Our Story

How It All Started

SOPTI, the Sports Officials Physical Training Institute, has been created by two experienced and energetic individuals that are veterans in their specific fields of personal physical training and sports officiating. The purpose of SOPTI is to address the physical needs of game officials and provide a positive impact on the future of competitive sports.

Often, individuals cross paths. Seldom do these crossings develop into a multifaceted, creative business venture, which until then, had not existed. The paths of these two individuals crossed in the spring of 2010. A professional relationship was formed and events were set in motion, though unrealized at that time. In short, the experienced personal fitness trainer was willing to assist the other, a veteran official for the sport of football, in reaching predetermined goals. As the commitment was made, the training began. There was some give and take. There was the evaluation period. Strengths and weaknesses were identified. However, it wasn’t long before progress began to show. This was the result of a very serious approach, by both the trainer and the official, to very specific issues. The trainer was using proven techniques to shape the physical ability of the sports official. The trainer became the artist, while the official provided the will to perform what was necessary in order to achieve their chosen goals.gus-morris-SOPTI-field-training

Upon realizing that there were denominators common to their passions, the trainer and official combined their talents to visualize an idea, create a business model, carry it to fruition and cast a die to make the dream into a reality. The deep passions they display do not just apply to their involvement in their respective sport. It equally extends with the ability to make improvements in other individual’s physical appearance and fitness level while providing a platform to mentor any aspiring official and, at the same time, assist them with setting realistic and lofty goals.

The founders of SOPTI have extensive backgrounds, experience and credentials that solidify the significance of their commitment to the business. What follows will provide further insight into these individuals and how it impacts their vision, in regards to the future of the Sports Officials Physical Training Institute.

With the understanding that to be the best that one can be, there must be a comprehensive approach taken to achieve certain goals. As a sports official, knowing the rules and understanding the mechanics is extremely important but that’s not all there is to it.  Staying totally focused and engaged, while working these contests, is an absolute necessity. An official cannot function at the top levels without being in the best physical shape they can be in. That’s the purpose of SOPTI.

In a coordinated effort, Gus Morris has created a proven system that provides functional training for sports officials. Consider it the important third leg of a stool. No leg has any less significance than the other. When each leg is sturdy, this foundation is a strong as any.

The motions that sports officials perform have been studied by the members of SOPTI and combinations of specific drills have been designed to enhance the conditioning of those individuals. Think about the moves that an official makes while working any game. Running in a straight line is not what happens. There’s the quick sprint, reaching, squatting, change of direction, shuffling, back peddling and jumping, just to name a few. These moves should be done without any thought and with as little effort as possible. This type of training also helps minimize the chance of injuries that often occur while working games. With time spent, away from the game, going through the drills on a scheduled basis, an official can begin to put themselves in a position to rise above the challenges and their peers.

SOPTI has placed itself in a position to help all officials that are willing to make the effort to pursue perfection. Again, the mission involves addressing the needs of game officials and impacting the future of competitive sports. Now go make it happen!

Meet The SOPTI Team

Gus Morris, III
Gus Morris has been around football officiating all his life. His father, George, began officiating the year that Gus was born. At the age of six, Gus began participating in sports and has continued to this very day. His career as a player started in 1965, where he went through recreation leagues, YMCA programs, high school teams and ended with a four year college experience. Gus was inducted into the Millsaps College Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1986, being an official for the game of football became one of his passions. The progression through officiating mirrored that of his playing career. His early years were spent learning the basics and working recreational and middle high school games. After displaying an early knack as an official, he began his climb through the high school and small college ranks. In 1992, he became an active member of the Southeastern Conference Football Officials Association. In recognition of his commitment and hard work, Gus has been awarded, to date, with twenty-three post season assignments, including four Southeastern Conference Championship games.

As a member of one of the premier football conferences in the United States, officiating the game of football presents numerous challenges and opportunities. Each weekend involves a game of major importance. The outcome of these games, typically have national consequences. Having a thorough knowledge of the rules, their intended spirit and a complete understanding of the mechanics of the game are an absolute necessity.