Braxton Citizens' News, Community, Schools, Sports

Rob Pecora honored for excellence in basketball officiating

By Shirley Shuman

During halftime at a recent girls’ state tournament game, the National Federation of High School Athletics presented Rob Pecora with a plaque naming him NFHS Girls Basketball Official of 2020-2021. Well-known to Braxton Countians for his years of experience in the school system, Pecora has officiated for “28 to 30” years.

The former teacher and coach still officiates both girls’ and boys’ basketball. His first officiating, he explained, came after he had quit coaching. Still teaching at Flatwoods Elementary School, Pecora made an unusual move as far as officiating was concerned. His first work on the basketball court came in officiating West Virginia conference college games. He explained that he was “one of only a very few basketball officials who were hired for college officiating without ever having experience in working high school games.”

Pecora officiated college men’s games for the first 12 years, then switched to girls’ games for 10 years.  For most of that time, he also officiated both boys’ and girls’ games.  Here he explained, “I usually did two or three college games a week, and the rest were high school.” Most weeks he worked Monday through Saturday, six games a week. After commenting on the length of some of the trips, he said, “Probably the hardest part of officiating is the traveling.”  Then he added, “You get used to it.”

One of the reasons Pecora enjoys officiating is that he, a former coach, is still involved with athletes. “That’s the best part of the job,” he said, indicating that the association makes the trips and the late nights worthwhile.  He has given up officiating college games, but he currently works “about 60 games a year, four or five a week.”

Along with his work as a game official, Pecora gave much to Braxton County schools.  Now retired after 32 years of teaching—all of it in this county, he began at Sutton Middle School, where he was head football coach and assistant basketball coach. When John Carson moved to the high school to coach, Pecora became head basketball coach at SMS. After consolidation, he spent the remainder of his teaching career at Flatwoods Elementary.

Although he is retired, Rob Pecora remains busy. He has had several positions, including manager of the Sutton swimming pool. However, he truly enjoys his current position as bailiff at the Braxton County Court House. “I really enjoy it,” he said, “especially since I’m still around people.” It also allows him plenty of time to continue his officiating. As a matter of fact, he will officiate in the upcoming WV boys’ state basketball tournament.