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Ernie Yarbrough to Receive Mel Narol Medallion


RACINE, Wis. — Ernie Yarbrough, Georgia High School Association (GHSA) assistant executive director and coordinator of officiating, was chosen as the 2024 NASO Mel Narol Medallion Award recipient. The award will be presented in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 30, during the Celebrate Officiating Gala, sponsored by Fox 40 International. The Gala caps off the 2024 Sports Officiating Summit.

“I am truly humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Yarbrough. “The Lord blessed me with 30 years of running the court and another 20-plus trying to give back by creating options and growth for those who have come after me.”

Beside the GHSA, Yarbrough’s formal influence in the sports world has included work in the NFL, USA Softball and the American Basketball League (ABL). He worked in player development for three different NFL franchises over 13 years. For more than 50 years, Yarbrough has been involved in fastpitch softball as a player, coach and administrator. He served as the ABL’s Director of Officiating from 1996-99 and has remained active in officials’ observation for multiple college conferences including the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southern Conference and the Big South Conference.

“Ernie Yarbrough has impacted tens of thousands of officials for more than four decades,” said NASO President Bill Topp. “He is a consistent presence for new and veteran officials and has earned the respect of local, state and national leaders.”

Prior to receiving this Mel Narol Medallion award from NASO, Yarbrough was the 1995 Naismith High School Basketball Official of the Year in Georgia and was a 2023 NFHS Citation recipient, designed to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to high school athletics and activities.

Yarbrough is a longtime NASO member and supporter. During his time with GHSA, he has been involved in historic Sports Officiating Summits held in Atlanta in 2011 and scheduled for July, 2024.

“Ernie helped lead one of the most successful State Day events when we were in Georgia in 2011,” said Topp. “And he’s still doing it, leading our 2024 Officiate Georgia Day efforts as we get ready to head back to Atlanta. NASO is proud of its relationship with Ernie and is eager to recognize him with the Mel Narol Medallion Award.”

Yarbrough noted, “To be part of this fraternity of former Mel Narol Medallion recipients who cared enough to contribute to officiating is an honor beyond what I could have ever imagined.”



The Mel Narol Medallion recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the betterment of NASO. These activities include organizational leadership, education, training, promotion of officiating and other events. The award is named for Mel Narol, a longtime legal columnist and consultant to NASO, who died in 2002. Narol received the award posthumously in 2003, when the Medallion was named in his honor.

Fox 40 International is the premier producer of officiating whistles. The complete line of Fox 40 products includes whistles for all uses, whistle attachments, Fox 40 gear, pro coaching boards, mouthguards and marine/outdoor products. Fox 40 continues to invest in new technology, designs and machinery, resulting in many new products being launched each year. Fox 40 has sponsored the Celebrate Officiating Gala for more than two decades.