We're sure to experience a rarity Thursday night.
An NFL referee will be celebrated and cheered. Perhaps even given a standing ovation. People will cling to this man's words, not his actions, and he's liable to roast himself.
Jim Tunney, known as "The Dean of NFL Referees," will not be in stripes. Nor will he signal a field goal with the famous ritual he used in three Super Bowls and some of the greatest games in NFL history by raising both arms, fists clenched, and then extending all 10 fingers to punctuate the point.
Tunney will be the keynote speaker for the seventh annual Benefit for the Poor at the Red Lion Hotel in conjunction with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Sacramento district. St. Vincent is a nonprofit that aids the homeless and hungry.
A Southern California native, Tunney grew up dreaming of stardom, to pitch for the New York Yankees. Instead, he officiated stars, working NFL games from 1960 to 1991, including some of sport's iconic moments.
He was there for the "Ice Bowl" in 1967 when the Green Bay Packers outlasted the Dallas Cowboys at frozen Lambeau Field.
He was at Tulane Stadium in 1970 when Tom Dempsey kicked the longest field goal in NFL history, a 63-yarder that lifted the New Orleans Saints over the Detroit Lions.
He was in the middle of Super Bowls VI, XI and XII. And he was at Candlestick Park for "The Catch" in 1982.
The St. Vincent de Paul dinner raised $70,000 last year. For information: (916) 715-8666 or www.svdp-sacramento.org
Theus lands in Northridge
Reggie Theus, the Kings' first star and their coach for parts of two seasons, was introduced Friday as Cal State Northridge's coach. He admitted he had hoped to return to NBA coaching but insisted, "My heart is in college basketball."
At the news conference, Theus said he appreciated the Maloofs giving him a chance to coach the Kings but that his early-season firing in 2008 "set me back four years" in a head-coaching search.
Theus spoke to the Maloofs in recent weeks as he pursued the Northridge gig.
Wallace in the Big Easy
A week after visiting the Raiders, quarterback Seneca Wallace (Cordova High School, Sacramento City College) signed a free-agent deal Monday to back up Drew Brees with the Saints. Wallace has made 21 starts with the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns in his nine-year career.
Around the region
Alabama's Diondre Batson (Laguna Creek, American River College) ran the fastest 100 meters in the world this season Saturday, a wind-legal 10.06-second effort.
A notoriously slow starter out of the blocks, Batson said he has learned to relax at the start.
"I thought I ran slower, in the 10.2's, but I'll take it," he said by phone Saturday night.
Notes -- Saying military life "wasn't for me," Dano Graves (Folsom), The Bee's 2010 Football Player of the Year, has transferred from Air Force to Cal Poly, where the quarterback participated in spring drills last week.
Graves will be eligible to play this fall. Among his competitors for the starting job is former prep teammate Tanner Trosin, The Bee's 2011 Offensive Player of the Year who broke some of Graves' state single-season passing marks.
--James Sample of Grant has transferred from Washington to American River, where the safety hopes a healed shoulder leads to a fresh start.
--Return specialist Jackson Cummings of Rocklin and safety Jordan Richards of Folsom had strong showings in Stanford spring drills. Richards could garner preseason All-America mention.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.