Veteran Alabama High School Activities Association (AHSAA) track and field official James “Houston” Young graduated from Livingston University, now the University of West Alabama, in 1968. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of Montevallo. It was at Livingston University where Houston was introduced to track and field. After graduation, he started his teaching career in Alabama in 1968, where he started officiating track events. In 1971 he moved to Selma (AL), and took a job as a driver education teacher, assistant football coach and head track coach. He started a cross country team at the school as well, compiling a dual meet record of 47-6.
Houston has continued his involvement with track and field ever since that first year at Livingston, and currently serves as state meet director for all AHSAA track and field events. He was named AHSAA Southwest District Official of the Year and AHSAA State Track Official of the Year in 2008. Houston received the National High School Federation Citation Award for Officiating in 2010.
His work in track and field has been so respected that he was selected as one of the torch bearers for the 1996 Olympic Games. Young joined nine other bearers in carrying the torch to Atlanta. Most noteworthy perhaps, was that Houston was inducted into the AHSAA Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. Houston currently serves as a starter and official at numerous Southeastern Conference, NCAAA, and Junior Olympic events. He also continues to serve as the Meet Manager for the AHSAA Track and Field State Championships, NAIA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and the Sun Belt Conference Championships.