The McCormick Unsung Heroes Award has been Honoring Sportsmanship since 1940, when C.P. McCormick launched the program to recognize unselfish team play among football players at 11 Baltimore City schools.
Here is some additional background on the event and its historical timeline.
- At participating high schools the Unsung Hero is selected by the coaches, the team or a combination of both. Coaches then complete each application form – providing the rationale behind the selection of their nominee as an Unsung Hero. Each submitted application is reviewed by a panel of judges at McCormick – their objective to pick the top ten applications for each sport. The final selection is made by an independent committee of local athletic league officials who make their selection without knowing the names of the school or the nominee. The selection of the scholarship winners is based solely on the individual application submitted by the school. The winners do not know who wins the scholarships until announced at the end of the program.
- All nominees will receive a plaque (name, school and year), an Unsung Hero logo kickpack and a logo water bottle.
- The night of the Banquet we will announce the names of one female basketball player and one male football player to receive the Charles P. McCormick Award. Each winner will receive a $36,000 college scholarship.
- C.P. McCormick launched the program in 1940 to recognize unselfish team play. It honored male football players from eleven Baltimore City schools. The early banquets were held in the Light Street Cafeteria and were broadcast live (30 minutes) on WMAR TV2 in early December.
- From 1953-1977 the Company sponsored an unsung hero program for lacrosse. The winner’s trophy was presented at half time during the MSA championship game, normally played at Johns Hopkins.
- In 1972 the Banquet was moved to the Hunt Valley Inn. The live television show continued until 1990 on WMAR, Channel 2.
- The early participating schools were members of the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA). The association has grown and renamed several times. Today, the schools belong to various leagues in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), or the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM)
- The first Unsung Hero Scholarship was established in 1969 at $2,000 over four years. Today it has grown to $36,000 over four years.
- Girl basketball nominees were added in 1987 and the banquet date was moved to May.
- Previous speakers include: Coach Vivian Stringer, Dr. Ben Carson, Fran Tarkenton, DickVitale, Fran Deford, , Wes Unseld, Herman Boone of Remember the Titans, Johnny Unitas (Click the Previous speakers link for a comprehensive list)
- Emcees over the years have included Bailey Goss in the 1950s, Jack Dawson, Chuck Thompson, Vince Bagli and most recently Scott Garceau