One of the finest women athletes in Anne Arundel Community College history, the Pioneers' most successful baseball coach, and a premier track performer were inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame Thursday night.
Mary Beck, baseball coach Skip Brown and long jumper Ralph Spry -- all county high school grads -- were the honorees at the Pioneers' annual fall sports awards ceremony in Arnold. Here's a snapshot of each:
Mary Beck: This 1981 Severna Park High graduate excelled in three sports at AACC, earning the Most Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year award in both her years (1982 and 1983) as a Pioneer. She was an All-Region XX selection in volleyball, basketball and softball.
In volleyball, she was a powerful hitter whose skills earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg. In basketball, Beck played forward and was the region runner-up in rebounds. She also was a first baseman on the Pioneers' 1982 softball team, which qualified for the national junior college tournament.
Skip Brown: He played football, basketball and baseball at Annapolis High before he received a baseball scholarship to Western Maryland College, where he played those three sports and also was a sprinter on the Green Terror track team.
Brown, who was inducted into the Green Terror's Hall of Fame in 1991, was a speedy All-Conference shortstop who, though not known for his power, hit home runs in his first and last college at-bats.
After graduating from Western Maryland, Brown coached baseball in Sarasota, Fla., for five years and returned briefly to Western Maryland as an assistant in football and baseball, before coming to AACC in 1968.
Western Maryland baseball coach Dick Pugh had a strong influence on Brown. Pugh was Southern-Harwood baseball coach when Brown played for Annapolis and later recruited Brown. Pugh took Brown along to Riverview High in Sarasota as an assistant and got him interested in coaching.
In his first of 19 seasons as the Pioneers' baseball coach in 1969, Brown was named Maryland JUCO Coach of the Year. Compiling a career record of 368-153 (.706), Brown won seven conference titles, a pair of Region XX and District titles and was named Maryland Coach of the Year six more times.
His 1974 team finished third in the National JUCO tournament in Colorado Junction, and Brown was named Northeast Coach of the Year. No other AACC baseball team has gone that far.
Some 25 of his players signed professionally, among them infielder Craig Wilson, an Annapolis high grad who played in the big show with the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.
In addition to coaching baseball, Brown, who retired from AACC this past year, was an associate professor of physical education and a 17-year department chairman. He also was director of athletics from 1986 to 1988. He also coached soccer (1968 through 1971), was an assistant in football (1972-73) and basketball (1972) and ran the Pioneers' intramural programs from 1973 to 1977.
Together with Calvin Peterson, Brown also helped plan the NTC Pioneers' Community Fitness Center that opened in 1989.
Ralph Spry: He recently was named track coach at Auburn University. His track career began, however, at Old Mill under legendary coach Ron Evans. There, Spry became an All-Metro long jumper and then moved to AACC, where he was a four-time national junior college champion -- twice each in the long and triple jumps.
Also named a junior college All-American sprinter, Spry received a track scholarship to the University of Mississippi, where he set the NCAA long jump record. The 1984 Mississippi grad was the NCAA long jump champ in 1983, set the national indoor long jump record in 1981 and was a two-time All-America.
A severe groin pull prevented him from making the U.S. Olympic team in 1984,
Before landing the Auburn job, Spry was an assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference at South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi.
In search of clues
Much to the dismay of Annapolis girls basketball coach Dave Griffith, Archbishop Spalding coach Deb Taylor scouted the Panthers' final scrimmage.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw her," said Griffith. "I told her I didn't appreciate her being there and that I didn't know of anybody in the county who scouted scrimmages. She told me I didn't have a clue."
On Thursday night, the No. 5-ranked Panthers played host to Spalding. Final score: Annapolis routed the Cavaliers, 66-49.
Taylor's scouting may have kept the Cavs in the game in the first half as they took an 18-15 lead, but all the scouting in the world can't stop talent. And the Panthers are loaded.
Virginia Commonwealth-bound Jackie Edwards led the Panthers with 25 points and 19 rebounds, and Kammi Cottrell tossed in 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
A rare early Monday boys basketball game finds No. 16-ranked Broadneck (1-0) playing host to much-improved South River (1-1) at 5: 15 p.m. tomorrow.
Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.
Pub Date: 12/14/97