Manny Crump has spent decades teaching kids skills on and off the basketball court, and now he's been recognized with a lifetime achievement award from Jackson County.
Jackson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rick Dyer presented Crump with the sixth annual Chairman's Award last week. The award recognizes a local resident whose lifetime contributions have made a profound difference in people's lives.
Dyer said he and Crump used to play basketball together in the 1980s, and Crump was always one of the best players in terms of ability and passion. Later, after Crump launched a youth basketball league, Dyer's son started to play in the youth program.
"I got to see Manny in action working with kids," Dyer said. "He's made a difference in the lives of hundreds of kids."
Manny's Basketball Leagues began in 1985 with six teams and currently has more than 140 teams, county officials said.
A few weeks ago, Dyer said he was with Crump when a father came up and thanked Crump for teaching him basketball in grade school. The father's child is now playing for a team in Crump's basketball league.
Dyer said Crump has been helping kids for so long that his impact is multi-generational.
"He really takes kids under his wing, especially kids who might not have the best home life," Dyer said. "He stays on the basketball court until the last kid wants to go home. Kids have opportunities and experiences they would never have had otherwise."
Crump said he was happy and surprised to be recognized with the lifetime achievement award.
"It felt great. It's an honor to receive something like this," he said.
Crump said when he first started the youth basketball league, there were fewer opportunities for kids to play. The league now runs games and camps year-round.
Crump said he is especially touched when he sees the kids of his former players.
"Those kids who played for me have families of their own now and are starting to bring their kids to the league. I'm seeing their kids play basketball. Those are special times," he said.
Crump said basketball gives kids an outlet and helps keep them on the right path in life. Being part of a team provides a support system for youths. Some kids have gone on to win college scholarships through basketball.
"They have to be responsible, be good citizens, get good grades and be good role models on and off the basketball court," he said.
Crump played college basketball at the Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon College, now Southern Oregon University.
He is supported in his tireless work for youth by his wife, Corrina, and four children, county officials said.
For more information about youth basketball and to register, call 541-499-5749 or visit www.mannysbasketball.com. Scholarships are available to play.