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Baynes inducted in officals hall of fame

By Michael Butler

There are now two Baynes in the Alabama Sports Officials Hall of Fame. Rusty Baynes was inducted with the 2022 Class at a ceremony on Aug. 6 at the Oxford Civic Center. His father Ronnie was in the inaugural class of 2019.

"To be voted on by my peers is very special to me. It means a lot. I'm grateful. I'm humbled," Rusty said of the honor. "I work hard at it. My whole family works hard at it."

Ronnie Baynes was a coach at Tallassee High School when he started officiating in the Southeastern Conference. His boys were young tykes then. Today, Rusty, Mark and Allen are in the same business. Rusty and Allen are in the NFL officiating like their father who preceded them. Mark is working at the college level.

Rusty's most memorable officiating 'moment' was when all four worked the same game.

"We only got to do one game together," he said. "That was a scrimmage at UAB. I was the referee. Allen was the back judge. Mark was the umpire. Dad was the line judge."

The Baynes Bunch (from left): Rusty, Ronnie, Allen, Mark

Rusty has 26 years in the business including work not just with football but also baseball and basketball. His first job was in baseball with the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Both Rusty and Mark played collegiate baseball at AUM. Since joining the NFL, Rusty has officiated in three Super Bowls.

"Officiating has influenced the other areas of my life," he said. "It's taught me several things that I otherwise wouldn't have learned. When we do make mistakes, how do we recover from those mistakes? Football officiating parallels that with all the things we do in life."