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4 Questions: A Conversation with…Jack Huss

Jack Huss has compiled an impressive slate as a high school and college coach but also has had a stellar career as an official. A graduate of R-S Central, Huss was an outstanding football and baseball player at Lenoir-Rhyne College, graduating in 1969. He was one of the youngest head football coaches in the country at the college level when he coached at L-R from 1974 to 1980. He also served as head football coach at Richmond Senior, Hunter Huss and R-S Central, and also coached golf and served as athletic director at R-S Central.

Huss has officiated high school basketball for almost 40 years in addition to six years at the college level and has worked several different NCHSAA state championship basketball games. He was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in high school athletics since you began your career?

High school athletes, both men and women, are now concentrating more than ever on one sport.  Coaches are now spending more time throughout the year working with their athletes.  Early in my career, most of the top athletes were stars in more than one sport and sometimes in three or more.  Even in the early 90’s we had a top athlete who was MVP in football, basketball and baseball his senior season.  He was drafted in baseball that spring by the San Francisco Giants. 

The technology of coaching has improved in very rapidly.  Areas such as film exchange that required time on behalf of the coaches is now done with a simple click of the mouse.  One positive of this advancement is allowing more time for coaches to work with their athletes. 

Safer, better and certainly lighter equipment in every sport has changed the games on the positive side as well.

 

You have been an outstanding basketball game official. What did you find to be the most difficult thing about being a game official?

Patience…the road to improvement in officiating is slow and sometimes tedious.  To become a competent official requires diligent effort both in-season and out of season, with work in mental and physical areas.  Beginning officials find it difficult to envision this process, which does not happen overnight, and sometimes become discouraged.  Communication is the area that sets top officials apart from the rest.  The ability to understand and converse with coaches, partners, administrators and others involved in the contest is vital and keeps the contest moving smoothly.

 

What is your best memory of high school athletics personally, from your own involvement in them?

Two lasting memories come to mind immediately.  My junior year we won the championship in basketball for the Western North Carolina High School Athletic Association (WNCHSAA).  In the bi-conference and finals we played against some outstanding players yet our team play brought us the championship.  This concept has helped me greatly in coaching and officiating.

My senior season in football we compiled a record of 8-2 and lost the conference championship 21-20.  Our high school had previously not enjoyed a lot of success in football and this was a banner season.  Once again the team concept was the reason for our great success.

Now that I have had time to reflect on many years of participation as a player, coach and official…the overriding memories are of those people that I have been able to share time with.  Sometimes the games run together but the relationships enjoyed are stronger than ever.  Many of my closest friends today are men I played with in high school and college, some athletes that I had the privilege to coach and gentlemen who have worked with me in officiating.  The strength of these relationships is impossible to explain.  They are like the wind…you can’t see it but you know that it is there.

 

Now that you are no longer actively coaching, how have you stayed involved with high school athletics?

It has been my privilege to be a high school basketball official for many years and that involvement has kept me in touch with coaches, players and administrators.

Involvement with the NCHSAA has also given me great opportunities to remain active.  Serving as a regional and state director for golf tournaments and assisting on various committees are examples.