Stout, a native of Mountain City, is among 12 individuals who will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame June 30 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 37th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be a part of the 100th NFHS Annual Summer Meeting. Stout, who died on August 18, 2017 at the age of 96, will be inducted posthumously.
Stout officiated high school football and basketball from 1946 until 1992. During that time he refereed 18 district tournaments and 12 regional tournaments for the association. He served as the official’s supervisor for Region 1 football and basketball from 1990 until 2000.
Stout was instrumental in many areas other than on the field and court. He served as mayor of Mountain City for 19 years and a park in Johnson County bears his name.
He started the inaugural training program for TSSAA in District I for beginning officials. He conducted the training for one hour prior to regular meetings. He served as the rule interpreter for high schools and colleges in 10 different states.
He also served as an official at the collegiate level for many years. He was a football referee for the Southern Conference and Volunteer State Athletic Conference for over a decade each. He was a college basketball referee for over 20 years and worked in the SEC, ACC, Ohio Valley Conference, Southern Conference and the Volunteer State Athletic Conference. Stout also had a one-year stint as a referee in the NBA. He worked the NCAA basketball Division I tournament nine times, the Division II tournament seven times and the Division III tournament four times.
His accolades and awards are many, including being inducted into the Naismath Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1968), TSSAA Hall of Fame (1984), Northeast Hall of Fame (1989), Lincoln Memorial University Hall of Fame (1989), and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (1992).
“We are extremely happy for Ralph’s family,” stated Bernard Childress, Executive Director of TSSAA. “He was such a well-known and respected official in Tennessee, and not just at the high school level, but at all levels. Ralph Stout made so many contributions in both basketball and football throughout his officiating career. We are honored to have him represent our state as an inductee into the National High School Hall of Fame. This is a very proud moment for the state of Tennessee and TSSAA, but most of all, it’s a proud moment for Ralph’s family. We appreciate all of his years of service to TSSAA, its member schools, and the student athletes that he had an impact on. He is greatly missed.”
Previous Tennessee inductees former Hampton and Dobyns-Bennett basketball coach Buck Van Huss, and Rick Insell, who won 10 state titles with the Shelbyville Central girls program before becoming head coach of Middle Tennessee State. Current University of Memphis coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Tennessee Lady Vols star Nikki McCray-Penson, and former Science Hill standout and national championship winning coach Steve Spurrier have all been inducted as athletes from Tennessee.