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 8 AM and 4:30 PM.
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,
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.
Thirty-five years ago, Barbara Rosato stepped in to volunteer with the Western Howard County Youth Basketball program. She has served the organization in many capacities including primary leader, officer and administrative director. She has registered players, answered questions, bought and distributed uniforms, collected and deposited checks and paid referees. In 35 years, she has overseen the move from paper registration to online registration. Barbara is a treasured resource and an inspiration to all. With her never-ending smile and can-do attitude, she has put in tens of thousands of hours and is WHCYB’s longest-serving volunteer.
One name is synonymous with tennis in Howard County – Shantha Chandra. Since Ms. Chandra moved to the county in 1998, she has taught more than 7,000 children and 300 adults how to play tennis. As a United States Tennis Association-certified instructor, Ms. Chandra has championed the Quick-Start tennis teaching method and has given children and adults of all backgrounds and skills a chance to learn the game. Beyond teaching, she advocates for inclusion in the sport and organizes grassroots efforts to collect equipment to donate to the County’s elementary and middle schools. Ms. Chandra created the Multi-Cultural Children’s Tennis Association and has served as Diversity and Inclusion Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Section of the USTA. In 2003, she received a Lifetime Service Award from the USTA’s Mid-Atlantic Section.
When Charles “Bernie” Dennison began with the Howard County Youth Program (HCYP) in 1982, he set in motion more than three decades of outstanding service to youth sports in the county. Bernie has served many roles with HYCP, from coach to director. On early Saturday mornings, he has tended to fields and worked to provide scholarships to at-risk student athletes. In 1992, he founded the Howard Youth Basketball Association, a Friday program that at times has had more than 2,000 children participating. That same year, he began one of the first summer basketball programs in the area, the High Flyer Camp at Centennial High School. Mr. Dennison has also coached AAU basketball and helped organize the first AAU tournament in the county.
To Allen Fleming, sports are a vehicle to prepare boys and girls for the rest of their lives. He cherishes the moment when a 10-year-old he once coached, who is now a college graduate and teacher, sneaks up behind him on the sidelines and gives him a bear hug. He loves hearing a well-dressed young man on Capitol Hill recognize his old coach and says, “Hello.” Mr. Fleming is a Pittsburgh native who moved to Howard County and became a County athletic participant, referee, parent, coach and much more. In 1993 he began an independent baseball team, the Columbia Angels, which he coached for five years. The following year he became president and coach for the Howard County Trojans Youth Football (now called the Terps). In 1999, he became the founder, director and coach of the CCC Warriors Football program and helped develop a new league, the Central Maryland Football and Cheer (CMFC). The CMFC merged to become the Mid-Maryland Football and Cheer League, the largest youth football and cheerleading league in Maryland.
During Howard County First Tee program’s infancy, Vernon Gray would witness first-hand when each child successfully hit their golf ball into the air off a tee. To see their joy and their parents’ excitement was validation enough for his hard work in bringing the program to the county. While serving as a member of the National First Tee Advisory Board in 1997, Mr. Gray secured a $100,000 grant to begin a First Tee program in Howard County, one of the first six worldwide (there are now more than 600 First Tee programs worldwide). Mr. Gray made Fairway Hills the home of the program and what once served fewer than 100 kids now serves more than 600 participants each year. As a member of the Howard County Council, he strongly supported, advocated, and voted for the building of the Timber at Troy Golf Course.
Rockburn Branch Park teems with athletic events on trails, courts and sports fields. Art McGinnis envisioned such a sight when he set out to get the infrastructure that county’s recreational sports needed. Mr. McGinnis co-founded the Elkridge Adult Athletic Association in 1983 and later became its co-director and president. He led a community effort and worked tirelessly to build the fields and lights. The first achievements were the ball diamonds, on which Mr. McGinnis played the first softball game. Next the multipurpose fields and lights, on which Mr. McGinnis coached the first nighttime lacrosse game. In addition to being an advocate for upgrading the infrastructure, he has coached hundreds of youngsters in lacrosse, softball, basketball, and soccer. Mr. McGinnis also served as the first president of the Howard County Recreation Alliance.
When the Special Olympics of Howard County looked like it would become inactive in 1998, Marilyn Miceli and three other parent volunteers formed a leadership team to ensure it would continue for years to come. It was one of many acts during her two decades of service to the organization that has ensured it has not only survived, but thrived. Ms. Miceli became a certified volunteer in 1994 and was named assistant director, in 2000. She organized Howard County’s first Special Olympics softball tournament, now the state’s premier Special Olympics softball competition. She is the chairperson for the annual fundraiser, the Inspiration Walk, which has raised more than $900,000 since 2002. In 1999, Special Olympics Maryland honored Marilyn as Volunteer of the Year. She continues to volunteer 35 hours a week; and has already volunteered over 22,620 hours.
Linda Alford's competitive baton twirling club, the Dynamics, made its debut in a Fourth of July parade in 1976. Since then, the Dynamics have represented Howard County and Maryland across the globe, winning 10 world championships and 94 national team titles. Her twirlers have won individual titles including Miss Majorette of America and Grand National Twirling Champion. Over the years, “Miss Linda” has instilled in hundreds of young athletes, from age 3 to young adults, the desire to achieve excellence in their sport and in all aspects of their lives. She has emphasized the need for them to be young ladies with high goals and high ideals. She has been their coach, their role model and their mentor.