Little League® International remembers Dr. Darrell Burnett, a former member of the Little League International Board of Directors and longtime Little League Challenger Division® volunteer in California Districts 55 and 68.
Dr. Burnett, a clinical psychologist who specialized in youth sports, worked with special needs children for nearly 30 years. In 2007, he was recognized by Little League with the annual Little League Challenger Award for his efforts in the Rancho Niguel Little League and neighboring Little League programs in Northern California. In that same year, Dr. Burnett joined the Little League International Board of Directors and he began his time as a commentator for the television coverage of the annual Little League Challenger Exhibition Game played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, during the Little League Baseball World Series. Dr. Burnett retired from the Board of Directors in November 2016.
“We are all saddened by Dr. Burnett’s passing,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “He was a dear friend, a big part of our program and a valued volunteer leader who was hugely impactful though his selfless service to the Little League International Board of Directors and the Little League Challenger Division.”
One of Dr. Burnett’s greatest contributions to the Challenger Division was working with fellow volunteers to help make the program even more inclusive, expanding the age limit past the previous limit of 18 years old, and helping to develop the Senior Challenger Division.
In addition, Dr. Burnett authored several articles for Little League’s online publications and donated his time to speak at various public events. For more than 10 years, Dr. Burnett, a native Californian, helped to organize Little League Challenger Days at Angels Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Dr. Burnett was an unwavering champion for Little League Challenger Division and was always willing to provide guidance on how to expand opportunity for local leagues to support children and volunteers with special needs.