Jake Hardison Named Bud Metheny Recipient

December 14, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Dec. 14, 2008

NORFOLK,VA--Jake Hardison, the Virginia District 8 Administrator and event coordinator for over 20 years who started the Challenger Little League Baseball Fun Weekend which enables handicap and disabled children to play the game of baseball will be honored as the 32nd recipient of the Bud Metheny Award at the GTI Systems, Inc. "Meet the Stars" banquet., Friday, Jan. 23rd at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside. The banquet serves as part of the annual ODU Baseball Clinic weekend, which features 2008 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Rich " Goose" Gossage of the New York Yankees as the keynote speaker and clinician. This award is given for outstanding service to baseball, in particular youth baseball.

The Worldwide Challenger Jamboree has succeeded the Virginia District 8 "Challenger Little League Fun Weekend," labeled the worlds largest Little League Baseball Challenger event of its kind," held each Year for 13 consecutive years in May from 1992-2005 in Norfolk, Va.

Hardison has worked with little league baseball for over 48 years. In 1998, Little League International headquarters revised the Little League playing rules to allow handicap and disabled children to play the game of baseball. Under Hardison's direction District 8 Little League decided to invite the teams in the State of Virginia to play baseball and have a fun weekend. The first year there were a total of 16 teams. The Challenger fun weekend steadily grew each year and expanded to nine states in team participation where it mushroomed to 100 teams in 2006. There is no competition involved between the teams, no score is kept and everyone plays every inning. "They all come as winners and they all leave as winners," say's Hardison.

Hardison is credited with the formation of most of the leagues in District 8. He was awarded the Pete McGovern Award, the highest award given by Little League International as the events top volunteer. Hardison has helped raise between $80-$90,000 which has helped fun various state operations. The Genetti Hotel in Williamsport, PA named a room after him, joining Bob Hope and President Gerald Ford who also have rooms in their names.

In 2005, Little League International approved to have a world wide tournament in Norfolk and change the name from tournament to Jamboree. On July 15, 2001 the first Challenger teams played on the south lawn of the White House.

Plans are in process to build a Little League Challenger Jamboree Museum to immortalize the memories of children that play in the Jamboree each year through team photos, challenger game artifacts, and video clips highlighting games of each year.

Tickets for the banquet are $60 and on sale at the Old Dominion Athletic Ticket Office in the Ted Constant Convocation Center (683-4444). The annual ODU Baseball Clinic will be held Saturday, Jan. 24, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Constant Convocation Center . Tickets for the clinic are $5.

PREVIOUS BUD METHENY WINNERS 1978 Dave Rosenfield General Manager, Norfolk Tides, Clinic co-founder 1979 George Kotarides President, Milton's Pizza 1980 Ed Nagourney Rices Nachman Dept. Store 1981 Bud Metheny Former Old Dominion Baseball coach 1982 George McClelland Former Executive Sports Editor-The Virginian Pilot 1983 Charlie Sugg Real Estate Assessor, City of Norfolk 1984 Don Fett President, Waymar, Inc. 1985 Clyde McCullough Former Major League scout 1986 Abe Goldblatt Sportswriter, The Virginian Pilot/Ledger Star 1987 Richard J. Davis President, Tidewater Professional Sports, INC. 1988 Harry Postove Major League Scout 1989 Hank Foiles Foiles Insurance, former Major leaguer 1990 Lewis D.Hirschler Hofheimer's Inc. 1991 Richard Alexander Umpire 1992 Bob Rathbun Former sports anchor, WTKR TV, WTAR Radio 1993 Sandra Pickin Founder of the Peninsula Muscular Dystrophy Benefit Baseball Trn. 1994 John T. Callahan Former President of Tidewater Baseball League 1995 Gary Wright Tidewater Summer League and AAU Baseball 1996 Paul Fraim Mayor of Norfolk 1997 Roy L. Burton, Jr. Founder of Willard-Lakewood Athletic Assoc. & Granby Booster Club 1998 Paul Vestal President Greenbrier Athletic Association 1999 Ken Young President, Norfolk Tides Baseball Team 2000 Lester Bangs Local Baseball Scout 2001 Warren Spivey President Spivey Rentals 2002 Bill Swan Former Head Baseball Coach at Virginia Wesleyan & asst. coach at ODU 2003 Tim Miller Chairman ACS Systems & Engineering 2004 Luke Newman President of Greenwich Kitchens Center 2005 Pat Baker Local Dentist 2006 Tony Zontini Coach/Teacher 2007 Towny Townsend Coach/Teacher 2008 Henry Morgan Peninsula Businessman/Peninsula Pilots Owner