Marie Curry- In the 1960s, when youth athletic programs were segregated, Marie started a baseball team for the young black men, including her sons, Paul and Mark, in the Guilford community. She soon joined with leaders in black communities in Baltimore City and Howard, Baltimore and Prince George’s counties to start the Jackie Robinson League. She was the only female manager and coach. Ma Curry, as her players called her, did whatever was necessary to ensure the boys’ success in sports and life – she organized practices, arranged transportation, kept the gray and red uniforms neat and clean, and emphasized good manners, respect for others and sportsmanship. Her teams won four championships in the league, which existed until athletic programs were integrated. Marie, who died in 2005, also founded a Cub Scout troop in Guilford.

Paul J. Donovan- For more than 25 years, Paul has devoted his time to helping the young men of Howard County to be better baseball players and better men. He began coaching in the Columbia Youth Baseball Association in 1982 and also served as vice president and as a commissioner (1985-2004). In 1988, he joined with John Lopez and Don Van Deusen to form the Columbia Reds, an elite team of high school and college-aged players that is recognized nationally. Many of the Reds have gone on to play college ball, several have been drafted by professional teams, and others are coaching. Paul always encourages his players to work hard, play the game the right way, respect opponents, have fun and, when the opportunity arises, to give back to others in any way they can.

James McCauley- Jim has been a tireless advocate for girls recreational sports programs since 1979 when he learned that the Columbia Basketball Association had no instructional clinics for his 6-year-old daughter. Jim soon formed one and served as commissioner. The clinic – for both boys and girls -- continues to be a key program in CBA. In 1981, he fought for equality in the girls leagues, such as appropriate age divisions, more gym time and better equipment. As commissioner, he initiated changes that had a dramatic impact on the quality of play, the girls’ skills, their confidence and their opportunities. Later, he organized the first CBA girls travel team, the Columbia Challenge. The team was the first Howard County to participate in – and win -- a Maryland AAU tournament and qualify for the national AAU tournament.

Bill McCormack Jr.- In 1974 Bill thought that ?in the sports world, girls were treated as second class citizens? so he volunteered to coach in the Soccer Association of Columbia. Since then, during 67 seasons (34 years), he’s coached more than 500 girls and his Green Machine team has won 11 league championships. But Bill always stresses that it’s not the number of wins that should measure success, but how his players play the game. To provide more opportunities for girls, Bill created a clinic to focus on skill development. He also reorganized the recreational league into a tiered structure. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Jack and Ellie Boussy Award for outstanding service to youth soccer. Bill has also coached boys teams in the Columbia Basketball Association for 23 years.

Joseph Wall- Joe was a leader in developing and promoting youth and high school wrestling programs for more than 25 years. He filled many roles, from coach and commissioner of youth programs to the behind-the-scenes guy who made high school clinics and tournaments run smoothly. In 1971, Joe started the Columbia Optimist Junior Wrestling Program, which soon became a feeder program for high school teams. Two years later, he organized wrestling clinics in the county’s high schools, which led to the first Howard County Junior Wrestling Tournament (1975). He served as a volunteer coach at three high schools. Joe also coached in the Columbia Optimist Junior Football Program for 14 years. In 1982, Joe and Ray Page coached a Columbia Optimist team that won the Mid-Atlantic Pop Warner Football Tournament in the 11-13 age group.

James Yedlicka Jr.- As the recreation director for the Columbia Association during its infancy, Jim helped lay the foundation for many of Howard County’s most successful recreational programs. He contributed to baseball, softball and basketball leagues for youth and adults, and started a youth soccer clinic which eventually grew into the Soccer Association of Columbia. Those who remember Jim say he put his heart and soul into making Columbia’s recreation programs a role model for other communities. After his position as recreation director was phased out in 1977, he moved to Wilmington, N.C, where he was involved in other recreational programs. Jim, who died in 1992, was the recipient of numerous community service awards here and served on the Maryland Commission on Physical Fitness.