The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

October 12, 2009

FURFARI COLUMN - Big East grid officials hail from Mountain State

MORGANTOWN — Just two Big East Conference football officials are from West Virginia.

Both reside in this area, Rich Street in Arthurdale and Tony Tarantini in Morgantown.

Street, who is in his 50s, is a veteran with more than 13 years service in the Big East. Tarantini is only in his second full year in the conference. Both are field judges and work with different crews.

While neither can officiate in any West Virginia games, both have appeared in some really big games.

“Rich Street has been in the Big East well over 12 or 13 years,” Tarantini said. “He really helped me get in the conference.

“We’ve worked together at times, including WVU scrimmages. And we go to clinics together.”

Tarantini, a 1986 graduate of WVU, has been officiating for 18 years. He began working games while settling medical insurance claims for an insurance company in Cincinnati.

He became interested in officiating when he read a Dallas Cowboy Weekly. “There was a question-and-answer article in which someone asked about how to become an NFL official,” he recalled.

“The guy wrote that you had to start like all others did,” Tarantini remembered. “Start working in youth football games, middle school, then high school, small colleges and finally Division I-A games.”

He started working college games in 1994 and was a regular in the West Virginia Conference.

After graduating from WVU, he worked in Washington for two years and then spent five years in Cincinnati.

Since returning to his native Morgantown, he has helped his mother in the family wholesale beer business (Ralph’s Distributing Co.).

His father, Antonio, has been deceased for five-and-a half-years.

Tarantini has officiated in the WVC for 10 years. He has been enjoying his work at every level of competition.

“While working in the WVC, this opportunity came up and I certainly wanted to take it,” he said.

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Mickey Furfari
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