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The Quarterback Club of York has been around since 1975.

During its four-plus decades in existence, it's become one of York County's best-known sports non-profit organizations.

The club, which came about initially as a local fan club for the Baltimore Colts, has given out more than $300,000 for charitable causes and athletic scholarships.

The club has also been one of the biggest boosters for York-Adams League football. The group organized and ran the Thanksgiving Day all-star football contest for many years. The club also annually honored the York-Adams League Players of the Year at a banquet held at San Carlo's. In addition, the organization also regularly awarded two scholarships to York-area high school female athletes.

Undertaking such a big role in local sports, however, was not easy. The club relied on donations and sponsorships to fund its endeavors.

Sadly, a dwindling membership that recently dropped below two dozen will soon force the QB Club of York to close shop for good. The club will hold one final meeting for its members in late September before saying goodbye, with the final awards banquet in February.

“We did a lot, had a lot of fun and had a lot of good times,” said Tom Murphy, who was one of the founding members of the club. “And a lot of good memories.”

Those memories run deep for guys such as Murphy and Barry Biesecker, who was another prominent member of the club. Many star-caliber guest speakers found their way to York to speak over the years, including Hall of Famers such as Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore among others.

“We were lucky,” Murphy said. “To get guys like Unitas and Moore and Chuck Bednarick and Tommy McDonald, and I’m sure I’m missing some. Artie Donovan would come up and tell some of his classic stories and it was always a packed house with the way he presents things.”

Coaches laud club: The club’s biggest event for years was the all-star game on Thanksgiving Day. Some years it featured a North-South format between York-area schools, but the most notable events pitted the York-Adams League against the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

“It was always big when it was the War of the Roses against Lancaster and the QB Club was really the ones that set that up and they did a nice job running it,” Dallastown head coach Kevin Myers said.

Myers wasn’t the only local high school coach to hold the QB Club in high regard.

“The all-star game was how I became aware of the club,” York Catholic head coach Eric Depew said. “And when I took over (at York Catholic) I knew they honored the players of the year, but I didn’t realize that they had a banquet. I’ve always thought that was nice and well put together. Very classy and very special.”

The all-star event was the biggest fundraiser for the club. It helped fund the numerous scholarships and awards that the group handed out over the years. When that game came to an end, the club's future became more tenuous.

“It’s a big loss,” Myers said. “For the number of athletes that they have helped over the years. And a lot of years that scholarship would have a needs-based element to it. Steve Duncyzk (of Dallastown) won it last year and I know it really helped them out.”

Dwindling membership: Membership in the club during its heyday back in the 1970s and 1980s often exceeded 100, with a waiting list of others seeking to join. Over the years, new members were few and far between.

“We tried,” Biesecker said. “But the most disappointing thing to me is that I don’t think that any one of those kids that we helped ever came back and joined. And I don’t think that any one of those kids made a donation back.”

The club’s final public event, which will raise funds for the 2018 awards banquet, will take place on Labor Day with its ninth annual Quarterback Club of York 10K/5K race. Runners can sign up online at http://qbclubofyork.wikispaces.com or on race day at PeoplesBank Park in York. The race begins at 8:30 a.m.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

 

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