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
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    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    PV at Windham (4:30)
    Conneaut at Seneca (4:30)
    Wickliffe at Madison (4:30)
    Niles McKinley at Jefferson (5)

    April 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Waitin’ on a woman...

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    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jefferson flying high

    Jefferson boys track coach T.J. Furman didn’t know what to expect from his young team coming into the 2014 season.

    April 20, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Jefferson 130, Pymatuning Valley 88, Springfield 75, Southeast 73.50, LaBrae 67, Liberty 56.50, Conneaut 44, Maplewood 39, Chalker 32, Windham 18
    at LaBrae

    April 20, 2014

  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 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
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