July 1, 2021
By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter
Rich Day, a Cerritos resident who served as CIF-Southern Section basketball assignor for nearly three decades, among other titles, died on the afternoon of Sunday, April 25.
According to his only son Jeff Day, athletic director of Whitney High, Rich Day was dealing with “a lot of things” but eventually succumbed to respiratory failure.
Rich Day, born June 12, 1943 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, started having problems in late September 2020 with a partial amputation of his left big toe due to diabetes and he was never released from the hospital, Jeff Day mentionned. Rich Day started his treatment at Los Alamitos Hospital, then went to a few healthcare facilities before finally going to a rehabilitation center in Brea. When his respiratory system was failing, he ended up in St. Jude’s in Fullerton last week.
“I had two sisters and I don’t know if it was easier or harder,” Day said of his duties at Whitney during the eight months his father was in the hospital. “But we were pretty much virtual all the time. I still have my teaching duties, but for the first few months we didn’t even have a sport.
“The hardest part of it all is he never had Covid, but all of these Covid rules… he was pretty much alone the whole time,” Day said. “He could seldom have visitors depending on the establishment he was in, the situation and the condition he was in. There were months and months when he could only see one member of his family through a window. He didn’t deserve this because of all this stupid Covid protocol. This is the thing I’m saddest about.
About 300 people attended the funeral, which was held on May 22 at Arbor Road Church in Long Beach, including former Artesia High head coach Wayne Merino, former Artesia assistant coach Roland Preciado and former Gahr High head coach Kurt Ruth, to name a few. Many top referees from the Long Beach Unit of the California Basketball Association were also in attendance.
Rich Day grew up in South Gate, where he attended high school before going to East Los Angeles College and then enrolling in the military where he was a platoon leader. Rich Day would also attend California State University, Los Angeles, where he met his wife, Kathi, in 1969. They moved to Cerritos that year, shortly before Jeff Day was born.
In the mid-1960s, Rich Day worked for the South Gate Parks and Recreation Department before teaching at Downey College in the early 1970s, while still at South Gate Parks and Recreation. In the mid-1980s, Rich Day was a member of the Cerritos Chamber of Commerce and worked for Azusa Parks and Recreation. To say that Rich Day was heavily involved in the sport would be an understatement and that’s what got him to officiate. He served as an Arbitrator and Arbitrator during his college years and during his 52 years with the CBA he served as an Arbitrator, Instructor, Board Member, Mentor, Special Committee Member and Assignor.
“He was there; he started as an umpire in the 1960s,” said Jeff Day. “He was one of the original members, and the last member was still part of the original group that started the Long Beach unit. . He held just about every position imaginable, from referee to board member. He was the assignor, observer, mentor; he would do anything. He was great pushing women. [referees] and I wanted to help with the young officials, in particular.
When Rich Day worked at South Gate Parks and Recreation, he would take Jeff Day, his cousins and friends, and Ruth, who was a neighbor of the Days, to the 100-acre park on weekends and would have access to everything they wanted. needed. They also had amenities for their neighborhood, which meant they grew up playing every sport imaginable, according to Day.
And when Rich Day, who coached many teams that his son and his friends were on, was a high school and college basketball umpire, he would take Jeff Day to the gym three to four times a week so that he and his friends can play while his father referees. As the assignee, Rich Day would have an annual contract and each spring it would be renewed.
“When you deal with schools and coaches, you have a lot of ego, especially with the bigger schools,” said Jeff Day. “But when you have about 200 arbitrators every year, how many people can each person know? You may see a referee once, but does that really tell you that you know them? [My dad] would get to know each person. He would make it a challenge that he wanted to know every person.
“You are at the mercy of a board of directors that renews every two years,” he added later. “It’s not like your buddies are responsible for babysitting you every year. He’s probably been through eight to 10 different board chairs and 20 different boards in his 30 years of tenure. So I think he did it the right way.
Rich Day was inducted into the CIF-SS Hall of Fame and was recognized in October 2019 at their annual ceremony. He was also a special education teacher in college and would do whatever the kids needed, even if that meant staying in class after school or not going to lunch with his friends, according to Day. He also said his father would teach outside of the book and teach his students life skills.
“He loved his family and he really loved fishing,” said Jeff Day. “Everyone saw him as always in the gym. But he liked to fish and he was also, for a short time, a photographer in the 60s at the UPI. He was ambassador when the president [John F.] Kennedy was assassinated. He was at [Los Angeles] Sports Arena for Final Four’s. He met John Wooden on several occasions and had sessions with John Wooden and spoke with John Wooden. They got to know each other personally by name because my dad for a good 25 years was an observer in the Pac-10 [Conference]. A lot of people probably didn’t know it. “
Rich Day is survived by Jeff Day, his daughters Jennifer and Allison and his grandchildren Tyler, Ryan, Erin, Amaya and Mila.
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