1890 – 1968
Charter Inductee – 1961
Ernest A. Thomas of Carbondale (Kansas) helped organize the Kansas State High school Activities Association in 1927 and was named the first Executive Secretary for the organization. He held the position for 30 years until his retirement in 1957. He introduced many new features into the state athletic program, such as registering officials and requiring them to attend statewide rules and officiating clinics. Often referred to as “The Czar,” Thomas pioneered strict rules on all forms of high school athletics including eliminating 21-year olds from high school competition and toughening the rules regarding the transfer of athletes from one school to another. He organized music festivals, speech and drama festivals, journalism and student council conferences, debate clinics and leadership training programs for high school students. He was one of the longest-serving referees and official starters at high school and college track meets throughout Kansas. Thomas also served 29 years on the national track and field rules committee and was president of the national football rules committee. From 1913 to 1918, Thomas was superintendent of schools at Quenemo (KS) High School. He later served as superintendent at Hartford and Williamsburg High Schools before taking over as the first Executive Secretary of the KSHSAA. Born March 23, 1890 – Carbondale, Kansas. Died April 28, 1968. Graduated Carbondale (KS) H.S.; Washburn University.