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MPSSAA honors Milly Wilson for more than 40 years of service

Andy Warner, left, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, presents a State Award for Outstanding Service plaque to Milly Wilson for her work with Maryland high school athletes, including 43 consecutive years of working at the girls basketball state tournament on March 11, 2016, in Towson.
Andy Warner, left, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, presents a State Award for Outstanding Service plaque to Milly Wilson for her work with Maryland high school athletes, including 43 consecutive years of working at the girls basketball state tournament on March 11, 2016, in Towson.(Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun)

When Milly Wilson went to this month's state girls basketball championships, she expected to man her post at the team entrance and maybe find a few minutes to see part of a game or two just as she had for the past 42 years. She never expected to be the center of attention for even a second.

On March 11, however, Wilson was called out onto the court at Towson University's SECU Arena to receive a special award, the National Federation of State High School Associations' State Award for Outstanding Service.

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For 43 years, the former Baltimore County physical education teacher and coach has volunteered a tremendous amount of time to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The award, created by national federation officials last year to honor someone in each state for outstanding service to the local organization, was tailor-made for Wilson.

"I think people like Milly Wilson are really the heart of the MPSSAA," said Andy Warner, the executive director of the MPSSAA who present the award before Pocomoke and Southern played their Class 1A semifinal.

"No one has a bigger heart than Milly does. Seeing tonight, two schools in the state farthest from each other -- Pocomoke, Southern Garrett -- and a standing ovation for Milly, really speaks a lot to what she means to the MPSSAA and to the entire state from her dedication as an individual to high school athletics."

Wilson, who taught at Deep Creek Middle School before she retired and coached many sports there and at Kenwood and Dundalk high schools, said she's had a great time working the many girls state tournaments over the years. She was stunned by the award.

"It was such a big surprise and it's overwhelming that it's been so many sports -- 43 years of basketball, 30-some in field hockey, 20-some in volleyball and I don't know how many in lacrosse, but to know that you're that appreciated means a lot," she said.

She said she doesn't have a favorite moment that stands out over the years, but she has enjoyed hearing the many stories of the people she sees every year at the tournaments.

In addition to 43 years at the girls basketball tournament, she has worked 39 field hockey tournaments, 22 girls volleyball tournaments and every girls lacrosse tournament. Over the years, she also spent a lot of time volunteering in the MPSSAA office and on the phone.

"There was a time in the MPSSAA office," Warner said, "when it was just Ned Sparks [Warners' predecessor] and there wasn't the fax machines, the cell phones, the texts, the social media, but there's Milly Wilson who comes in and she's collecting all the scores from around the state and it's a tough task to do without all those different things that we take for granted these days.

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"The MPSSAA is really indebted to people like her in its growth over the years, because there were times when it really relied on that volunteerism from people like Milly to help smooth the operation of these tournaments and allow these tournaments to grow the way they have over the years."

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