By Eric Dixon
July 12, 2019
Zane C. Major, Sr., a former St. Joe’s great and pillar of the
community, showed many what could be done when passion meets purpose.
His love of basketball and photography along with a profound
understanding of the importance of “paying it forward” and leading
the youth came together to help Major have a positive impact on the
youth in two needy communities, in Philadelphia and Reading.
His legacy of nurturing and guiding young people will be honored for
years to come through the Zane C. Major, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund
presented by the Philadelphia Youth Basketball organization. The
scholarships, four college scholarships and 2 paid high school
internships, were introduced to an audience of about 3 dozen
youngsters and staff attending the PYB basketball camp at St. Joseph’s
University’s Hagan Arena.
Cindy Major, sister of the honoree and his “first model”, shared her
perspective on Major’s early years behind a camera and on the court.
“He always had his camera ready to take a photo of family and
flowers.” His basketball games at Roman Catholic High School and St.
Joe’s were family events that were rarely missed.
She said his involvement with mentoring youngsters began with his days
running the Sonny Hill basketball clinic. This involvement would span
decades and impact many children and young adults. He wanted to help
them find their passion whether it was on the court or behind the
lens. Those in attendance appreciated the effect of his contribution
One such attendee was Laila, a bright 11 year old from Reading, and
her grandmother, Christine Tenney of Delaware. “I love the sport,”
gushed Tenney, a “dominant player” during her time at Reading High
School in the late 1970’s, as she explained why she was excited about
transporting her grand-daughter the hour or so drive from her former
hometown to the Hagan this week. “(Players) learn how to collaborate,
and the value of teamwork and respect” while playing basketball, added
the former coach.
These are ideals Major sought to instill in his teammates as a player
at St. Joes from 1975-79. Although he as a double figure scorer and
would end his illustrious career as a Hawk as a member of the
program’s 1000 point club, it was a his leadership, character and
passion that are the cornerstones of his legacy.
Mo Howard, a long time friend of Major also spoke encouraging the kids
to appreciate the memories they make as they play and grow in the
game. “Those memories will come together and become experiences and it
is those experiences that will help shape who you become,” he told the
young players seated on the Hagan Arena main floor.
Crystal Gilmore-Harris, Major’s long time girlfriend and “soul mate”
also addressed the campers. She explained that he was “passionate
about everything he did.” According to Gilmore-Harris, he was only
able to help the youth in Reading for 3 years before his untimely
passing this past January, but in that short time he was able to help
many of the young people in the community.