This week’s Q&A profiles Patrick Cooney, President, Woodlawn Little League and President, The Federal Group, Inc., a government relations advocacy and consulting firm located in Washington, D.C.
Patrick has been with The Federal Group, Inc. since it was founded in 1999. He is entering his second year as president of Woodlawn Little League and has volunteered as a coach for the past seven years. More than 300 players typically register to play for the league each season, ranging in age from 4-16.
Patrick grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and attended Marquette University where he received a B.A. in marketing. After graduating, he moved to the Washington, D.C. area.
Patrick and his wife, Jackie, have lived in Mount Vernon for the last seven years. They have three children, ages 11, 7 and 5.
Describe Woodlawn Little League in a nutshell.
Woodlawn has been in this community for almost 50 years. It’s not only a place where kids can play baseball and enjoy learning the game, but it’s literally an institution in this area.
How has Woodlawn’s program changed in the last few years?
Recently, we’ve made several capital improvements. Volunteers have worked to improve the fields and dugouts. Our focus has really been to try to improve the field of play for the kids. Overall, it’s now a better physical place to play than when we first started out. The league also has made some investments in updating equipment, as well as new uniforms for the players.
What’s an interesting aspect of your job?
The most interesting aspect for me has been working with such a great group of volunteers to put together a quality baseball program. Together, we have tried to design a program for these kids that is not only fun, but also a great learning experience.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering for little league?
Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed watching my kids, and all of the other kids, really learn the game of baseball. It’s so cool to watch them grow and develop as players.
How has little league changed since you played as a child?
Honestly, the nicest thing about baseball is that I actually don’t think it has changed much since I was young. Little league has always been a constant throughout the years. The product that was there when I was a kid — a place where you could go in your community that felt safe and fun — is still present. Little league has always encouraged kids to develop a sense of ‘team,’ as well as learn the rules of the game (which have changed just slightly over time).
Where is your favorite place to go in the Mount Vernon area?
I would have to say [George Washington’s] . I love history … it’s really fascinating to have such incredible history so close to our neighborhood.
Favorite area restaurant?
It’s a close tie between Five Guys and Mamma's Kitchen.
What are your hobbies?
Baseball, of course, golf and politics.
What’s on your iPod?
Everything from the Violent Femmes, Jackson Browne and Bob Dylan to the Moody Blues, AC/DC and ELO.
What’s the last book you read?
Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow.
Any big plans for Woodlawn Little League in the next handful of years?
Big picture plans are in the works to completely overhaul and renovate the league’s current playing fields [and surrounding areas]. In fact, recently, Fairfax County has graciously helped our league’s Board of Directors to come to an agreement on what the new “complex” should look like. The current plan, which is estimated to cost about $4 million, will help revamp the playing fields and expand our current status of two lit fields to four total, create a paved parking area, build brand new bathrooms, playgrounds and a new concessions area. The plan is now in place. However, now our Board will have to work with Fairfax County to find the resources to help make this plan a reality. Woodlawn Little League is very pleased that County officials have come to the table to recognize the importance of this project … especially, because the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County deserves quality athletic fields, too.
Editor’s Note: With baseball season right around the corner, there are many opportunities to get your child ready for the upcoming season, as well as an opportunity to register at Woodlawn Little League. Player assessments begin on March 11. Visit Woodlawn Little League's website to check out the league’s upcoming events and registration details.