October 21, 2019

Stan Javie: Truly a Great One

It will be a star-studded night on June 23, 2011 when the 39th annual National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame opens its doors to four new inductees. The NPASHOF roster swells to 123 with the addition of Bill Romanowski, Art “Pinky” Deras, Tom D’Eath and the late Stan Javie.

All four inductees will be feted at the American Polish Cultural Center. Romanowski and Deras were top vote-getters in the nationwide balloting process. D’Eath was a Veterans Committee selection and Javie a “Greats of the Past” choice.

Romanowski was a 4-time Super Bowl champion linebacker during his 16-year National Football League, Deras led the Hamtramck (MI) National Little League team to the 1959 Little League World Series title as its top pitcher, D’Eath is a Gold Cup winning unlimited hydroplance racer and once led the Spirit of Detroit race efforts and Javie was a four-time Super Bowl official and probably one of the best ever to officiate in his sport.

One of my personal favorites is Javie. Although best known as an accomplished on-field official, Stanley “Stan” Javie (Jaworowski) enters the Hall of Fame having also educated, coached and mentored athletes and game officials for more than 40 years. As his own son stated, there’s no question that Stan was “an official’s official.”

Born in 1919, Javie was a first generation Polish America; his parents came to the United States from Poland when they were young and settled into a Polish section of Philadelphia called Manayunk. Stan was the second youngest of eight siblings. He graduated from Saint John High School where he also coached three sports for many years. He later graduated from Georgetown University.

Javie excelled in teaching, coaching and officiating. Some of his greatest memories were those earlier days “in the trenches” as a player and coach. He served as basketball coach at Malvern Preparatory School while spending much time as a football and basketball official. His excellence in officiating eventually led him to the NFL as an official rather than a player, which he might have been since he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

His 30-year term (1951 to 1980) as an NFL official was a testimony to his ability. Stan’s career as a player, coach, and official was full of successes and fond memories yet his highest feelings were toward his ability to contribute positively to the success of the young athlete, both on and off the athletic field. A much sought-after speaker, he contributed as much to athletics as a “good will ambassador” as he did as a long time participant in athletic competition.

The officiating legacy of Stan Javie is carried on today by his son Steve, completing his 25th season as a National Basketball Association official and widely recognized in the top-five in the NBA, having worked more than 1500 regular-season games, 215 playoff games and 22 Finals games.

“Dad was a first generation Polish American and proud of it,” said Steve Javie. “His parents came over from Poland when they were young and his father tried to find work. My mother’s parents also came over from Poland, and she too was a first generation Polish American. Dad changed our family name (Jaworowski) to Javie back in the sixties. This was the name the family used in the businesses they had so people often called us Javie since it was easier to ponounce and spell. Growing up, we had all the Polish traditions during the different holidays including all home-made Polish foods that my Mom (Stella) was great at cooking and Dad at eating! To this day we still observe the holidays with the Polish recipies my Mom passed along.”

Stan Javie was a teacher especially to aspiring officials. Retired NFL referee Red Cashion understood the value of working on the field with Stan. “The late Stan Javie understood the rules, but more important understood the meaning behind the rules,” said Cashion. “Stan saw more on a football field than anyone I ever knew. But most of all, he loved to train new officials, and he absolutely loved the game for what it was.”

Highly respected, Javie was selected as a back judge to work four Super Bowls, the highest honor accorded an NFL official. He was assigned Super Bowl II in 1968 (Miami); Super Bowl VIII in 1974 (Houston); Super Bowl X in 1976 (Miami) and Super Bowl XIV in 1980 (Pasadena).

“My Dad stood for everything an official should stand for,” said Steve Javie. “He was a man with great integrity and conviction. He was one of the greatest teachers of officiating I have ever come across. It did not matter that he and I officiated different sports; he knew what was important to gain the respect of the coaches, players and especially your fellow officials.

Stan Javie was presented the following plaque before his final NFL game in 1980 by his game crew (led by ref Ben Dreith): We judge you to be a GREAT Official, Stan Javie, and we would work any game any time with You.

His motto as WE see it:

To teach by example, To improve by not accepting complacency, To understand an individual’s shortcoming by respecting effort. To accomplish excellence collectively, not as one.

His creed as HE sees it:

I will build a bridge for you to cross over

I will provide the vehicle to carry you.

If God put anyone on earth for the purpose of officiating football, it would be Stan Javie #29. Stan passed away in 2002, just two years following the death of his beloved wife Stella. His legacy and memory are honored by the National-Polish American Sports Hall of Fame. Our caps are doffed to one of football’s greatest officials ever and a man proud of his ethnic heritage.

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Written by
George Eichorn

GEORGE EICHORN is the long-time executive director of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association and sports editor and columnist for a Detroit weekly newspaper. For more than three decades, he has covered the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Championships, and Stanley Cup finals. His articles have been published in the Detroit News, Basketball Times, Basketball Digest, Red Wings Magazine, Baseball Bulletin, Sports Fans Journal, Soccer World, and Bowler’s Digest. During the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, he proudly covered the historic “Miracle on Ice” hockey game when the United States shocked the Soviet Union. Through the years, he has won numerous broadcasting and writing awards, and most recently received the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame’s Special Recognition Award. In 2003, he authored a book about the rich history of Michigan sports broadcasting, Detroit Sports Broadcasters: On the Air, for which the late Detroit Tigers broadcast legend, Ernie Harwell, wrote the forward. He is the married father of two daughters and a graduate of Wayne State University.

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Written by George Eichorn
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