The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


January 7, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Getting his Phil

As a businessman, an official, a mentor and as a person, Phil Garcia has certainly more than earned his stripes

The conversation went something like this... “See that guy right there, the official?” I said to a few young girls basketball players, who nodded in affirmation.

“Well,” I continued, knowing said official was well within earshot (though he probably couldn’t see me... you know how officials and good vision go together about as well as oil and water, right?), “he was a referee way back when, when I was playing high school ball!”

As a shared look of astonishment ran across their faces, I couldn’t resist.

“Yeah, he was terrible then, too,” I said, laughing, of course.

With that, Phil Garcia smiled, gave me a quick nod and sped back down the opposite end of the floor, “sped” being relative, of course.

After all, 41 years of officiating varsity basketball will take a toll on 58-year-old legs.

A busy guy

Phil Garcia, who has no idea this is being written, by the way, is one of the busiest people in the area.

Aside from being one of the most recognizable officials in the area, he is the assigner of officials for seven schools in the Premier Athletic Conference, St. John, Conneaut, Edgewood and Grand River Academy. Additionally, he handles junior-high assignments for others, including Jefferson, a member of the All-American Conference.

Then, there’s his “real job,” owning and operating Phil’s Catering, a venture he kicked off more than a quarter of a century ago.

“Really, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I weren’t as busy,” he said.

Unfortunately, he has found out the past 2 years.

In 2012, he was sidelined with pancreatitis, which had him hospitalized for 10 days.

Then, last  year, he was out of commission as his gall bladder had to be removed and during the procedure to do so, it was discovered he had a hernia. The double whammy had him laid up in the hospital for 7 days.

“I’ve been down more days the previous 2 years than the rest of my life, combined,” he said with his trademark laugh. “Hopefully, it’s all past and taken care of, now.”

As he worked a basketball game Saturday afternoon, Garcia looked fit and trim and appeared to be in excellent shape.

“I am,” he said, a trace of pride heard in his voice. “I’m eating well... taking much better care of myself.”

Not to mention, obviously, still getting plenty of exercise.

“This is the best I’ve felt in years.”

Text Only
  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Brittany Baitt    Riverside    .645    .667    .806    31    11    20    3    1    0    8    0
    Cassidy DiFranco    Riverside    .588    .632    .647    17    7    10    1    0    0    0    0
    Alyssa Chadwick    Conneaut    .563    .630    .625    32    12    18    2    1    0    6    5
    Alyssa Irons    Jefferson    .526    .526    .632    19    5    10    0    1    0    9    2

    April 23, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Niles McKinley at Lakeside (4:30)
    Bloomfield at Conneaut (4:30)
    Maplewood at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Riverside at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Mathews (4:30)
    Orange at Perry (4:30)

    April 23, 2014

  • Tribe Royals crown Wahoos to split first two games

    The concerns about Indians starter Danny Salazar continue to grow.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edgewood SB Warriors whack Struthers

    Edgewood softball coach Steve Cunha’s main focus for the season centers on his team playing well in the All-American conference. In their inaugural season as part of the AAC, the Warriors continued their strong start by defeating visiting Struthers, 8-2, on Monday afternoon.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons go the extra Niles

    Jefferson coach Scott Barber knows good things usually happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

    April 22, 2014

  • Emotional rescue

    Three Ashtabula area runners joined 36,000 of their closest friends Monday during the 118th rendition of the Boston Marathon.

    April 22, 2014

  • Spartans stymied

    Ursuline pitcher Makayla Shore freely admitted she didn’t quite have her best stuff against Conneaut on Monday at Skippon Park. Despite that fact, the hurler tossed a no-hitter to beat the Spartans, 10-0.

    April 22, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video