The six inductees to this year’s YMCA of Frederick County’s Alvin G. Quinn Sports Hall of Fame shared one common bond — taking what they learned in their respective sports and applying it in life.
Amy Burdette-Riggs, Roy Comer, Jim Foit, Joey Hammond, Alan Lescalleet and Troy Wilson make up the hall’s class of 2019. The induction ceremony was held at the YMCA home on North Market Street. Burdette-Riggs and Comer were inducted posthumously.
Terry Burdette said his daughter played softball because she loved the game so much. It wasn’t about just playing for the sake of getting a college scholarship, although Burdette-Riggs earned one to play at Iona College after a stellar career at Walkersville High School.
She kept everything in perspective, her father said. Burdette-Riggs went on to coach in the Frederick Heartbreakers’ organization, a program Burdette started in the early 1990s. Burdette-Riggs was killed in an automobile accident on March 9, 2015.
“She would have had a great career in coaching,” her father said. “I’m just so happy my baby girl’s going into the hall of fame.”
Jeff Comer, son of Roy Comer, who died in November 2015, said his father’s successful 32-year coaching career is what defined him as a great person, firm but fair. Roy Comer was the first chairman of the MPSSAA state football playoffs, which began in 1974.
Comer’s family watched over the years as his life was driven by his career. He enjoyed his work, which in turn, gave his family much enjoyment and created a strong family bond, Jill Comer-Dahlgren, Comer’s daughter, said.
“But Dad could also be demanding as a coach,” Jeff Comer said of his father, who was also one on his sports coaches. “He didn’t play favorites.”
Foit played professional baseball in the minor leagues before embarking on a teaching career, which is ongoing. He guided Thomas Johnson to two state championships over a 22-year period.
“I found that passion for baseball once again, as a coach,” Foit said. “Frederick County has such a rich sports history. I’m so glad to be a part of it. My wife has been very supportive of me. The baseball field was sort of a playground for my two children while they were growing up. My one regret was not getting to know all of my players better, on a closer, more personal level, but I think assistant coaches did a nice job of bridging that gap.”
Hammond, a current assistant coach at Wake Forest, spent 11 years in professional baseball. All the while, as a pro ball player, he remained realistic about the future.
“Sooner or later, every career comes to an end,” Hammond said.
That was something he learned through his coaches and family. Hammond also endorsed the many programs the YMCA offers kids.
“It’s a safe place for them to learn,” he said.
Lescalleet was hired to restart the soccer program at Brunswick High School in 1980. Fresh out of graduate school, he jumped at the chance to build a successful program. The Railroaders won two Class 1A state championships under Lescalleet. He spent 35 years as a coach and educator.
Lescalleet’s soccer coaching philosophy was one where any success on the field had to be earned.
“You owe the sport; the sport doesn’t owe you,” he said.
A strong working relationship with coaches and fellow players is what made a difference in Wilson’s life.
“When I first started playing football, we didn’t like each other,” Wilson, a three-sport standout at Thomas Johnson, said of his new teammates. “But over time, through our coaches, we soon became brothers.”