David James, Director of Little League Urban Initiative, Assumes Duties of Little League International Challenger Division Director
Mr. James, of Williamsport, will assume the title
of Challenger Division Director, a position that was previously held
by James Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson of Selinsgrove, Pa., remains with
Little League Baseball and Softball as assistant to the director of
“David has shown great leadership in coordinating and expanding the Urban Initiative program, and we expect he will continue in the same manner with the Challenger Division,” Mr. Keener said. “Jim Ferguson has done and outstanding job with the Challenger Division, and we commend him for his tireless efforts on behalf of nearly 27,000 physically and mentally disabled Little Leaguers throughout the world.
“The decision to place David in charge of the Challenger Division is strictly a matter of course,” Mr. Keener said. “As the only on-field component of the Little League program that was not directly coordinated under the auspices of the Little League International operations department, it simply made good sense to incorporate the Challenger Division into that department.”
Mr. James joined Little League Baseball, Incorporated in 1998 as assistant director for the Eastern Region Headquarters based in Bristol, Conn., after two years as director of the minority business development program for the Williamsport/Lycoming County (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce.
In 1999, Little League International created the Urban Initiative to broaden the opportunities for children who live in urban and metropolitan areas across the country to play Little League. Mr. James, a native of Williamsport, returned to his home town to head the program.
“I welcome the opportunity to serve the thousands of physically and mentally disabled children and the adult volunteers who make the Challenger Division such a wonderful part of Little League,” Mr. James said. “It is my intent to continue the outstanding work done by Mr. Ferguson, while striving to broaden the exposure and highlight the benefits of chartering, playing and volunteering in the Challenger Division.”
Under the guidance of Mr. James, the Little League Urban Initiative has directly influenced more than 200 leagues and is operating in nearly 85 U.S. cities. Through the 2007 Little League season, the Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 2,779 teams, which equates to approximately 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation and development projects.
The Challenger Division, which was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League Baseball and Softball, enables boys and girls with physical and mental disabilities, ages 5-18 or the completion of high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide.
Since its inception, thousands of special needs children have enjoyed the thrill of playing Little League. In 2006, there were nearly 1,800 Challenger Division teams. Each year, more than 100 teams from throughout the United States and other countries attend the Little League World Challenger Jamboree in Norfolk, Va.
Mr. James lives in Williamsport, with his wife, Tammie, son, Aaron, and daughters Emma and Mia.