Class of 2000 Class of 2000

Class of 2000

Jackie Bell

Jackie Bell

WHEN JACKIE BELL graduated from high school in east Texas he accepted a job with the FBI and moved to the Washington DC area. His family settled in the Dale City community of Prince William County and when Jackie was not supporting his son's in their school and sports activities he could most likely be found on the local softball fields. He pitched for his teams in the Woodbridge Men's League and the Christian Fellowship League and his leadership skills soon found him in the role of Commissioner and Scheduler for the Church League. He also represented the Church League on the PWC Adult Softball Council for many years and became a leading spokesman for the softball community in the administration of the sport.

When Jackie advanced to the Senior League he organized the All Star Sports team which was one of the top competitive Division I teams in the league for years. He also served as an Assistant Tournament Director and Scheduler for the ISSA World Championships in Prince William County for years.

Lester Leonard

Lester Leonard

IN 1982 THE GREATER MANASSAS Sports Club named Lester Leonard the Sportsperson of the Year for his tireless efforts at organizing and making team sports available to the citizens of Prince William County. Lester is a native of the County and graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School. After a tour in the Army he returned home, became active in the adult sports leagues and in 1970 he assumed leadership of the Western Prince William Sports Association. For 35+ years he organized the adult sports programs in western Prince William.

Lester and wife Jo operated one or more restaurants in the area for many years which became a favorite gathering place for many teams/players in the area. Starting in 1980 they sponsored 30 men’s teams, 3 co-ed teams, 2 women’s teams and several youth teams in the sport of softball. They also sponsored the United Softball League (Special Olympics) for several years supplying the umpires, furnishing the softballs, etc.

Lester was a certified ASA umpire for over 30 years. He was selected to umpire two National tournaments, two Regional tournaments and five State tournaments. He organized the Bull Run Officials Association.

He managed a team in Division I of the Western Prince William Men’s League for 25 years winning the League Championship five of those years. He was the Assistant Manager for two Thomas Engineering Masters Teams that played in ASA Nationals at Meridian, MS and Troy, MI.

For many years Lester served as the leading spokesman for softball in the County. He served as President of the Prince William County Adult Softball Council and worked tirelessly for more and better playing facilities. He also served one term on the Prince William County Park Authority Board of Directors. As the ASA District Commissioner for Prince William County for over 20 years he developed a successful tournament program for area teams and provided the opportunity for them to advance to Regional and National competition.

Nationally, Lester served on the ASA National Council for 13 years where he was Chairman of the Senior Committee for six years. He served as the ASA Representative to three Senior Nationals and represented ASA as a Delegate to the Senior Summit for four years.

He served as an Assistant Tournament Director for the International Senior Softball Association (ISSA) at the World Championships in Prince William County and the ISF Senior World Cup at Salem, VA. Lester became widely known Nationally for his years of involvement and expertise with the senior division. Lester and Jo have since “retired” to Myrtle Beach, SC where they continue to own and operate their Chelsea Jo’s Restaurant.

Lester is a Member of the Prince William Softball Hall of Fame, the Central Virginia ASA Hall of Fame and the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.

RB Thomas, Jr.

RB Thomas, Jr.

IN 2000 WHEN WE ENTERED the new millennium the Manassas newspaper selected the most influential people in the community during the twentieth century.  Second on their list was RB Thomas, Jr.  RB was picked for his professional and civic contributions and prominently mentioned was his involvement in the softball community over the last quarter of the century.  RB and his wife Ann reside in Nokesville, VA where their seven children all grew up playing on sports teams year round.  He is a Professional Engineer and has operated a consultant engineering business in Manassas since 1969.

He has experienced a lifetime of involvement in the sport of softball.  He grew up in Roanoke, VA watching his Father play fast pitch and he began playing slowpitch in 1960 while a student at Virginia Tech. The first Thomas Engineering softball team was organized in1978, a company team playing in a league for government agencies in Prince William County. Over the ensuing years the Thomas Engineering teams evolved, moving up through various levels of play in league competition and local tournaments to finally reaching participation in its first National Championship in 1987 and later competing at the Class A/Major level in open play. In the Senior Division from 1994 to 2009 the teams managed (and sponsored) by RB went on to play in 78 National Tournaments reaching the final championship game in 80% of the events, winning forty (40) National titles at the highest skill level offered.  He sponsored from one to five softball teams every year from 1978 to 2009.  Over a span of 32 years his teams won numerous PWC league championships including eleven consecutive years as the Senior League Champion.

While continuing to remain active at the team level as a manager, sponsor and occasional player, RB took on increased roles in the administration and promotion of the sport of softball and since 1993 he has actively been involved at the Senior Division rising to the National level. His work as Executive Director of the International Senior Softball Association, President/Director for the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame, Member of the ASA National Council, Deputy/District Commissioner for Central Virginia ASA, ISF Director of Senior Softball and Member/Organizer of the National Senior Summit afforded him a National and International voice in the sport. The ISSA World Championships which are held annually at venues throughout Prince William County was selected by the 2000 Virginia Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism as the most outstanding on-going special event in the State of Virginia.

Over the years RB has used his engineering skills to assist local governments, school divisions  and  local leagues in the design and construction of  athletic fields including numerous softball facilities.  In 1984 he provided the design and construction management to enable the Western Prince William League to build Fairmont Park which was the sole venue of Manassas ASA tournaments for 20 years.  In 1992 he was selected Civil Engineer of the Year in Virginia where he was commended among other things for his efforts to assist in the development of softball facilities in Northern Virginia.  He was a Member of the International Softball Federation Facilities Commission where he assisted many countries who were involved in field construction. RB served for 15 years on the Prince William Park Authority Board of Directors where he was able to bring his expertise and experience to the task of providing the local citizens with quality sports facilities.

His accomplishments on and off the field have earned him recognition from his peers. He is a member of the Prince William Softball Hall of Fame, the Central Virginia ASA Hall of Fame, the Washington, DC Metro Slowpitch Softball Hall of Fame, Softball Players Association Hall of Fame, National Senior Softball Hall of Fame and the ASA National Hall of Fame. In 2013 at the ISF World Congress meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, RB was honored by election to the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.

Sharon Corbin

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SHARON CORBIN WAS a standout player in the western Prince William area for years in the Manassas Women’s League. She managed teams in the League for several years and her leadership skills landed her the position of League President and Commissioner. She served as the League Representative to the Prince William County Adult Softball Council where she worked tirelessly to improve the softball playing opportunities for all County citizens. When the Hall of Fame was created in 2000 she was an obvious choice for the first Class to be inducted.