
All referees, including Mr. Scott, receive intensive training in the sports they oversee. At a minimum of five-year intervals, he is required to attend a camp provided by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activity Associations (OSSAA), which is the governing body for Oklahoma school sports.
“To be an official, every year you have to take a certification test and watch the state rules meeting, and then take a concussion course online to be certified to officiate in Oklahoma. To be in the state tournament there are other things you have to do as well,” Mr. Scott said.
With additional OSSAA training required to referee state tournaments, Mr. Scott puts in an extra 40-50 hours per year of training to have the opportunity to referee at the state’s highest levels.
“I officiated the state tournament this year for the first time. I take officiating seriously. It does not matter what I do in my life, I want to be the best at it. I am proud and humbled to have receive this honor by the OSSAA,” Mr. Scott said.
It is an understatement to say Mr. Scott is dedicated to school athletics. He spends many hours away from his family to officiate games for others. He believes sports can help to build strong character, as well as teach young athletes to overcome adversity. Other traits that can be learned from athletics include working hard, interacting with a team and building self-confidence.
“In an average week, I will referee and umpire an average of 28 hours a week, but during tournaments it is more like 50 hours,” he said.
An avid sportsman, Mr. Scott has been involved with athletics since boyhood. He played basketball, football and baseball while in high school. He received a baseball scholarship to attend Rose State College and played for East Central University, where he graduated with double majors in business and education.
He said sports is the reason he became a teacher. His dreams included becoming a professional baseball player, but knee injuries ended that. Mr. Scott decided that if he could not play professionally, he would coach. In Oklahoma, that usually requires teaching as well.
“I always wanted to be involved with sports. After my athletic career ended, I knew I wanted to say involved in sports,” Mr. Scott said. “For that to happen, the next logical step was becoming a teacher so that I could coach.”
Mr. Scott has been an educator for more than 20 years. He has spent the last 14 years at Newcastle High School and plans to continue to teach, coach and officiate for many years to come.
Receiving his Chickasaw heritage from his mother’s side of the family, Mr. Scott did not learn he was Chickasaw until later in life.
“My grandmother, Vada Mae Ellis, traced our linage back before she passed away,” Mr. Scott said. “A lot of great people have Chickasaw heritage. I am proud of that, and that I come from a line of people that do great things with their lives and strive to help others. I like the pride our people take in ourselves and our heritage.”
Mr. Scott has been married for more than 20 years to his wife, Shari.They have two daughters, Aurora and Addison. He enjoys the outdoors and loves to hunt, fish, play golf and go to the lake.