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Howard County announces 2017 “Community Sports Hall of Fame” induction class

July 10, 2017

Media Contacts: 
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
John Byrd, Director, Department of Recreation & Parks, 410-313-4640
Allan Harden, Superintendent, Sports and Adventure Services, Department of Recreation & Parks, 410-313-4652

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – As part of National Park and Recreation Month, Howard County’s Department of Recreation & Parks has unveiled the names of the four newest inductees of the Community Sports Hall of Fame. The Community Sports Hall of Fame honors outstanding individuals who have gained prominence and/or have made a substantial contribution to community sports in Howard County. The 2017 class includes Walter Brown, Jr., Jim May, Bill Sanders and Craig Proffen.

For more than 15 years, Walter Brown, Jr. has been a staple in the Elkridge sports community. He volunteered with the Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO) softball program from 1974 to 1990, where he coached and recruited players, coaches and umpires to participate in the organization. Walter is described as a patient, good natured and honest coach. In addition to fundamentals, he also taught his players important life lessons, emphasizing the importance of good sportsmanship, ethics, integrity, pride and humility. Under his guidance, EYO became and remains a quality and successful program. In addition to his work with the EYO, Walter has also served as a member of the Elkridge Rotary, Elkridge Adult Athletic Association and the Elkridge Jaycees.  

Jim May began volunteering with the Howard County Youth Program (HCYP) in 1982, where he served on the Board of Directors and was Commissioner of the HCYP Fastpitch Program. In 1989, Jim helped establish HCYP’s fastpitch girls travel softball program. Prior to the program, girls had to travel outside Howard County to gain access to nationally ranked travel softball teams. In addition to his work with HCYP softball, Jim has also coached an HCYP football team, a metro-travel baseball team, an intramural baseball team and the offensive- and defensive-lines for Centennial High School’s football team.  Jim was the assistant softball coach at River Hill High School and Marriotts Ridge High School, and was a sports coach at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel. 

Bill Sanders has provided true leadership to the Elkridge Youth Organization (EYO) during the past decade and half. He was instrumental in re-establishing the EYO's positive perception in the community in the early 2000s. As EYO’s soccer league commissioner for the past 10 years, Bill has touched the lives of more than 10,000 soccer players in eastern Howard County and has contributed to the success of EYO’s soccer program. Bill is relied upon for his insight, wisdom and sense of humor, and has been a consistent member throughout the years. He has been a true leader for the organization.

Since 1987, Craig Proffen has volunteered with the Soccer Association of Columbia/Howard County (SAC/HC), where he has served as a coach, board member and referee coordinator. Craig has also volunteered his time and held various roles with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). As an official for USSF, Craig’s trademark is his friendly manner. Whether he is explaining to a player why he called a foul, or telling an overeager coach to pipe down, he always does so with a smile. In 1994, he developed a Junior Referee Program, which received State and National attention. The program provides referees for youth (7 to 10-year-old) soccer matches. In addition to mentoring youth and adult referees, Craig also began a referee training and licensing program. His game-day mentoring and assessing has helped improve referee performance; five referees have since won the “State Youth Referee of the Year” Award. 

The 2017 induction ceremony will take place at the 15th annual “Celebration of Sports” on Tuesday, October 17, at 5:00 p.m. at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center. Tickets are $42 each or $420 for a table of 10. Tickets may also be purchased at Recreation & Parks Headquarters, 7120 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia. For more information, call 410-313-1691.

The County’s “Community Sports Hall of Fame” is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at Recreation & Parks Headquarters. To learn more about the Hall of Fame, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/halloffame

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