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MPSSAA Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Baltimore, MD - The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) today celebrates the 75th anniversary of the association.  Seventy-five years ago on January 26, 1946, representatives from local school systems and the Maryland State Department of Education met at the Enoch Pratt Library in downtown Baltimore to establish the framework for a state high school athletic association to replace the loosely organized "Playground Athletic League".

In conjunction with today’s celebration of the MPSSAA’s 75-Anniversary, the association is unveiling a 75-anniversary logo to be used for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year.  The commemorative logo was originated by Patrick DiMisa, a senior at Urbana High School in Frederick County, as part of the MPSSAA 75-Anniversary logo contest.  Mr. DiMisa’s design bested 33 others in an MPSSAA logo contest for member high school students. The school’s athletic department will receive a $1,000.00 in scholarship funds from the MPSSAA and t-shirts sporting the logo.  

Urbana High School Student Wins MPSSAA 75th Anniversary Logo Contest

The MPSSAA’s origins can be traced to a collection of pioneers with the foresight to establish an association on the heels of World War II for the benefit of delivering statewide education-based athletics.  Dr. Thomas Ferguson, the State Supervisor of Physical Education and Recreation at the time, was the driving force behind the formation of "The Health and Physical Education Association of Maryland Schools" which  eventually became the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association that we know today.  

The MPSSAA was founded in 1946 for the purpose of promoting equitable athletic competition in a safe and wholesome environment.  The association has always promoted the belief that interscholastic athletics are an integral part of the total educational process.  

As stated by Dr. Thomas Pullen, State Superintendent of Schools from 1942 -1964, in the 1964 State Basketball Tournament program.  

Parents interested in the best education for their boys and girls should feel proud that every public secondary school in Maryland has a comprehensive physical education program.  Interschool athletics is an important component of the total program of education.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the experience of playing athletic games is essential to the education of all children and youth who attend schools in the United States.  Their participation in athletics as players and spectators is a part of their education.  School administrators and educational authorities regard school athletics as an educative force of great power; consequently, all efforts should be directed toward conducting athletics on a sound basis.

I believe that cooperation and competition are both essential elements of American life and that athletic participation can help teach the values of cooperation as well as the spirit of competition.  Other values I see accruing to the participants are the health and happiness, physical skills, emotional maturity, social competence, and moral values.

For Full Text of Dr. Pullen’s Op-Ed.  

The association over its 75-year history has steadfastly held to the principle that all competition should be conducted in a sound educational environment.  The support of superintendent, principals, teachers, coaches, and school communities over the years has driven the association into a direction that promotes the very best of education-based athletics.  

William Brish, Assistant Superintendent from Prince George's County, became the inaugural President of the newly formed MPSSAA with Herbert Steiner, Baltimore County's Supervisor of Health and Physical Education as his Vice-President.  

In the early years the association regulated high school athletics across the state and conducted the boys state basketball tournament.  During those first 25 years the MPSSAA enjoyed a gradual growth as new suburban schools opened, smaller schools consolidated, and segregation ended.  Beginning in the mid 1970’s the association experienced an explosive growth.  During that time, numerous State tournaments for boys and girls were added, sports officials were certified for minimal competency, and many new programs were initiated.  The number of student athletes proliferated as opportunities for girls expanded.  

Seventy-five years and 49 Association Presidents later, the planning of those pioneering school representatives has stood the test of time. Today's MPSSAA serves over 112,000 student-athletes and administers 24 State Championships across Maryland!

Click here for a collection of articles related to the formation of the MPSSAA in 1945 and 1946.

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