Howard County Recreation and Parks is proud to sponsor the Community Sports Hall of Fame. This Hall of Fame serves as a public museum to educate the public in regard to the cultural, historical and personal contributions and achievements of the community of Howard County in respect to community sports.
The Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, along with an independent committee of individuals from the local sports community, inducted the first members of the Hall of Fame in the Fall of 2005. The Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame was established in 2005 as a way to honor outstanding persons, living or deceased, who have gained notable and / or have made substantial contributions to Howard County citizens in local community recreational sports.
Nominations for the HC Community Sports Hall of Fame are accepted on an annual basis; please click here for a nomination form, or contact Mike Blevins at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the form, please provide the Hall of Fame Committee with an essay (limited to 4 typed, double spaced pages) demonstrating the nominee's community sport background. Please be sure to include all relevant information.
Nominees must have contributed to the community of Howard County, but need not have lived in the county during their contributions.
To see the Community Sports Hall of Fame, please stop by Recreation & Parks Headquarters located at 7120 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21046, Monday through Friday, between 8am and 4:30pm.
Celebration of Sports
Rich Francis became involved in Howard County Youth Program (HCYP) softball in 1995 as a coach for his daughter’s 8U HCYP team. Over the last 23 years and counting, the Howard County resident has provided guidance and leadership to Howard County athletes. Francis – in his role as a coach, softball commissioner (2000-2002), and advisor to the HCYP Softball Committee (starting in 2002) – has helped train and encourage generations of softball and baseball players. He continues to provide crucial advice and perspective to the softball organization as a valued member of HCYP Softball Advisory Board.
In addition to his work with HCYP, Francis has volunteered and umpired in the Maryland Special Olympics’ annual softball tournament for the past 17 years. One of Francis’ favorite memories was being able to work as an umpire during the tournament with his son Kevin, who acted as field umpire.
Francis feels proud to be nominated to the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, joining a number of his mentors in the field of coaching and umpiring. “In many instances, I just took over where they left off and try to continue to help the young athletes” he says. In turn, he feels proud watching students he has coached over the years carry on this tradition and become softball coaches or umpires themselves.
Volunteer and Howard County resident Bobby Farace has helped lead the Howard County Vipers wrestling team to victories both off and on the mat. In his tenure as head travel coach, Bobby has tirelessly led weekday practices and weekend tournaments. As both a coach and role model, he knows that discipline, respect and self-confidence are more important than any single victory. His coaching has instilled his team with work ethic and interpersonal skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Bobby has been the head/assistant coach for both the Wilde Lake Recreational Vipers Wrestling Team (for 3 years) and the Howard County Vipers Travel/Advanced Team (for 10 years).
Farace’s fondest memories during his time as coach include seeing both of his sons win state titles with the Howard County Vipers Program and watching (River Hill State Champion) Sam Johnson accomplish his team goals during his 7th grade year.
When asked to share with the committee his proudest accomplishments/contributions to community sports in Howard County, Farace stated “I enjoy giving back to the community through a sport that I love so much. Howard County has given so much to me and my family that it feels great to give back and help be a positive role model and force in the lives of so many kids.”
Since 1999, Kathy Reed has done everything from organizing tournaments to coaching teams and negotiating with food vendors for Western Howard County’s baseball and softball programs. Kathy has worked tirelessly to bring a sense of community, fellowship and sportsmanship to each Saturday game day at Western Regional Park. Whether she’s working to ensure a player can afford to participate in a program or grilling hot dogs for hungry spectators at a game, Kathy’s nearly 20-year commitment to the program is unmistakable and astounding.
When asked of her proudest accomplishments or contributions to Howard County community sports, Reed lists working with her fellow volunteers to transition the Rec Softball Program from modified slow pitch to fast pitch, including the creation of player and coaching clinics in cooperation with high school and travel players. “The younger players got a kick out of being coached by the older girls in their fancy uniforms and those girls enjoyed the admiration from the little ones” said Reed.
Reed’s best memories of Western Howard County’s baseball and softball programs always center on the kids she’s spent time with as a coach, director or concession worker. She emphasizes how happy the program makes children, whether playing on the field or helping out on the sidelines. “They are so happy to help out – their delight made the task easier.” For Reed, it was a privilege to belong to an organization that provided children with so many opportunities.
Over the past decade and a half, Bill Sanders has provided essential leadership for the Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO). Bill was instrumental in re-establishing the EYO’s positive perception in the community when it was necessary to re-evaluate its leadership and direction in the early 2000s. Bill has contributed greatly to the success of the EYO Soccer program for the benefit of the players, parents, coaches, and young referees within the organization. EYO soccer has thrived under Bill's leadership. From 691 participants in 2005, Bill has grown the EYO soccer program to over 1,100 players in 2015. Over the past 10 years as the soccer league commissioner, Bill has touched the lives of over 10,000 players in eastern Howard County. Bill has been the recognized authority on the bylaws, policy and procedure, and administration for EYO. He is relied upon for his insight, wisdom, and sense of humor. Many have come and gone in EYO over the last decade, but Bill has been one constant that has kept the organization moving forward in a positive direction.
The Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that was established in 1957. In 1975, Walter Brown saw a need for an organized sports league for girls and, with the help of his friends in the Elkridge Jaycees, organized a softball program to fill this need. Mr. Brown recruited players, coaches and umpires, and helped the program grow until there were at least four teams in several age groups. EYO is still very active today, offering softball, baseball, basketball, tennis and soccer for boys and girls. Mr. Brown continued to coach his girls for many years after they grew too old to play in the youth league. Mr. Brown has spent over 10 years volunteering for the youth organization and several more years volunteering for adult leagues. His program has helped many girls prepare for high school softball and obtain athletic scholarships for college.
Jim May has volunteered over 25 years with the Howard County Youth Program (HCYP). One of his greatest contributions to HCYP was establishing and directing girls fast pitch softball. Jim was the Commissioner of the HCYP Fast Pitch Program for 9 consecutive years and a member of the Board of Directors for 11 years. In 1995, Jim took a fast pitch team to the National Tournament, where they finished 9th in the country. Fast pitch teams have spread throughout the county thanks to Jim’s efforts, and have helped girls take their softball careers beyond high school and into college. His tireless dedication and inspirational leadership has opened the door for hundreds of girls to excel and succeed.
Craig Proffen starting coaching youth soccer in 1987 through 1998. During that time frame, he took State Coaching Licensing courses and successfully became licensed as a National C Coach. In 1994, Craig developed a Junior Referee Program to provide youth referees for matches that gained state and national recognition. In 2001, he became a USSF Instructor and started teaching three to four courses a year, licensing 200-250 new referees per year to serve games in Howard County and the State of Maryland. He is currently the USSF Regional Instructional Coordinator for Howard County and coordinates all referee instruction in Howard County. Craig has volunteered over thirty years of his time in Howard County and has provided invaluable leadership and dedication to sports and refereeing to the county.
The late Carolyn Jones is known to many as the “mom” of girls soccer in Columbia. She was an original board member of the Soccer Association of Columbia and served as a volunteer with the organization from 1971 until her untimely passing in 2002. Carolyn founded the first all-girls SAC soccer team and sparked the formation of Wilde Lake High School’s girls’ soccer program and the Adult Women’s Soccer League. She coached at all levels, shepherded kids to and from practices and games in her white station wagon, and paved the way for the growth of girls soccer in Howard County.
For 23 years, Jeffrey Loveless has served as a volunteer in every role imaginable with the Howard County Youth Program (HCYP). Before computers did the work, Jeff spent many late nights completing baseball and basketball drafts to ensure teams were put together properly and fairly. Even though his children are now adults, Jeff remains a dedicated HCYP volunteer. From vice president to coach, he epitomizes what it means to be a part of youth sports.
Dave Procida got his start with the Soccer Association of Columbia as a coach in 1996, soon after his family moved to Columbia. In 1998, Dave joined SAC’s Board of Directors, a position he held until 2007. Dave made his impact with the association, developing team work among disparate sports organizations in the county to achieve mutually beneficial goals; advocating for financial assistance to provide economically disadvantaged children the opportunity to participate in organized soccer; and helping to bring high-quality soccer fields to Howard County at Covenant Park. Most of all, Dave tirelessly promoted good sportsmanship and a love of soccer. “SAC/HC is a place for all to play and a place where anyone who cares can coach,” Dave said.
Bill Shook founded the Columbia Volleyball Club (CVC) in 1985. At the time, there were very few club volleyball programs in the region. Since its inception, the CVC has grown from 25 players and three coaches to an organization that includes over 100 players on 14 teams with 25 coaches. The mission of the club is to improve skills and to instill in its players the values of team play, individual discipline and good work habits. In 1994, Bill left CVC to coach college volleyball. He returned to the organization in 2015 to coach its 17s Eclipse team. The CVC has served as a feeder program to Howard County’s high school state championship volleyball teams.
Since 1995, Allan Waschak has served many roles with Special Olympics of Howard County, including ensuring the group’s financial stability so it can continue to provide athletic opportunities for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Time after time, Allan stepped up when it looked like the program might become inactive by securing sponsorships and other
funding. Since Allan became fundraising director in 1998, the organization has raised $2.8 million. He has also led the aquatics program since 1995. What started out with eight athletes has grown to include 94 athletes, nine coaches and 34 student volunteers. It is the largest Special Olympics swimming program in the state. Watching the reaction of Special Olympians and their families gives Allan the incentive to keep the program running.
Wanting to play softball, Clifford Crown answered an ad in a local newspaper seeking men 55 years and older for a senior softball pickup program. Cliff soon became the organizer of the group, which had its official debut in April 1994 when 12 men showed up for 55+ softball. Because the number of participants was low the first year, Cliff was forced to be creative. He figured a way to turn 15 players into three teams — five players at bat and 10 in the field. The group played once a week, weather permitting a term defined as 45 degrees or warmer and not raining. As word spread more players joined, including some from nearby counties, and it became necessary to have two separate games. The popularity of the 55+ pickup softball program led to the formation of a Howard County league, which continues to grow. Teams from the league also participate in the Baltimore Beltway Senior Slow Pitch Softball League.
Todd DelTufo has run Howard County Wrestling, Inc. for 11 years. In his work with this non-profit program he has worn wear many hats, including coach, travel team commissioner and president of the organization. Nearly 400 wrestlers participate in Howard County Wrestling, an organization whose mission is to provide the county’s youth the opportunity to experience wrestling in a fun, structured and disciplined environment. Howard County Wrestling offers clinic, recreation and travel programs. Todd teaches the coaches to concentrate on the things they can control in the wresting room — effort, discipline, focus, pride, respect and mental and physical conditioning. He has been tireless in his leadership and commitment to the youth of the community.
Not long after he moved to Howard County in 1997, Jack Milani began his volunteer work with local sports organizations. He first stepped in to assist with the Western Howard County Youth Baseball/Softball league, but it wasn’t long until he was working with other organizations either by coaching or officiating. Jack also helped build new programs. He is one of the founders of the Western Howard County Warhawks (football/cheerleading, wresting and field hockey), the Central Maryland Football and Cheer, the Mid-Maryland Youth Football and Cheer and the Greater Howard County Club Lacrosse organization. Jack has also served as the president of the Howard County Lacrosse Program, a board member for Maryland Youth Lacrosse Association and an advisor to the Patriots Football program. He has worked to create a positive athletic atmosphere for children in the community. His focus is on what you take away from an athletic experience not whether you win or lose. Jack embodies the definition of the word “volunteer.” He is a man who offers himself for any service of his own free will. He is always thinking about someone else.