Referee Advancement & Training Organization (RATO)

New referee training initiative launched in Texas

Referee Advancement & Training Organization (RATO) steps in to the ring officially today in Texas. Referee centered, tech friendly and broad based, the new training initiative will replace the current top down model (RDO) and will, we believe, increase opportunities and cast a wider training net across the board at the local (up to L-1) level

We will post the Referee Development Officer (RDO) position for interview if RATO deems necessary.

RATO mission:

Advance referees by skills training and review the maximum number of Texas referees in the shortest reasonable time frame and prepare those willing and able for further advancement.

  • Develop and maintain a short list and long list of potential territorial referees and work through exchanges and interactions with domestic and foreign sources to provide them with opportunities and intensive training.
  • Use film and technology to exponentially expand numbers of reviews.
  • Train more coaches and mentors (targets set by RATO)
  • Exclude no referee for age, sex or ethnicity from the opportunity to be reviewed and advanced
  • Develop a cadre of young referees
  • Train and develop a cadre of trained AR’s
  • Link training of referees and team coaches to promote best practices and advance the game here in Texas
  • Revise and refine mission statement and work with schedulers to execute plan.

RATO Staff:

Group leader: Traci Schmidtke – TRRA Vice Chairman

Head of TRRA: James Wolfinger

Head of TRU R&L: Greg Varnell

Regional RDO’s:

South: Chris Callan & Rich Prim

North: John McConnell

Central: TBA

High performance advisor: Bryan Arciero

Statewide RDO: If deemed appropriate

Teams/coach representative: If deemed appropriate by RATO

IT manager: If deemed appropriate by RATO

Changes/additions/subtractions as group feels necessary. Group leader retains veto power. Veto may be overridden by unanimous vote of the organization staff.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. We hope to use this a feature in the proposed Conference on the Game here in Texas. Hopefully we can pull in some top flight referee talent from the USA/IRB ranks and promote the “way forward” for rugby in Texas.

All the best,
James F. Wolfinger
Head Coach
STHS Varsity Rugby
TRRA Chairman