RACINE, Wis. — Bob Kanaby, retired executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), has been named by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) as its 2018 Mel Narol Medallion Award recipient.
Kanaby, who resides in Hilton Head, S.C., will receive the award during the Celebrate Officiating Gala at the annual NASO Sports Officiating Summit. This year’s Summit will be July 29-31 at the New Orleans Marriott.
The award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the betterment of NASO. Contributions might include, but are not limited to, organizational leadership, education and training and promotion of officiating.
The Medallion Award is named after Narol, longtime officiating legal advocate and NASO leader. He received the award posthumously in 2003 and the award was then renamed to honor him. Fittingly, Kanaby knew Narol well. Both were influential in the New Jersey sports officiating community.
“He was an outstanding role model to both sports and the officials who worked them,” said Kanaby. “He knew the things that were important to high school athletes. I’m very honored and humbled by all this. Just a wonderful honor.”
Kanaby was executive director of the NFHS from 1993-2010. During his tenure, he was known for promoting the education of high school coaches and his ongoing mission of protecting and promoting a positive education-based culture in high school sports.
Under his watch, there was an increased effort by NFHS to rid prep sports of steroid use, as well as programs maintaining amateurism and preserving Friday nights for high school football.
Kanaby was and remains a major advocate for citizenship issues being a major part of high school activity programs, starting the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance while at NFHS.
Barry Mano, NASO president and founder, said Kanaby is eminently deserving of the award, thanking him for his imagination and forethought in reaching out to NASO many years ago.
“Bob extended his hand to NASO and Referee magazine, and to me personally, at a time when our organizations were viewed as on very different wavelengths,” said Mano. “His openness and respect came through very quickly and that caused me to take a fresh look at how we were conducting ourselves.
“Bob’s statesmanship led the way to our gaining wisdom in dealing with people. He did not have to extend that branch but thank goodness he did. Today, we have a flourishing partnership with the NFHS and wonderful working relationships with virtually every state association. We are in Bob’s debt.”
Kanaby said, “Sports have been a major blessing in my life — to do what I was able to do as a coach and administrator and then take it to a national level. I’ve always thought the real lesson of sport is to develop athletes and help them become good citizens in the hope they add to society and pass that message onward in their day-to-day life. Sports should help high school athletes become the best people they can be.”