For those of you who don’t know Libbey, he’s a college basketball referee that makes his home on the West Coast. Libbey has been an official since the early-1980′s, and over the years has worked his way up to a certain level of prominence in the world of NCAA hoops.
If you’re a hardcore Pac-10 basketball fan, you know Dave Libbey, and you subsequently hate Dave Libbey. Amongst his peers, Libbey may be viewed as a savvy veteran of the profession, but to fans and purists everywhere he’s more of a villain than anything else.
When it comes to college basketball, it’s all about Dave Libbey. If Dave Libbey is on the call, then Dave Libbey WILL BE the main attraction. You may not think that’s the case going in, but by the end of the game you’ll know it’s the truth. Libbey maintains an iron-fisted grip over his three-man officiating team and overrules anything and everything his minions attempt to do. You see a charge? Dave Libbey sees a block. You want traveling? Dave Libbey sees dribbling. For some refs, there may be such a thing as a no-call situation. For Dave Libbey, every situation requires his influence.
Dave Libbey is always right.
If you watched the Washington-UCLA game on Saturday, you witnessed Dave Libbey at his best. There were technical fouls, blatantly missed calls, questionably called calls, and even a sign in the Dawg Pack that read “Welcome to the Libbey show.” The billboard in his honor apparently brought out the best in Libbey, as he walked over to the students before the game, blew kisses, and thanked them for spelling his name correctly. As one fan put it, it was little more than “disturbing.”
On message boards around the nation, Libbey is trashed and lambasted by college basketball fans on a seemingly daily basis. However, I did find one message board where the man, the myth, the legend was praised. The forum on Officiating.com is a Dave Libbey lovefest. One user, under the handle “Stripes,” offered this praise of Libbey’s work: “I have been to Dave’s camp held at UCSD. I thought it was excellent. Dave is a great teacher and motivator. At the time I was a JV official…” And we’ll stop you right there. You were a JV official.
Just the fact that Libbey is as well-known as he is, is an indictment on his job and his personality. Officiating is a profession based on anonymity. The less people recognize you, the better. If fans can leave a game never knowing you existed, then that likely means you did a great job. Apparently Dave Libbey doesn’t play by these rules. He thrives on the attention, and he loves to be in control. He goes out of his way to chastise players, talk to coaches, exchange barbs (not necessarily in a friendly manner) with fans, and showcase his douchebag personality every chance he gets. Dave Libbey may be good for officiating, but he ruins the game of basketball.
*For stats on Libbey’s work, click here.