Ray Gargus

Ray Gargus

  • Year Inducted : 2012
  • Sport : Official

About Inductee


The late Ray Gargus is fondly remembered as one of the premier officials in the history of the North Alabama Football Officials Association. A former football player at Emma Sansom High School in Gadsden, Gargus joined the Navy and served on the USS Osborn during the Korean War. Shortly after his discharge, he married the former Mary Anne Pruett of Gadsden in 1955. They lived in Gadsden until 1974 when Gargus took a job as a computer specialist at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. He began officiating high school football in 1976 and later became executive director of the North Alabama association. Over the years, he called more than 1,200 high school football games in North Alabama, including three state championship games in 3A, 4A and 6A. In a 1992 newspaper interview in The Huntsville Times, Gargus defined himself and his fellow high school officiating brethren this way: What weve all got in common is a love of the game and of young people. I have two pet peeves. One is an official whos on an ego trip. The other is an official who gets in it for the money. A man whos in it for the money needs to look for a part-time job. Officiating football is not a part-time job. In a 1999 newspaper story, he said: What a lot of people dont understand is since they played football, they think they know the game. They might know the game, but they dont understand officiating. Theres a lot of study involved. In a 1990 story published in The Times, Gargus was asked what manner of men routinely subject themselves to public ridicule, or even risk physical violence, for $35 a game? Who are we? Were all kinds of guys from all walks of life, he said. Why do we do it? Because we have an interest in athletics and an interest in kids, and because its a way to stay involved in the game. In 1994, Gargus was the proud recipient of the Joe Wilkerson Award, presented annually to the North Alabama Associations Official of the Year. After Gargus died of cancer in 2010, the award was renamed the Wilkerson-Gargus Award. Former fellow official Mark Russell, who nominated Gargus for the Hall of Fame, said: Ray told me numerous times that most people want to complain about the youth in America instead of getting involved and helping the youth be the best they can be. Ray believed a person can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. He always wanted to be a part of the solution. Gargus, a longtime member of Weatherly Heights Baptist Church, was also involved in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He and Mary Anne had two children: Stephen, a retired dentist, and Beverly, who died in 1989. There are four grandchildren: Emma, John, Alex and Katherine.

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