Very few people in striped shirts ever have won popularity contests. One referee with a chance would be Dallas Shirley.
The 66-year-old Washington native, who officiated more than 2,000 high school, college and professional basketball games over a 32-year period, will be honored by his colleagues and friends in a testimonial Oct. 17 at the Manor Country Club.
"From a personal point of view, this is the highest honor I've ever received," said Shirley, who serves as the Metro Conference commissioner. "I'm proud to say I've had a hand in developing and helping many of the young guys in officiating today. It would be most gratifying to see some of them again."
"I guess I have either recruited, trained or evaluated thousands of officials over the years. I still do and I enjoy it," Shirley said.
One hardly can question Shirley's credentials either as an official or as an evaluator. During his tenure as a top International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) and past president of the organization he was selected to work in the Pan-American Games in Chicago in 1959 and was the only American to officiate in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
"I guess those two honors are the highest I've received in terms of participation," Shirley said.
Shirley also worked in the Atlantic Coast Conference as well as the Southern and Mason-Dixon conferences before retiring from court duty 14 years ago.
Since hanging up his whistle, Shirley has been the assistant to the commissioner of the Southern Conference. Although he logged thousands of miles traveling up and down the East Coast, he considers officiating his "part time" job since he was a physical education teacher at Deal Junior High, athletic director at Eastern, director of health, physical education and recreation for the D.C. public schools and finally the principal at Gordon Junior High for 25 years.
"I usually worked my schedule so I could get in 100 to 125 miles after school," said Shirley. "And I guess being a principal helped a lot."
The well-respected, loquacious Shirley was on the original staff of NBA officials when the league was organized in 1948. He worked only a couple of years before deciding to return to the college ranks.
"You know the mortality rate of NBA officials is very high," Shirley said. "Besides, I enjoyed refereeing college games much, much more."
Shirley, who has been given every honor an official can receive (including the classiest of dirty names), considers this latest testimonial very special.
"It means a lot because many of the people, my colleagues, will be there," Shirley said. "I've certainly seen lot of basketball games and a lot of officials over the years. Being in the school system I've come in contact with thousands of youngsters. It will be quite an honor."
Twenty touchdown were scored in area high school games last weekend by way of pass interception returns, blocked punts or fumble recoveries. Ron Wilson had two 45-yard interception returns for touchdowns leading Annapolis to an easy 46-0 victory over Chesapeake. Mike Wood also scored on interceptions of 80 and 25 yards in helping Hayfield thrash Jefferson, 47-0.
In addition, nine safeties were scored.
With the first half of the 1979 season over, a total of 16 teams are still undefeated. Sixteen teams also are still looking for victory No. 1.
Einstein departed from the ranks of the winless last week by squeezing out an 8-7 victory over defending Maryland State A semifinalist Wootton. The win also snapped a 14-game losing streak for the Titans.
Steve Mertz last week recorded the longest run from scrimmage this year going 99 yards in Bullis Prep's 21-0 win over Friends . . . . Oakton is the area's leading defensive team, with only nine points allowed in five games. The offense is not doing badly either with a 30-point per game average, the second highest behind Thomas Stone, which sports a 32.4 scoring average per game. St. John's is third with a 29.6 average . . . Individually, Damascus tailback Craig Turner has 10 touchdowns. Oxon Hill's Troy Island, Model School's Jesse Wade, Sherwood's Eugene Lee and Falls Church's Mike Grayson have nine touchdowns each . . . . Richard Montgomery's Don Geisler is the leader in field goals with five, one more than Mount Vernon's Mark Harmon.