The 37th Hall of Fame ceremony, which will include 12 inductees, will take place on the third day of the 100th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
In Stout’s 65 years with the TSSAA, he spent 45 years as a football and basketball official and 20 years as TSSAA supervisor and commissioner of officials in both sports before retiring in 2010.
Stout, a Mountain City native, had a reputation for complete knowledge of the rules, which he acquired by studying the football and basketball rules books day and night — literally. He read the rule books in the morning before getting out of bed, at the breakfast table, while he worked at the family jewelry store and at night before retiring for sleep.
Stout began his high school football officiating career in the fall of 1945 and officiated his first basketball game in 1946. He earned the respect of coaches, players and spectators because of his superb knowledge of the game and authoritative administration of the rules.
In addition to the hundreds of regular-season games he officiated during his 46 years, Stout also worked many postseason contests in both sports, including state championship games in football and numerous state tournaments in basketball.
During his 40-plus years as an active official, Stout officiated college football at several levels, including the Southern Conference for 14 years and the Volunteer State Athletic Conference for 12 years. In basketball, he worked for the Ohio Valley Conference, the Southern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference. Stout was selected to officiate the ACC tournament seven times and the SoCon tournament 12 times.
Among his top experiences as a college basketball official was officiating a game involving LSU and its star player, Pete Maravich, when Maravich broke the all-time NCAA career scoring record.
After retiring as an active official in the early 1990s, Stout became even more involved through his role as supervisor of officials, both for the TSSAA and the Ohio Valley Conference. He annually drove more than 45,000 miles and wore out seven cars in his supervisory role for 20 years. His rules expertise extended beyond Tennessee; he regularly provided interpretations in 10 states and annually proofed the NFHS Basketball and Football Rule Books before printing. Stout also started the first TSSAA training program in District 1 for beginning officials.
When he wasn’t traveling to officiate contests in the early years or supervise games in his later years, Stout operated the family business in Mountain City — Allen M. Stout & Son Jewelers — for more than 70 years. And, for 19 years, Stout was mayor of Mountain City.
Among his many honors, Stout has been inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Northeast Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He won the SoCon’s Silver Whistle Award five times, and the 30-acre park in Mountain City is named Ralph Stout Park.
Stout was born on April 14, 1921, in Mountain City and died on Aug. 18, 2017, at the age of 97. He and his wife of 75 years, Margie, had five children, 12 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 482.
The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and education leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.
Other inductees in the 2019 class:
ATHLETES: Derrick Brooks, football, Pensacola (Florida) Washington High School; Dusty Baker, football, basketball, baseball, and track and field, Sacramento (California) Del Campo High School; Damon Bailey, basketball, Bedford (Indiana) North Lawrence High School; Seimone Augustus, basketball, Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Capitol High School; and Tracey Fuchs, field hockey, Centereach (New York) High School.
COACHES: D.W. Rutledge, football, Converse (Texas) Judson High School; Jerry Boatner, baseball, Collinsville (Mississippi) West Lauderdale High School; and Joe Gilbert, multisport coach, Barnsdall (Oklahoma) High School.
ADMINISTRATORS: Bob Gardner, executive director, National Federation of State High School Associations, Indianapolis, Indiana; and Charles W. Whitten (D), chief executive officer, National Federation of State High School Associations, Chicago.
CONTRIBUTOR: Ginny Honomichl, state and national coaching leader, Baldwin City (Kansas) High School, Baldwin City, Kansas.