Track official Young being inducted into hall of fame

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, February 21, 2015

Former Selma High School teacher and Wallace Community College Selma administrator Houston Young will be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next month in Montgomery.

Young, who has served as a track official for nearly five decades, was awarded the National Federation of High schools National Citation Award in 2010, which recognizes the top track officials in the nation. The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s announcement about the hall of fame calls Young “one of the top track coaches in the nation.”

“I was selected for being a track official for so many years,” Young said. “To be an official period and get selected is really quite a thing. I don’t think too many officials get selected.”

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Young still serves as a state track meet director for the AHSAA’s 4A-7A meet in Gulf Shores. He taught at Selma High School from 1971-79 before taking a job at Wallace, where he served for 22 years.

He has served as a track official since 1968. He didn’t run track in high school, but he did in college at Livingston University, which is now the University of West Alabama. Young set the school record in the 100-meter dash and that record still stands today.

“It was natural for me,” Young said. “I was fast and I enjoyed running. I could out run most of my teammates and classmates, and I just enjoyed the sport.”

He also carried the Olympic torch through Selma in 1996.

“To that day, that was the highlight of my life,” Young said.

“All athletes want to go to the pinnacle of their sport — the Super Bowl for football, the World Series for baseball, the Olympics for track and field — and I knew I was never going to get there because I was not that good an athlete. The Olympic torch gave me a chance to get really close to the Olympics.”

The induction ceremony will take place at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery March 23.

Young, who now lives in Fairhope, said Selma Councilman Michael Johnson, who he coached at Selma High, is organizing a group of Young’s former athletes to go to the ceremony.

“I don’t know who all is coming,” Young said. “I told him to surprise me.”