"I think first and foremost you must be consistent with your personality. Whether that means firmness through the use of technical fouls or that means a quick wit to dispel certain situations…whoever you are must consistently be brought out. My background has always been to meet strength with strength. That’s a fine balance, because that doesn’t mean that you go around meeting every situation with strength.
If players or coaches are coming to you in a way that is respectful and we’re all talking as men; for you to meet that with this hard core strength is not fair to the participants; because they’re already coming to you from a point of respect. If you abuse that sense of power that a referee has, no one ultimately will trust that abuse of power. That being said, if you’re met with strength, you must meet it with strength in my opinion. That doesn’t mean a technical foul always; a quick wit is a very firm point of strength. If you can recognize where your verbiage and your dialogue can get you out of a situation…that is a point of strength. Asking for something, regardless of how you do it is not a point of strength. You’ve been entrusted to run the game as a referee. Run the game with your personality.
I think it’s important that we don’t try to be other people. Dick Bavetta is one of the funniest human beings alive. As a result, he was able to use his humor to dispel and quiet volatile situations very quickly. I may be funny, but I’m not quick witted. I’d like to think that I have a great sense of humor in certain situations; that being said, as a younger, sort of fit guy, trying to be funny can come off as cocky and arrogant. You have to be very careful about that; so one of the things about on court conflict is that you have trust a long process. By that I mean, people want to be well liked in this profession, but being well liked, doesn’t mean being well respected. If you handle on court conflict with a consistency, you will end up being respected for it. However, it takes longer that way; because when you handle a coach in one way, in may be two years before that coach gets to see you handle another coach or another player exactly the same way.
So, your payoff may be two years down the line; but that delayed gratification if you’re consistent over a long period of time is a longer standing respect in my opinion from the participants that you’re entrusted to work with. And that over the course of six, seven, eight, ten years you can know that John Calipari at Kentucky is going to respect you because he saw you handle him one way in year two; but then he saw you handle Roy Williams the same way three years later down in North Carolina. The trust factor of handling on court conflict is a long process. You have to trust the process to do it well in my opinion."