Louis Stout, who lived a notable sporting life in Kentucky as an athlete, coach, official and administrator, died Sunday morning at St. Joseph Hospital from what the family called a "heart incident."
Mr. Stout was 73.
He was best known for his 30-year tenure with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
He became KHSAA commissioner in 1994, the first black in the nation to head a state high school athletic association. He stayed in that position until he retired in 2002.
"Louis really was a kid-centered person," KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said. "Some of the things I do today in my position are a direct reflection of his philosophy.
"He believed in making opportunities for kids, and whether it made adults happy or not was irrelevant. If the kids were getting the benefit, that's what was most important."
Brigid DeVries, who succeeded Mr. Stout as KHSAA commissioner, said he had "a larger-than-life personality."
She said Mr. Stout never shied away from addressing tough issues, including the implementation of Title IX, which brought equal athletic opportunities to high school girls.
"We traveled the state to educate our members about it, and it wasn't easy all the time. But he took the bull by the horns," she said.
DeVries noted that Mr. Stout was a role model for blacks and a mentor to many young people.
"One thing that he impressed on me was that when the door was shut, we just went around it," she said. "He was very good at that."
Mr. Stout wasn't idle in retirement. He had been involved in the Amateur Athletic Union, or AAU, for three decades before becoming its national president in 2011.
"At his age, he still answered the call to take on the job of restoring the reputation of the AAU, which was not an easy thing to do," Tackett said. "But he decided that organization was valuable enough to kids for him to help.
"He died still doing what he loved doing — helping kids."
James Parker, director of operations for the AAU, praised Mr. Stout for his dedication to kids.
"He often said that having the opportunity to positively impact young people's lives was a far greater reward than winning a game, trophy or ribbon," Parker said. "That gold-medal approach to life will be his enduring legacy."
Mr. Stout was born in Cynthiana and was an all-state basketball player at Cynthiana High School. He made the Sweet Sixteen's all-tournament team in 1958.
He played college basketball under Joe B. Hall, another Cynthiana native, at Regis College in Denver.
"He was one of my best friends," Hall said. "We were very close since I first met him and coached him.
"For me at Regis, he was a sensational player, and he went on to achieve so much in his short life.
"It was amazing. He rose to the top of everything he was part of."
Mr. Stout coached basketball at the old Dunbar High School and at Tates Creek High School before joining the KHSAA in 1971.
His varied interests were reflected in the honors he received. He was inducted into the National Federation of High Schools' Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, the AAU Hall of Fame, the AAU Softball Umpire Hall of Fame and the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame.
Mr. Stout also was involved in the media in helping to promote the KHSAA, whether it was co-hosting the Scholastic Ball Report on television or co-hosting a Friday night scoreboard show on the radio.
He also got interested in photography and was an avid golfer.
"Louis did not limit himself," Tackett said. "He tried a little bit of everything."
Mr. Stout is survived by his wife, Anna; their son, Juan; and two grandchildren.
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Sept. 11, 2012