NEW ERA FOR DELAWARE AFRO-AMERICAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME
If you don’t recognize names like “Doc” Hill, “Slew” Jackson, “Gator” Lewis and John Oates, you are probably not from Delaware or much of a Delaware sports fan. These men are just a few of our athletic legends in the Delaware Sports world and were the heroes and mentors to hundreds of young African-American athletes in the First State. They were also a part of a team of great men who founded the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame more than 20 years ago. And it was to add these great achievers in history’s memory to inspire future generations that this organization was created.
Upon it’s inception, DAASHOF was committed to recognizing outstanding, Delaware-born athletes. This included high school, college and professional athletes, coaches and sports professionals, regardless of race. 221 people to date have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
To date, the work that these great men and so many others started can now count hundreds of awards and scholarships given. Additionally, the DAASHOF has recognized just as many deserving individuals since our start in 1996. As the seventh President in the history of this great organization, I am humbled to stand amongst these amazing trailblazers and sports heros to recognize Delaware legends.
DAASHOF has done a lot of great work and we will stretch and do even more. Noteworthy individuals and their contributions will continue to be memorialized. Young people whom are deserving will continue to be supported through financial assistance to go further with their education and their athletic gifts. But this is only the beginning.
I see us:
Come join us as we move forward in a great work.
Mark P. Sills was born and raised on the eastside of Wilmington, DE. Over the years, has established a well-known Delaware and regional reputation as an advocate, organizer and business entrepreneur of youth development programs - with organized youth basketball programs as a focal point. He and his company, Urban Youth, Inc. have received many awards from the Wilmington City Council and local civic groups for their work with Wilmington youth, inclusive of helping many to get into college and receiving college academic and athletic scholarships. He was recently honored to receive an award from the House of Representatives Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, as well as to receive an award from the office of Philadelphia City Hall Mayor Michael Nutter. He has organized Basketball events in conjunction with NBA Professional teams ATLANTA HAWKS, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS, WASHINGTON WIZARDS and Delaware 87ERS. Appointed board member of the Delaware High School Basketball Hall of Fame and serves on the Wilmington Martin Luther King Jr. Referral Center Advisory Board. Mark is also an Alumnus of the H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club, as well as a Board Member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware.
During Mark’s early professional years, he has served as Youth Development Specialist with the Wilmington Housing Authority - with staff responsibility for developing basketball and other recreational programs for youth residing in public housing. He then served as Youth Program Director for the Delaware Girls Club and later as a ten-year Assistant Basketball Coach with the Wilmington Howard High School. At Howard, he was instrumental in helping the team to win the 1996 Delaware State Boys High School Basketball Championship.
For the last 22 years, starting in 1997, Mark has been the Founder and President of Urban Youth, Inc., a business, profit making entity which specialized in organizing and directing organized week-end youth basketball tournaments for non-profit and public youth groups in Wilmington and in many other cities along the north eastern part of the country. Over these last 22 years, Urban Youth, Inc., has served over 20,000 youths and sponsored an average of 35 to 40 organized week-end youth basketball tournaments per year in 20 different cities. About ten percent (10%) of these tournaments have been in Wilmington DE (inclusive of two annual Spring & Fall, nine weekend basketball leagues). The other 90 percent (90%) of these Urban Youth, Inc. weekend basketball tournaments have been annually staged in such cities as Dover Delaware, Toronto Canada, Philadelphia PA, Atlantic City NJ, Germantown MD, Ocean City MD, Chester PA, Baltimore MD, Washington DC, Chantilly VA, Charlotte NC, Atlanta GA, Montgomery AL, Pensacola FL, among many others. He has also been organizing the Urban Youth Inc Basketball League for the past 25 years in Wilmington, DE.
Operationally, Urban Youth, Inc., promotes organized weekend basketball tournaments through its website: Urbanyouthinc.com - with an internet marketing focus on teams located in the geographical area designated for weekend basketball tournaments. Interested teams are able to pay their registration fees on-line. The registration fees are then used to cover the costs of facility rental space; game referees, insurance, trophies/medals and other administrative costs. Mark Sills notes that “we have been fortunate in attracting a constituent core of youth (ages 10-17) basketball teams which annually register to play in our state and regionally based weekend basketball tournaments. Much of this attraction, I believe, can be attributed to the greatly expanded interest girls in organized basketball; the fact that basketball has proven to be the least costly of all organized sport and to the budgetary cuts in youth recreational programs of local municipalities.”
In the pursuit of his youth serving business, Mark acknowledges the support of his public service oriented family, including his father James (Jim) H. Sills, Jr. (former first Black Mayor of Wilmington DE); Jim Sills III (former Delaware State Secretary of the Department of Information and Technology and current CEO of M&F Bank of Durham, NC), and his late grandmother Marjorie E. Duckrey, formerly a well-known social worker of Philadelphia, PA. He also is grateful for the support of his wife, Raynell, his son, Ryan and his sister, Julie. In 2012, the City of Wilmington awarded Mark Sills “Father of the Year.”
Mark attended Delaware State University where he studied business administration and recreation studies. He is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
He is a member of the Delaware Afro American Hall of Fame Committee. Mark is also a board member of the Delaware Sports Broadcaster’s Associations (D.S.B.A.). He was inducted into the Philadelphia Association of Black Sports and Culture Hall of Fame on September 13, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA along with basketball legends Gene Banks, Coach C. Vivian Stringer, Wilt Chamberlain and Norman Oliver. On April 17, 2014 Mr. Sills was inducted into the Delaware Afro American Sports Hall of Fame in Dover, DE. In late 2015, Mark Was awarded the Civic Award from the City of Wilmington, DE Mayor Dennis Williams’ Office, and honored at the Howard High School Class of 1973 42nd Reunion Banquet for being an Advocate and Civic Leader. In April of 2016, Delaware State University Diamond Extravaganza Banquet, awarded Mark for his 20 years of service and contributions to women’s sports. On August 17th, 2017, Mark was honored by the Delaware State University Alumni Association at their annual luncheon for his continued work with youth through sports. On February 22, 2018, Mark Sills was selected to the H. Fletcher Brown Boys & Girls Club Basketball Wall of Fame. On May 7, 2018, Mark was finally elected president of the Delaware Afro American Sports Hall of Fame. In 2018, Mark was featured in the New York Times newspaper, in an article about the state of basketball in Delaware. In February of 2019, Mark was appointed to the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Board in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2019, Mark was featured in the Delaware Today magazine, in an article about his new position as head of the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame, Inc. On September 1, 2019, Mark was awarded Robert Chiney Miller Eastside Day Humanitarian Award from the Eastside Community Day Committee for his work in and for the Wilmington Community.
Mark Sills has worked with The City of Wilmington on numerous community based projects over the last several years. He works with the Howard High School and Howard High Alumni Association on various successful community based projects. Mark is currently a member of the Delaware State University Alumni Committee of the Newcastle, DE Chapter