News and Tribune

Clark County

June 21, 2008

A BORN LEADER: Q&A with former Jeff mayor Dale Orem

Dale Orem says that he has had a career of firsts. He was quarterback when the University of Louisville played in its first bowl game as an integrated school, winning the Sun Bowl 34-20 over Drake in 1958.

He was head coach when U of L’s baseball team played more than 19 games in season — playing 57 in his first year. He was a referee in the National Football League from 1980-1998.

Orem’s career has extended well beyond sports. He was the first Republican mayor in Jeffersonville in 40 years, serving from 1984-1991. He started the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, Heritage Bank, which is now Your Community Bank, and Locker Room Sports Goods store, which is now run by his son.

He also brought the Boys and Girls Club to Jeffersonville. Orem is still active in the community and serves on many boards.

He recently sat down with The Evening News and The Tribune to talk about his varied and vast career.

QUESTION: What is your most memorable moment being a referee in the NFL?

DALE OREM: “I think without question, it would be working the Super Bowl in 1996, because that’s what you’ve been shooting for your entire life — to reach the epitome of games. I guess it is in football for sure.”

Q: What were some of the emotions going through your mind as you walked out there onto the field?

OREM: “I guess what I say in my speeches is the old economic theory of the Peter Principle. Are you going to rise to a point where you can’t perform? And you pray a little bit and hope that you see everything in slow motion. … We practiced the coin toss for two hours on Friday, and the captains of the Steelers and the captains of the Cowboys were there.

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