St. Mary’s Academy photo
Anna Maria Lopez on the basketball court in 1977.
St. Mary’s Academy photo
Anna Maria Lopez on the basketball court in 1977.
One of St. Mary’s Academy’s most renowned athletes will be inducted into the CYO Hall of Fame this year.

Anna Maria Lopez, athletic director at the all-girls high school for 22 years, has been collecting sports accolades her entire life. Between 1974-’78, she was a four-sport athlete for the Blues. She played two state championship-winning volleyball seasons, taking three all-state honors, and in basketball won two all-state honors.

She became an ASA All-American softball player, and won the state discuss championship twice. During her senior year, she was named Oregon Prep Athlete of the Year.

During her college years, Lopez played volleyball and basketball on scholarships at the University of Southern California. In 1980, she competed for the United States at the 1980 world University Games in Romania in volleyball, and later played professional Major League Volleyball.
In 1984, she returned to St. Mary’s, where she was honored as state coach of the year for her leadership of the school’s volleyball and track and field teams.

“I’m really proud to be able to continue here at the school and be a part of the lives of all these young women who want to follow the same path – to be involved in athletics and use that as a vehicle to grow and learn skills beyond the classroom that will help them later in life,” Lopez said.

In 2001, Lopez was named Oregon’s top athletic director. She was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

She will be the second athlete inducted into the CYO Hall of Fame. Last year, that honor went to NFL football player Joey Harrington.

Lopez’ sporting career started at the Madeleine Grade School in Northeast Portland.  There she learned the Catholic foundations of healthy competition.

After all these years, Lopez said, she finds herself returning to those schools where she started her sporting career. The gyms seem much small now, but many of the faces are the same – her peers on the court are now parents of young athletes.

St. Mary’s athletics has a history of benefitting from CYO sports, where incoming students have learned skills and perspectives that place them ahead of their peers who competed in other elementary and middle school programs that weren’t as venerable as CYO. Over time, other club and community-based programs caught up, but when Lopez was a student athlete, CYO was at the forefront of women’s athletic opportunities.

When Lopez was informed she would be inducted into the CYO Hall of Fame, she said she felt flattered.

“The organization has been around for a long time, and certainly I know I’ve been a huge beneficiary on a personal level and also in what I do for work or school,” she said. “I was really touched.”

— Clarice Keating