Fifteen seasons in the Big Ten (the oldest college football conference in the United States), 8 seasons in the Arena Football League, 12 bowl games (the most prestigious kind of matchup in American college football, in which the number of spectators is often higher than for professional NFL games), head referee for Arena Bowl XVII as well as the NCAA National Championship game at the end of the 2010 season, and an official in the 2007 World Cup in Kawasaki, Japan: these are the credentials of Bill LeMonnier, one of the co-writers of the university rulebook and a legend of NCAA football officiating, who will be leading the March 9-10 clinic for officials of the Polish League of American Football!
“The plans to bring this distinguished American referee to Poland have matured over several years, and I am delighted that they have finally come to fruition,” said Krzysztof Walentynowicz, head of the PZFA Officiating Department. “The good reputation that we have enjoyed in the international officiating environment has resulted in some of Europe’s leading referees being willing to help us in our preseason preparations. You might even joke that the arrival of Bill is, in a sense…a problem, because it will be very difficult to bring someone better next year!” he added.
LeMonnier will fly to Warsaw on March 8, and during the two-day clinic he will take part in about 12 hours of lectures and presentations. The experience that the 64-year old legend of the academic ranks can share will undoubtedly be of use in helping Polish officials to fulfill their duties during the upcoming season in situations they have not dealt with up to this point. For LeMonnier, who during his career has visited almost every corner of the globe, it will be his first visit to Poland, but not his first contact with the officials of the PLFA.
In 2011, a group of Poland’s best from the Officiating Department took part in a training clinic run by LeMonnier in the United Kingdom. One of those officials, Alex Zarganis, went on to officiate together with LeMonnier later that year in Tanzania, at the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, while Walentynowicz himself officiated along with Poland’s invited guest at the World Junior Championships last year in Texas.
Less than five months after the PLFA officiating clinic, Bill LeMonnier will once again feature prominently in the football world, when he is presented with the NASO’s Gold Whistle at a gala event at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan. LeMonnier is the 26th recipient of this highly prestigious award, and the first college football referee to be given the honor.
PZFA Officiating Department