Wednesday, April 18, 2007

LaRon Cephas and the Bates Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis

(If you found this article page through a web search, be sure to check out Part I of this two part story.)

Today's Baltimore Sun has a follow-up article about LaRon Cephas and his work with the Bates Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis, where he was a mentor and role model to many middle school students:

LaRon Cephas was the Pied Piper of the Bates Boys and Girls Club, using his charm, charisma and a dose of determination to recruit children from Bates Middle School in Annapolis to sign up for its new sports leagues and activities.

The 6-foot-7 former Maryland basketball player would show the kids his Final Four ring and would engage them in any subject to show them he cared. [...]

Cephas, who was hired in August as the club's athletic director, was to be promoted today to program director. Reginald Broddie, chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, said Cephas had wanted the announcement of his new job to include children. [...]

Cephas worked six days a week, hiding from Broddie that he occasionally opened the gym on Sundays to give the kids a place to go. [...]

"I just think that LaRon was a role model, and our job is to keep his memory alive because he can be a role model for a very long time for the kids," said Carole Alexander, the club's director of development. "It's not often we have a role model for our kids even after his life has ended."

Joshua Roach, an athletic supervisor for Recreation and Parks who worked with Cephas a lot in the past several months, was impressed that he didn't dwell on basketball and his career at Maryland, where he was a backup forward from 1997 to 2001. He said Cephas was happy to help the kids with homework and mentor them.

"He wouldn't talk at them; he'd talk to them and with them. He always had their attention," Roach said.

Added 4/19:
The Annapolis Capital has a similar story about how the Boys and Girls Club is remembering LaRon.

The University of Maryland Athletics Department posted some comments from Gary Williams on its site:

"LaRon Cephas was an integral part of our 2001 Final Four Team," said head coach Gary Williams. "His attitude and dedication was something coaches wish every player had. You don't have good teams without people such us LaRon Cephas in your program. After graduating from the University of Maryland he did a tremendous job making a difference with young kids. He was one of my favorite players in 18 years as head coach at the University of Maryland."

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Cephas played in 64 games for the Terrapins. He helped Maryland reach the 2001 Final Four and was a part of two Sweet 16 teams for the Terps. During his time at Maryland, the Terrapins posted a record of 99-38 (.723) and made four trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Cephas was awarded the 2001 Unsung Hero Award at the annual team banquet. During his junior year he was elected to the Maryland Student Government Association as a representative for the school of arts & humanities.

More tributes and commentary for today:
East Coast Bias Blog
MetaDC Blog
Terps Sports Report Forum

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