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AHSAA Southwest District Football Director Robert Lose presents Baynes with his Hall of Fame plaque

Another Baynes enshrined

By Michael Butler

It has become a Baynes family tradition - entering the Hall of Fame. On Saturday, Aug. 5, Allen Baynes became the third in the family line to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Officials Hall of Fame.

Like his father Ronnie and older brother Rusty, Allen was introduced in Oxford among an elite class in the officiating profession. Ronnie was enshrined with the inaugural class in 2019. Rusty became a part of the 2022 class last year.

Ronnie was also inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

"It's a tremendous honor to join my brother Rusty and father Ronnie," Allen said. "I grew up in a house with a father who officiated, so it's easy to say my father had a big impact on my life and officiating career."

Allen has 28 years of football officiating under his belt, 14 with the National Football Leauge. He has served in the high school and college ranks as well. He also spent three years as a high school baseball umpire. When he was called up to the NFL, he became the league's second youngest official at age 30.

"Working with my brothers and dad at a UAB spring game years ago is still my favorite moment," he said. "It's one of the few times I was on the field with my dad and brother Mark."

Allen praised the work of Mark, who still lives in Tallassee and officiates on the college level in the Sun Belt Conference.

"I've had NFL friends grade Mark's games who have told me he is much better than Rusty and me. I can't argue with them."

Rusty, like Allen, is also in the NFL.

"Rusty and I were fortunate to work several games together including the last Blue-Gray All-Star Game. Watching from home, dad was worried that two brothers were going to get in a fist fight on the field if we didn't agree on a call. We had a tight catch in that game and luckily we agreed on the ruling and got it right. No brotherly fist fights on ESPN that day."

In his induction video, Allen added a comment on what he has learned over the last two-plus decades on the field.

"In the intense environment we work in, you learn to enjoy the fun times and learn from the tough times the game gives you. Officiating is the best way to stay in the competition of the game and meet some of the best friends you will ever have. They will be with you throughout your lifetime and well past the last whistle."

Members of the family who were able to attend the ceremony