NEWBURYPORT — Steve MacRae has never been one to delegate responsibility when it comes to running a basketball league.
That has been a good thing over the last six years for the Newburyport Boys Basketball Association. While serving as NBBA president, MacRae has been at the forefront of the association's rapid growth and increased competitiveness among Cape Ann League programs.
MacRae oversaw his final championship weekend as president Saturday and Sunday; he will step down from his post prior to the start of next season. He coached each of his son's teams from fifth through eighth grade, and with his youngest, Cameron, now set to enroll in high school next fall, Steve will no longer have a child playing in the NBBA.
"We had a nice run," MacRae said. "It's time to pass the torch to others. I'll stay involved, but it won't be as president."
Turnover at the top of the Board of Directors is common in any youth sports league, but this change in leadership is particularly noteworthy due to MacRae's immense contributions during his tenure. Now in its 10th year of existence, the NBBA has grown from a 27 boys in its first year to 250 boys this winter.
One of MacRae's first actions as president was to add a developmental league for third- and fourth-graders to the already existing league, which included boys from fifth- to eighth-grade. There are now 80 boys in the developmental program.
"Seeing the growth of the league is the biggest highlight," MacRae said. "Seeing how many teams we have now, the in-town tournament has become a big event for the community. Our program is starting to really drive a lot of basketball players to the high school."
Each grade level between fifth and eighth grade has a travel team in the NBBA. Last weekend, the NBBA fifth-grade team was the first of any Newburyport team to win a Cape Ann League Division 1 title after finishing 17-0. The sixth-grade team won a CAL Division 2 championship. The eighth-grade team, coached by MacRae, was the runner-up in CAL Division 2.