Don Reordan stands alone as one of the finest American referees in the game. His rugby career began on the pitch as a center for various teams over a span of eight years including; the University of Southern California, the University of California, San Diego, Santa Monica Rugby Football Club, Pasadena/Crown City Rugby Football Club, and the Del Mar Rugby Football Club.
Reordan transitioned his career from player to referee in 1980 and embarked on a path that would mark him as one of the game’s finest officiants to ever grace the pitch.
“Don maintained an extraordinarily high level of performance over time, maintaining his rank as an A-Panel referee for a remarkable span of 18 years, the longest such tenure in American history. This longevity alone could serve as sufficient rationale for applying the label of “Greatest American Rugby Referee” and subsequent induction into the Hall of Fame, however this enduring excellence was not merely durability, but was paired with matches of importance unsurpassed by any other United States referee,” boasts Bret Reordan, son of Don Reordan.
He refereed 12 international test matches from 1988 to 1997, sharing the pitch with teams such as; Belgium, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Japan, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Tonga, Uruguay, U.S.A., U.S.S.R., and Zimbabwe.
He also refereed 12 additional matches which involved national teams. He is the only American referee to ever officiate a World Cup match, a feat which he accomplished twice in both 1991 and 1995. In July of 1988, Reordan was appointed by Australia to officiate a match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Capital Territory.
He has represented the United States as a referee on a global scale and served as an ambassador promoting the reputation of American referees. While living in New Zealand, he maintained membership in the Wellington, New Zealand Referees Society in 1984.
Not to neglect his own international achievements, Don recognized the need for greater leadership and development efforts stateside and dedicated his time to furthering the success of American referees. He served as the president of the Southern California Rugby Referees Society in the 1980s and contributed to the development and documentation of proper referee signaling technique as published in a law book.
After the completion of his A-Panel career, he continued to contribute to American rugby in the Pacific Northwest, maintaining membership in the Pacific Northwest Rugby Referee Society having served as a referee, mentor, and evaluator while living in Oregon.
Don was presented with the Dennis Shanagher Award in 2004, recognizing his distinguished service to American Rugby as a referee. He has served as an ambassador of the game in the United States and beyond, championing referee development, assessment, and training for over 30 years.