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Louis Stout, former KHSAA commissioner, dies at 73, hailed as pioneer and great leader

Louis Stout, who served as the fifth Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association from 1994-2002, passed away early Sunday morning following a brief illness.

“Words cannot begin to express what Louis meant to this organization or the impact he made on those he came in contact with during his 30 plus years of service to the KHSAA,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “Not only was he a pioneer but he had a unique vision that continued the KHSAA on the course to the organization we are today. He possessed two characteristics of a great leader – he wasn’t afraid to take chances and he fought tirelessly for increased opportunities for students, sometimes in the face of overwhelming opposition. I had the pleasure of working with him for nearly 20 years and today not only have I lost a dear friend, colleague and mentor but the Association and the Commonwealth has lost one of its greatest ambassadors. It will be a long time, if ever, before we see someone like him again.”

Stout was named the fifth Commissioner of the KHSAA on July 1, 1994, after serving as executive assistant commissioner for two years and assistant commissioner for 21 years. Stout was the first African-American in the nation to head a state high school athletic association and was the fifth individual to serve as commissioner of the Association, following Billy V. Wise (1991-94), Tom Mills (1976-91), Joe Billy Mansfield (1972-76) and Ted Sanford (1947-72). As assistant and executive assistant commissioner, Stout handled day-to-day management of the sports of baseball, cross country, soccer, wrestling and softball. He also conducted rules clinics, recruited workers and officials and managed state tournament competition in those sports. He served on numerous national committees for the National Federation of High School Association from rules to governance.

During his time as commissioner, Stout saw growth in girls’ sports with the switch to fastpitch softball in 1995 and increased participation in volleyball and soccer. His vision allowed the addition of the Association’s technology presence on the World Wide Web in 1995 with the creation of its website and was the leader in the formation of a “Middle School Program” for the boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments to allow sponsors to purchase discounted tickets to be provided to middle school students. To date, corporate partners have purchased tens of thousands of tickets for local area middle school students whom otherwise might never have a chance to witness the boys’ or girls’ state basketball tournaments. Stout retired as commissioner on June 30, 2002.

“Louis’ time here at the KHSAA was at a time of massive change,” Tackett said. “His passion helped maintain and then grow our wrestling program, and his management of his other sports was always consistent. But it’s his leadership strength that was the most valuable. At a time when we were fully implementing the 1971 federal court order, he was the ideal person to add to our staff and help provide direction, his emphasis on kids first was a consistent theme. He modeled the ideal that if you offered good things for kids, even if adults weren’t always happy, we would all be better off. Our thoughts remain with his beautiful wife Anna and his proudest accomplishment, his son Juan. We lost a friend, I lost a long-time friend, mentor and colleague, but they suffered the most difficult loss.”

Stout was also well-known nationally as chairman of Kentucky AAU/USA Junior Olympic Basketball from 1982-90 and commissioner for the Great Lakes Valley Conference from 1979-82. At the time of his passing he was serving as the president of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) of the United States taking over the leadership role of that organization when his strength, leadership and guidance were needed most. A Kentucky native, Stout graduated from Cynthiana High School in 1959 where he received first-team All-America and All-State honors in basketball. He earned a scholarship to Regis College in Denver, Colorado, where he played for former University of Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall. After earning his teaching certificate in 1963, he began his career as teacher and athletic director at Lookout Mountain School for Boys in Golden, Colorado.

In 1965, he returned to Lexington as head boys’ basketball coach at Dunbar High School, succeeding legendary coach S. T. Roach. In two seasons, he compiled a 37-15 record, including two district titles before the school closed. In 1967, he became a teacher and assistant coach for Tates Creek High School in Lexington. Following theretirement of boys’ basketball coach Dick Jones, Stout was named coach of the Commodores in 1969. In two years at the helm, his teams compiled a 33-14 record, capturing district titles in 1970 and 1971.

He was inducted in many Halls of Fame including the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame, the ASA Hall of Fame, the Regis University Hall of Fame and the AAU Hall of Fame.

Stout is survived by his wife Anna and their son Juan.


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