Archdiocese of Washington Youth Ministry/CYO Honors Adult and Youth Leaders

May 20, 2003

University of Maryland head football coach, Ralph Friedgen, received the James Cardinal Hickey National Figure Award from the Archdiocese of Washington at a ceremony held at the Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring on May 20. In addition, 12 adults and youth involved with youth ministry or Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sports in the Archdiocese were recognized for their contributions to youth ministry, their leadership and the positive example the give to youth.

The James Cardinal Hickey National Figure Award is presented to an individual each year who exemplifies excellence in career and personal life and who is a positive role model for both youth and adults. Past winners have included Wizards owner Abe Pollin, then-Redskin quarterback Mark Rypien, legendary DeMatha coach Morgan Wooten and others. The award was established in 1965.

Mr. Friedgen, who participated in CYO athletics as a youth in New York, “was recognized for his exceptional leadership skills which have motivated countless numbers of youth,” said Monsignor Barry Knestout, director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese.

After getting his start in CYO sports, Mr. Friedgen went on to excel in football in high school and as a student at the University of Maryland, where he was honored twice for having the highest academic average on the team. After serving as an assistant football coach at four colleges, he became Maryland’s head coach in 2001, guiding the university’s football team to the ACC Championship that first year.

Others who received youth ministry/CYO awards include Ray and Debbie Wheeler of St. John the Evangelist, Clinton, Outstanding Adult Leadership Award; Larry Smith of St. Michael, Silver Spring, Outstanding Athletic Director Award; Frank Rossomondo, Jr., a CYO trustee since 1978 and a local and national leader for the Boys Scouts, the Monsignor Thomas B. Dade Award; Rev. Daniel Leary, associate pastor of St. Martin of Tours, Gaithersburg, the Monsignor William J. Awalt Award; Mario Majano, parishioner at St. Martin of Tours, Gaithersburg and Genevieve Hayes, parishioner at St. Peter, Waldorf, the Outstanding Catholic Youth Awards; Chas Gessner, parishioner at St. Mark, Hyattsville and nationally-recognized football and lacrosse player for Brown University and Katie Rokus, parishioner of Our Lady of Victory, Washington, DC and basketball star for the University of South Carolina, Aiken, the Outstanding Athlete Awards.

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
[email protected]