Warren Page Vicknair, 79, tireless coach, referee

Warren Vicknair acquired a number of nicknames in high school coaching and officiating careers that lasted more than four and five decades, respectively. Among the personalized labels were "Slick Vick" and "Coach Pa."

The popular leader was part of football coaching staffs at Marist, St. Pius, Avondale, Dunwoody and Peachtree High.

Warren Page Vicknair of Doraville died Tuesday from complications of organ failure at St. Joseph's Hospital. He was 79. A funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Dunwoody's All Saints Catholic Church. H.M. Patterson & Son, Oglethorpe Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Vicknair was best remembered as someone who touched the lives of numerous students, many of whom responded to news of his demise with messages of gratitude and condolence.

"One man wrote that he taught him the love of God and taught him to go 110 percent," said Margaret "Margie" Harrington Vicknair, referring to her husbandof 58 years. "It was his life, I can tell you that. There were many a night we ate without him, but he had to be at the schools studying films and stuff. He was dedicated to his family and his students."

Mr. Vicknair commanded attention when he officiated a game. He was tall and skinny and considered one of the more judicious referees. He had wanted to complete 55 years of officiating sports before he retired, but fell three shy, said Don Williams, a Gwinnett County resident who worked games with Mr. Vicknair.

"Warren was a rules expert in basketball and football," Mr. Williams said. "He knew the rules and was able to enforce the rules the way they were intended to be enforced, not to fit a situation. He had excellent judgment, mechanics and field presence, and that is why he was able to communicate with coaches and keep the games going."

Mr. Vicknair was born in New Orleans but grew up in Atlanta, where he graduated from Marist and played football. He was a Georgia State University alumnus who coached with George Maloof at St. Pius, where they won the 1968 state championship.

"Marist was his pride and joy because he went to school there and he was a die-hard Catholic," said Dr. Devin Vicknair, a son from Dacula. "St. Pius would be next in line behind Marist. His philosophy as a teacher and coach was to bring out the potential in the individual. He always told people you have to use 110 percent of what God gave you."

In a 1995 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr. Vicknair stressed the need for coaches to control their teams, support their players, know the game rules, and treat everybody with respect.

"We officials are susceptible to mistakes in officiating," he said. "The manner in which the official and coach handle themselves should be conducive to what is expected of the athletes."

Additional survivors include a daughter, Delana Bonnell of Savannah, and four grandchildren.