Kansas Babe Ruth League Softball is well know in the Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Region. And thanks to Mark Donley, the Kansas program has grown in all age divisions since he became the Kansas State Softball Commissioner in 2007. The state had only 3 softball leagues in 2007 with 90 participants. By the time Mark retired in 2019, the numbers had grown to 12 leagues and 550 participants.
Mark’s involvement in the Babe Ruth program began in 1979 when Mark played as a 13 year-old in Udall. He continued his playing in 1980-81 in Atlanta. This involvement and the great fun that he had, was what Mark remembered as he volunteered to coach his son and daughter during their years in the Babe Ruth program. He managed teams for 10 years. It didn’t take anyone long to recognize that Mark would be a strong advocate of the program. Not only was he a strong promoter of the Babe Ruth program, but he was known for his leadership in sportsmanship. Mark’s teams were frequently recognized for their outstanding sportsmanship at the district, state and regional levels.
Mark was successful as a coach, but his involvement went beyond the diamond as he was Udall’s town representative to the South Central League and also served as a member of the Udall Recreation Commission. Then as president of the South Central League he introduced the league to the Babe Ruth Softball program. The league chartered for the first time in 2005. Their league’s success in the program led to Mark’s appointment as the first Kansas Babe Ruth League Softball Commissioner in 2007. As commissioner, Mark has helped with not only building the Kansas program, but strengthening the Midwest Plains Region’s state programs as well. He was always willing to assist on the regional level a s tournament Task Force member and helped with regional administration.
As indicated earlier, Mark is a huge promoter of sportsmanship. In 2007 Mar established the SHE Award. This is an award given at every Kansas district and state tournament game to one player from each team for displaying Sportsmanship, Hustle and Enthusiasm. A few years ago the Midwest Plains Babe Ruth Softball region and also the state of Missouri adopted this award for their tournaments. This award has garnered national recognition and has become an important part of the tournament trail. It’s use has provided positive feedback from commissioners, coaches, and parents. They see how the practice of recognizing players for playing the “right way” is important for the building of character and for making the program fun for participants.
Community involvement other than baseball and softball is a big part of Mark’s life. He has served his church in many capacities including Sunday School teacher, Sunday School Director, Vacation Bible School, Sunday evening Kids Club, and in-home Bible Study. Coaching his son and daughter in soccer and basketball were commitments as well.
- Babe Ruth League involvement - 28 years
- As manager, his teams won both district and state team sportsmanship awards
- employment has been in the insurance/investment business
- Currently works for the Allstate Insurance Company
- Hobbies include Babe Ruth Softball, spending time with family and attending sporting events
- Graduated from West Point
- Graduated from Kansas University School of Law
Mark and his wife, Leah, reside in Andover. They have two children, Justin and Michell and two grandchildren.
The Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame is reserved for individuals who display great personal strength, honesty, integrity, tireless devotion, enthusiasm, a love for the game, and put the interest of others first. For these reasons, it is with great pride and pleasure that Kansas Babe Ruth Leagues award the coveted Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame Award to one of its own. Honoring men and women for their service in the Kansas Babe Ruth League, the Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame now includes the name of Mark Donley.