Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 induction ceremony for the Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame will be virtual this year. However, the Maryland event still will come with some very real star power.
Dominique Dawes will deliver the keynote speech for this year’s event, which will be streamed Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. on the MCSHF website. Dawes, a Silver Spring native and resident, was a member of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team called “The Magnificent Seven” that claimed a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic games.
It will be a return engagement for Dawes, who last year gave an acceptance speech as one of the members of the MCSHF’s inaugural class. This year, she will be part of an evening that welcomes six new members to the hall.
The 2020 Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame includes legendary broadcaster Johnny Holliday, former Major League Baseball player Curtis Pride, field hockey coach Amy Wood, three-time NFL champion and ex-Washington Senators baseball player Tom Brown, local tennis great Jeri Ingram and the late high school football coach Roy Lester.
If Maryland Terrapins broadcaster Johnny Holliday wrote a book, it would seem like pure fiction, because his career is so remarkable.
Holliday actually did write a book, “From Rock to Jock,” and it is aptly named, because with a microphone, Holliday has done it all and done it exceptionally well. He was a Top 40 DJ — including a stint in San Francisco when he emceed the Beatles’ last concert — and later became nationally recognized as a sportscaster and play-by-play voice.
Holliday has worked with the Washington Football Team, the Wizards, the Nationals, the Naval Academy, George Washington University Colonials, and of course, the Terps. As an anchor and reporter with ABC sports radio, Holliday covered major events, including several Olympics and Masters.
Holliday still lives with his wife, Mary Clare, in Kensington, Maryland, in the same house since he arrived in the area in 1969.
Jeri Ingram spent eight years on the women’s professional tennis tour and still considers Martina Navratilova one of her toughest opponents, but she is back where it all started in Montgomery County and trying to help young players pursue their dreams on and off the court.
Through her Metropolitan Tennis and Education Group, Ingram’s goal is to combine tennis programming with educational opportunities for kids from diverse backgrounds. In short, Ingram hopes her learning through tennis concept can provide a pathway for young players in their quests for higher education.
Ingram knows firsthand how a game she started playing just to spend time with her father can change a life. She went undefeated at Springbrook High School with a record of 116-0 and earned a scholarship to Maryland, where she again went undefeated as a freshman to lead the Terrapins to an Atlantic Coast Conference title.
When Amy Wood played field hockey at the University of Connecticut, she did not expect to get into coaching.
What started as a one-year trial in 1993 as head coach at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School turned into an amazing success story. Wood guided the BCC Barons field hockey team to nine state championships in 19 years, a national record at the time and still the record in Maryland.
In those 19 years, Wood led BCC to 16 state tournament appearances and was twice named All-Met Coach of the Year.
Curtis Pride is an inspiring study in determination.
Pride was barely a toddler when diagnosed with a severe hearing impairment. His parents moved from D.C. to Silver Spring to take advantage of Montgomery County Public Schools’ hearing program for infants. Pride was able to integrate with the rest of the student body from seventh grade forward, and graduated with a 3.6 GPA from Kennedy High School in 1986.
His success in the classroom was matched in sports. Pride left behind school records in baseball, basketball and soccer and was among the best young soccer players in the world.
Pride’s parents worked out a unique deal that allowed him to play point guard for The College of William and Mary on a full scholarship and also play part-time for the New York Mets organization.
In 1993, Pride broke into the majors with the Montreal Expos, the franchise that would later become the Washington Nationals. He played 461 games over 11 major league seasons and finished with a career .250 batting average.
Pride has served as head coach of the Gallaudet University baseball team since 2008, and has broken the school record for wins in a season three times.
The odds of a person becoming a professional athlete are slim. Tom Brown defied the odds and played not one but two professional sports.
A graduate of Blair High School, Brown excelled in baseball and football and would go on to play both sports at the University of Maryland. Brown played 61 games for the Washington Senators baseball team in 1963 before turning to pro football the following year.
Brown played five seasons for Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers and won three NFL championships (before the Super Bowl era). Brown then joined the Washington Football Team in 1969, Lombardi’s final year of coaching before he died of cancer.
Roy Lester’s journey to Montgomery County started in West Virginia, where he was a three-sport athlete at West Virginia University and is a member of the West Virginia University Hall of Fame.
Lester came to the D.C. area in 1956 to be an assistant football coach at Maryland. After three years in College Park, he took over the program at Richard Montgomery High School, where he posted six undefeated seasons in nine years and had the ninth-ranked football team in the country in 1968.
Success at Richard Montgomery led to Lester going back to College Park for a three-season run as the head coach at Maryland. Lester resumed his high school coaching career at Paint Branch, where he led the Panthers to a Class B state title in 1975. He would later lead Magruder to a Class B state title in 1984, followed by a Class A title two years later.
Lester died in May at the age of 96 due to complications from coronavirus.