City of Toledo Honors Jan Scotland

Councilman John Hobbs renames Sleepy Hollow Ballfield to Jan Scotland Memorial Ballfield

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

The city of Toledo honored the late Jan Scotland for his dedication to youth athletics by renaming the Sleepy Hollow Ballfield to Jan Scotland Memorial Ballfield Saturday October 28, 2023.  The Toledoan led the Sleepy Hollow Athletic League that served the areas youth for 27 years until his passing this July.

Councilman John Hobbs (District 1) led the effort to rename the ballfield that is located in the Reynolds Corner neighborhood at Sleepy Hollow Park. It was at this park and ballfield that Jan Scotland started the Sleepy Hollow Athletic League in 1996. Scotland felt the need to create the program after the teenaged son of one of his friends was gunned down in a parking lot as he often stated “for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.” He wanted to create a program that would keep the city’s youth out of trouble and provide them with constructive activities.

Former coaches of Sleepy Hollow Athletic League celebrate at the Jan Scotland Ballfield

Scotland championed athletics in the area and through the program taught hundreds of the area’s youth the fundamentals of sports and good sportsman like conduct. The volunteer-led league, at its height, taught the areas youth t-ball, baseball, softball, soccer, football, tennis, golf, cheerleading , and  basketball while always remaining affordable and allowing all children to play regardless of ability and gender. Many players of the league went on to continued future successes.  Sleepy Hollow was the league where Zia Cooke started playing basketball.

Scotland led the program as its founder and director for 27 years, later continuing the program while battling many illnesses, until his passing this summer to cancer at the age of 67.

Family, friends, church members, former players and coaches gathered at the ballpark to celebrate Jan Scotland and his legacy to the community.

Senator Paul Hicks-Hudson and members of Toledo City Council with family and friends of Jan Scotland

Speakers included Councilman John Hobbs, State Senator Paula Hicks- Hudson, Councilwoman Vanice Williams District 4, Tiffany Preston Whitman, Councilwoman at Large, Cerssandra McPherson , Councilwoman at Large, Joe Fausnaugh, Director of Parks and Recreation, Pastor Stanley Clark, assistant minister at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Tina Butts of the Movement, Worshipful Master Bobby Pope of Prince Hall Amazon Lodge No. 4, Dana Matthewson, State Farm Agent and Tom Duncan, Sleepy Hollow Athletic League coach.

Councilman Hobbs provide a proclamation renaming the park and a certificate to the widow of Jan Scotland, Margie Scotland, for her dedication to the league and to her husband’s efforts. The widow organized the program for many years providing the backbone of the organization.

Jan Scotland’s daughter Dawn Scotland, son Alexander Scotland and widow Margie Scotland at the newly dedicated field

“Mr. Jan Scotland truly touched our lives… he touched my life…, stated Hobbs, “people ask what can we do about gun violence…” Hobbs noted to many luminaries who’ve lead the way. “[Young men] can’t be what they can’t see… Until our black men start doing, and lift up the baton that was carried by Jan Scotland.. that’s the only way to stop the violence,” commented Hobbs.

State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson provide the park with a state flag and remarked, “There was one thing that was really clear: his love of family, of the church and of children. When the city decided to cut the recreation programs, Jan was tirelessly working for ways to keep this park and those programs going… he had a commitment and belief that the city could and should do better for the people here and especially the young people.”

It’s really easy to build a park…” remarked Joe Fausnaugh, director of Parks of Recreation, “but it takes someone really special to make the park the fabric of the community… I’m extremely grateful that Mr. Scotland poured himself into this park and poured himself into our community… I really hope that what he did here will inspire other people [to do the same].”

Special thanks to friends and family including son Alexander Scotland and friend and coach Tom Duncan for their efforts to rename the ballpark.