National Association Of Sports Officials - Press Release
For Release February 10, 2017
Gold Whistle Award - Ralph Swearngin

RACINE, Wis. — Ralph Swearngin, Perry, Ga., former executive director of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), has been selected by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) as the recipient of this year’s Gold Whistle Award. The award, which is officiating’s highest honor, will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 1, in Louisville, Ky., during the Celebrate Officiating Gala, which wraps up the 2017 Sports Officiating Summit.

“He was such an easy and unanimous choice for the awards committee and for approval by the NASO board,” said NASO President Barry Mano. “He exemplifies each criteria we have set for receiving the Gold Whistle.”

Swearngin was with the GHSA for 24 years, the last 21 as executive director. He served in many roles for the NFHS, including a term on that body’s board of directors and the hall of fame screening committee. He was a longtime member of the football rules committee and was a past chair of the softball rules committee. He was also a board member for the American Association of Adapted Sport Programs.

A retired football official, Swearngin has dedicated his life to the betterment of officials and officiating. He is the author of The Inner Game Of Officiating: It’s All About You, which provides necessary insight guaranteed to help any official succeed and achieve their goals.

“His work on behalf of high school officials as the executive director of the Georgia High School Association was as a beacon for all high school associations,” Mano said. “His work on behalf of all of us in officiating, including the four years served as a member of the NASO board, put an exclamation mark on his career of promoting, nurturing and paying attention to the needs of officials.

The Gold Whistle Award is presented annually by NASO. Those considered are individuals or groups that have made significant contributions to the betterment of officiating, exhibit a high degree of integrity and ethics and other qualities that are held in high regard by the industry. Candidates must have a consistent record of presenting officiating in a positive light as well as exhibiting a “service above self” attitude. Public service to officiating, having a motivating effect on others and/or strong community involvement are considered.

The previous Gold Whistle Award recipients:

1988 — Art McNally
1989 — Ed Myer (deceased)
1990 — Pete Pavia (deceased)
1991 — Larry Barnett
1992 — Jim Tunney
1993 — Steve Palermo
1994 — Ron Asselstine
1995 — Ed Hightower
1996 — Bernie Saggau
1997 — Ted Butcher (deceased)
1998 — Durwood Merrill (deceased)
1999 — Tommy Nunez
2000 — Tom Dooley
2001 — Paul Stewart
2002 — Larry Young
2003 — Bob Delaney
2004 — Bob McElwee
2005 — John W. Keys (deceased)
2006 — Blow the Whistle on Cancer Campaign
2007 — Jerry Markbreit
2008 — Marcy Weston
2009 — Mills Lane
2010 — Emily Alexander
2011 — Esse Baharmast
2012 — Terry Gregson
2013 — Bill LeMonnier
2014 — Joe Crawford
2015 — Marcia Alterman
2016 — Ron Foxcroft

Contact: Bill Topp
Chief Operating Officer
Referee Magazine/National Association of Sports Officials

The National Association of Sports Officials is the world’s largest organization for sports officials at every level and all sports. More than 22,000 sports officials from around the world belong to NASO, enjoying member benefits and supporting an organization that advocates for sports officials and that helps them maintain the highest level of officiating skills.

Referee is a magazine written from an officiating perspective since 1976. Referee is the journal of record for officiating and takes informed positions on selected issues.


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