Entire football crew now in TSSAA Hall of Fame
By C.Y. Peters
This Saturday TSSAA Shelby Miller will be inducted into the states Hall of Fame in Murfreesboro. All six members of Ralph Stouts Crew from Region 1 officials are now in the TSSAA Hall of Fame. Not sure this has happened anywhere else in the state, for an entire crew to be inducted one by one in the state’s highest accomplishment.
Shelby Miller is among only nine making the Hall this year. Miller’s hard work and dedication to the athletes of East Tennessee. Miller has been a football official for 55 years and was a basketball referee for 25-years. He officiated 17 District, 16 Regionals, 11-Sub-States, and 2 TSSAA state tournaments. He has been selected to work football playoffs for 42 consecutive years. Miller has officiated five state football championships ( 1985, 1992, 1995, 2008, 2019) and is still active as a head linesman. Miller has already won the A.F. Bridges award as Official of the year. He was inducted into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 2017. Miller graduated in 1963 from Happy Valley High School playing several sports. Larry Hutchins officiated football for 35 years and worked numerous playoff games. He worked four TSSAA State Football Championship games and was the line judge in the 1992 and 1995 state championships, and was the referee in the 1999 football championship game. In his 30 plus years as a basketball official, he worked four TSSAA State Tournaments—three boys’ and one girl.’ Ralph Stout was inducted in 1984, He was an official for 47 years from 1946 until 1993. Ralph was the assigning officer for basketball and football in Region 1. He was also a supervisor for many years. Ralph was a college official, he worked for the Ohio Valley and Southern Conference. In 1974 he officiated a series of games between the United States and the Soviet Union. He officiated many NCAA games, NAIA Regional, and National tournament games.
Ernest “Blackcat” Rasar was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 1994. He was a principal for 18 years from 1962 until 1980 and school Superintendent from 1988-1993. He officiated football and basketball for 40 years. Blackcat was a member of the 1938 Elizabethton High School state football championship team. He officiated the state title game in 1978. He also officiated the state championship basketball game in 1961.
William “BillyBob” Garrison was inducted in 2010, he participated at Elizabethton High School athletics from 1951-1955, He was a three-time All-Big Five Conference performer (twice on the second team, once on the first team) and two-time Elizabethton Star All-County selection (once on the first team, once on the second team). Billybob was voted to the Maryville all-tournament team as a sophomore. He worked in six-state baseball tournaments and served for 20 years as a basketball supervisor. Also worked regional basketball and baseball tournaments, as well as several football playoff games. Bob was long a fixture umpiring church and industrial league softball games. The softball field beside the jail is named in his honor. He played two seasons of Class D ball. Spent 1955 with Welch/Marion and Bluefield of the Appalachian League — then 1956 with Fitzgerald of the Georgia-Florida League.
Charles McConnell was inducted in 2002. He officiated for over 37 years and worked numerous playoff games. He officiated two state championship games, one girl’s title, and many District, Regional, and Sub-state games. Mr. McConnell has also officiated at the college level in the Ohio Valley Conference, Southeastern Conference, and the Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference. He was inducted into the Northeast Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 for his accomplishments on and off the athletic field. The Class of 2020 will now be inducted on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The induction ceremony is set to begin at 11:00 a.m. CST.
Those being inducted at this year’s luncheon are: Barbara Daush, administrator from Memphis; Turner Jackson, administrator from Cleveland; Clint Parnell, administrator from Nashville; Bobby Alston, coach from Memphis; Buck Coatney, coach from Knoxville; Carolyn Jackson, coach from Chattanooga; Jeff Morris, coach from Milan; Shelby Miller, official from Elizabethton; and the late Marion Wilhoite, contributor from Columbia.
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