Seeing kids improve is coach's reward


Howard At Play

June 11, 2000|By Lowell E. Sunderland

Name: Pat Leonhart

Job description: President, Western Howard County Youth Baseball & Softball Leaguefor two years, hoping for renewed term this month, "because of some things I want to finish." Also coaches younger son's 11-12 travel team and assists with older son's 14-and-under team. In organization four years, former coach, age-group coordinator. Nearly 2,000 players, about 70 percent boys, through 17-and-under, travel and rec teams. Started smaller fall-ball program last year. Nearly 200 volunteers include managers, assistants and others. Annual budget is about $150,000.

Age: 42

Residence: Glenwood resident for four years.

Personal: Grew up in Langley Park; High Point High School grad; attended UMBC. Computer software engineer. Started coaching in Burtonsville nine years ago with his sons.

Best part of baseball job: "It's seeing children improve. When you see them in each practice and then how they progress in games, that's the reward. Winning and losing doesn't matter that much, as long as you can see them get better. I like to teach them about setting goals and working to achieve them, which applies to sports, as well as to other parts of life."

Biggest challenge in the job: "Fields. Our league is growing about 17 percent a year, and we're really getting into a crunch for places to play. We've had to turn a few people away, so we can't wait for the county's new Glenwood Park to be ready; that'll be in 2002. But between the needs of our group, adults who'll want to use those fields, and other sports, such as soccer, even that doesn't seem like it will be enough."-

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