Mike Barbaro is a retired football referee. In this podcast, Mike will provide you a great insight into his passion for becoming a highly respected referee. Pay close attention to his approach to both the game and his crew as it will demonstrate his effective leadership skills and teamwork with his fellow officials.
Mike wanted to be a football coach but his job and career would not allow him to coach. So he did the next best thing and became a high school football official, which he started in 1980. Mike quickly found out that being a football official was not as easy as it looked. However, it became his passion to excel at it.
After 2 seasons of officiating, the Commissioner, Vin Reilly asked him to do some youth and freshman games as the white hat (referee) and he loved it! Then Mr. Reilly started to schedule him as a varsity referee working prep school games in South Kent, Westminster, and Canterbury. Mike didn’t care because he wanted to refine the craft of being a referee.
Mike was an on-field official for 35 years. He worked his first state championship game in 1988. Throughout his career, he worked 6 State Championships and 5 quarter-final or semi-final playoff games.
Mike was responsible for teaching new officials for over 20 years. He really enjoyed teaching others and watching people get the officiating bug just like him.
He served as President of the Board in 1989 and served many years on the board of directors. This coming season will be his 41st season on the New Haven Board. He is currently on the Better Officiating Committee and still stays active as an observer of game crews.
Throughout Mike’s career he has received the following awards and honors:
o Gene Casey National Football Foundation Official Recognition Award in 2006
o I was elected into the East Haven High School Hall of Fame in 2009
o The Vincent J. Reilly Distinguished Service Award 2010
o I was elected into the Connecticut Football Officials Hall of Fame in 2010
o The David Holdwright Profiles in Courage Award in 2013
o The National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award 2016