“Manage the Game!”: Dan Capron Discusses Life as a Big Ten Official
When the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team shut out the Maryland Terrapins 23-0 at the University of Iowa October 20, our own Dan Capron was there – officiating the game. When Dan isn’t busy being a senior partner at Capron & Avgerinos, he’s hitting the football field as a Big Ten referee. In fact, he’s been officiating college football games for years. Being a referee has taken him to some interesting places, including the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Capitol One Orange Bowl in Miami, where he’s been honored to be part of the officiating crews. In 2018, he was the lead official in the College Football National Championship game.
Officiating the Hawkeyes-Terrapins game was especially meaningful because Dan participated in the “Iowa Wave” – a tradition started in 2017 in which fans attending a Hawkeyes game in Kinnick Stadium waves at the children watching from the recently built University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which overlooks the stadium. The tradition began at the suggestion of a fan who was looking for a way to get the team to cheer up children in the hospital. On October 20, the entire officiating crew participated in the wave.
We sat down with Dan to get his insight on what it’s like to be an official. As you can see from the following Q&A, Dan brings the same passion to officiating that he does to helping our clients!
What makes for a good official?
These three attributes are important:
- Knowledge of the rules.
- The ability to focus for extended periods of time.
- The ability to perform in a highly stressful environment, knowing that your every move (and every decision) will be subject to review and potential criticism.
My boss has a saying that he imparts to all of his crew chiefs: “manage the game!” The concept of “managing” the game is multifaceted, but it comes down to maintaining control and making sure that the game proceeds without incident. A good official might miss a call, but he never makes a call unless he is 100-percent certain of what he has. A good official is in charge of the game, without being arrogant or haughty.
A good official must be an excellent communicator: with players, with coaches and with fans.
How does your role at Capron & Avgerinos inform your officiating and vice versa?
It would be folly to suggest that officiating at the Big Ten level for the past 19 years (including multiple major bowl games and the national championship game) hasn’t elevated my profile. But hubris is a dangerous companion. I am constantly reminding my crew that we are only one snap away from disaster at any given time — so beware of complacency!
If your lawyer is “tough” enough to handle many of the high-profile major college coaches (you know who they are), he’s tough enough to handle a case. Officiating and practicing law are complementary. They draw upon the same skill sets. Being a lawyer helps me to resolve difficult rules questions or enforcement situations involving multiple fouls, and to do it quickly and accurately. Being an official helps me to maintain a calm demeanor and clinical detachment when an issue arises with a case, as it sometimes does.
How does it feel to be part of the Iowa Wave? What goes through your mind when you participate in this incredible tradition?
The Iowa Wave is a relatively new tradition, and yet word of it seems to have spread far and wide. It is a privilege to participate. We (the officials) know that at the end of the 1st quarter, we will need to quickly line up facing toward the children’s hospital just east of the stadium so that we can wave to the kids.
They are up at the top floor. It is very difficult to discern individuals from that distance, but we can see their hands waving down to us. The Iowa fans, the Iowa players, and even the visiting team all take a moment to let the kids know that we are thinking of them, that they are not alone and that they need to keep fighting whatever the particular circumstances are that have placed them in that hospital. The Wave is a very emotional moment for anyone who has ever done it. It has quickly become one of the greatest traditions of Big Ten football.
Thank you, Dan, for sharing!
Photo credits: Patrick Ward https://www.ward-photo.com/Sports/2018-Iowa-Football
Call Capron & Avgerinos
Dan Capron is part of a team that is passionate about everything we do for others, on the job and on our own time. Call Capron & Avgerinos now at (800) 535-4542 if you need help with a personal injury or workers’ compensation case in Illinois or Iowa. We are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim. Call Capron & Avgerinos at (800) 535-4542 – let us show how we can deliver results for you.