The Otterbein “O” Club is the nonprofit athletic boosters association affiliated with Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. The “O” Club is a separate nonprofit; is operated by its own board of directors, and maintains its own 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
Donations to the “O” Club are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law and are reported to the University and counted towards the University’s giving levels. All donations should be payable to the OTTERBEIN “O” CLUB and may be made by check, credit card, electronic funds transfer or gifts of stock.
For information on Otterbein’s athletic program, go to www.otterbeincardinals.com
For information on Otterbein University, go to www.otterbein.edu
History of the Otterbein “O” Club and Its Contributions to Otterbein University Athletics
The Otterbein “O” Club is an outgrowth of the Varsity “O” Club established in 1904 by the Otterbein Athletic Association as an organization for male student-athletes who had received a varsity letter in one of the athletic programs at Otterbein University. The student organization thrived and was an integral part of student life on Otterbein’s campus up through the early 1960s.
In 1955, the year that Robert “Moe” Agler ’48 was appointed head football coach, his friends, former football teammates and fellow WWII navy veterans: Edwin “Dubbs” Roush ’47 and Francis “Red” Bailey ’43, sought and received permission to establish a Varsity “O” Alumni Club. In addition to Roush, who served as the organization’s first president, and Bailey, who served as its first vice president, the original board of directors also included John Zezech ’44 (secretary and treasurer) and Harold Augspurger ’41, and Dwight “Smokey” Ballenger ’39 (directors).
The primary goal was to assist the staff in recruiting “good, worthy athletes,” following the 1953 Ohio Athletic Conference landmark ruling that severely restricted the recruiting of student-athletes among member schools. Recruiting dinners and fundraisers began almost immediately. The first major project was the installation of stadium lights in 1958.
Not long after its organization, the “O” Club invited Mrs. Vida (Shauck) Clements to become its first female member and shortly thereafter the club was opened to non-Varsity “O” athletes, women, and the general public.
Dwight “Smokey” Ballenger (“Mr. Otterbein”), served as “O” Club president from 1958-1990 and led the “O” Club as it adapted to changes in the rules at school, conference and national levels. Initially established to “aid and assist the College to maintain a respectable and competitive athletic program and encourage good, worthy, student-athletes to attend Otterbein College,” and “O” Club continues its mission to, “aid and assist,” Otterbein University with its athletic program.
Over the last 60 years, the “O” Club has partnered with Otterbein to enhance its athletic program in countless ways. Supported by the donations of individuals, businesses, trusts, and foundations, the “O” Club has played a significant role in improving Otterbein’s athletic facilities, benefitting not only its student-athletes but the entire campus and extended Westerville community as well. The “O” Club has provided over $7 million in support to Otterbein by helping to facilitate donations directly to the University or through the “O” Club to the University. In more recent years the “O” Club, along with the Vida S. Clements Foundation, spearheaded the new Stadium Project (dedicated in 2005). The “O” Club handled the fundraising and ultimately donated over $3.1 million to this project. The organization followed this project by installing an $86,000 new weight room in the back of the Rike Center (dedicated in 2008). The “O” Club then assisted the University in raising funds to install a new track and artificial turf in the stadium, ultimately donating over $1.2 million for the project (dedicated in 2014).
Your financial support of the “O” Club enables us to continue this vital support of Otterbein athletics.
“O” Club Foundation
One of the most significant developments within the “O” Club was the establishment of the “O” Club Foundation in 1981. Initiated and formulated by Robert “Moe” Agler, Edwin “Dubbs” Roush, Dwight “Smokey” Ballenger, Jack Groseclose, and Elmer “Bud” Yoest (who served as the men’s athletic director at the time), the Foundation was created for the purpose of providing interest funds to be used for the Otterbein athletic department. Francis “Red” Bailey served as counsel to the Foundation, soundly guiding the “O” Club through the legal maneuvers. The initial goal was to solicit $1,000 pledges from 100 people, to be paid over a three-year period. When that goal was met, the sights were set on $300,000. Eventually, the mark was raised to $1 million. The vision of the men already mentioned, combined with their own enthusiasm and personal integrity, donations from athletic boosters, and time, eventually yielded the desired results and put the “O” Club in the position to undertake the Stadium Project, which resulted in a new Memorial Stadium dedicated on September 17, 2005.
Jack Pietila ’62, during his 11 years as "O" Club president, focused on rebuilding the Foundation, which once again is nearing the $1 million mark.