BAHOF Lifetime Achievement Award
Criteria for Lifetime Achievement
Candidates for lifetime achievement special recognition shall have:
- Distinguished themselves by making an outstanding contribution or bringing great honor to the Ottawa University athletic program.
- Agreed to be present for the award ceremony to personally receive their award unless deceased or incapacitated, in which case a family member or friends my accept the award on behalf of the recipient.
Dr. Ronnie Averyt
Ronald was one of Ottawa University’s most beloved faculty members and avid supporters of Braves athletics. He served OU for 38 years, joining the faculty in 1961 with lifelong friends Rev. Keith Shumway and Dr. Charles Anderson. Ronald was a professor of history and political science, and in 1971 became chair of the Department of History & Political Science. He also chaired the Social & Behavioral Science Division, and advised students in the aforementioned disciplines and in pre-law. Ronald earned tenure in 1972, and that same year was conferred with the Master of Humane Letters honorary degree by the board of trustees. The citation read, in part, “for your creative audacity.” His enthusiasm and support of Braves athletics was unmatched as he rarely missed a contest on campus. Ronald also served for many years as the University’s representative to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). In addition, he served as the sponsor for two OU social clubs, Sigma Delta Phi and Delta Chi Omega. Over the years, he received many awards and accolades, including three OU Oscars for “Most Involved Professor,” “Most Effective Teacher” and “Most Inspirational Professor.” He was “Professor of the Year” in 1977, and “Distinguished Professor” in 1987. Before retiring in 1999, Ronald delivered the keynote address at the University’s 134th commencement ceremony. The speech was titled: “My Questions, Comments & Observations.” Following his presentation, by a vote of faculty and upon the authority of the board of trustees, Ronald was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa. Even after his retirement, Ronald volunteered in various capacities at the University until failing health caused him to stop. On July 22, 2005, at the age of 71, Ronald passed away.
Elaine Pyle worked in our OU registrar’s office for 22 years. She was the registrar for the last 11 of those years. She was a beautiful person, a difference maker and a very dear friend to all. Elaine inspired all of us to reach new heights and be better people than even we knew we could be. She was caring, honest, loyal, fair, loving and generous. She always knew the right thing to say, but maybe even more importantly knew when no words were needed. Her unconditional love and support was a unifying force for our OU basketball programs. She helped make us a family. Elaine was a leader and unifying force really for all who got to know her on our campus (students, faculty & staff). Elaine’s legacy of love, support and inspiration lives on and makes a positive difference in many of us still today. We congratulate Elaine and the entire Pyle family. It is an honor for BAHOF to present this award to her husband Bill, daughter Julie, and her grandchildren, Preston, Kendra and Timmy, Brandi & Keith. Thanks for sharing Elaine with us!.
Jim is from Clay Center, KS and began his college career at Ottawa University in 1949. He was a member of the OU football, basketball and track teams beginning in 1949. He took a couple years off to serve in the US Air Force returning to OU to complete his education in the fall of 1954. He and his wife Doris live in Ottawa and are among the most loyal Braves fans.
Jim joined the Braves coaching staff under then head coach, Ben Moor in 1975 as Offensive Backfield Coach. He both coached and played football as a member of the USAF and coached in the Ottawa, KS youth leagues where he turned out two great football players. His son Steve Grogan played quarterback at K-State and was later drafted by the New England Patriots in the 1975 NFL draft, leading to a 16 year NFL career. His son Scott played football at Ottawa University and is a member of the Braves Athletic Hall of Fame. Jim has been a great and willing resource to many young coaches over the years as they first came to OU. He was always knowledgeable, available, supportive and encouraging.
Jim took the lead in raising funds for the Bill Swift Scholarship Fund which had been started in 1956 under the leadership of Ottawa banker, George Lister to provide scholarships to deserving OU student Athletes. Many members of the BAHOF have been recipient of those scholarships. Bill was a staunch supporter of OU Athletics and was a fixture at practices as well as games. We honored Bill with the very first BAHOF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Jim has had a great impact on OU Athletics over the years and the BAHOF is pleased to recognize his outstanding contribution.
President Andrew B. Martin (1897-1985)
Dr. Andrew B. Martin was a proud Irishman with degrees from Colgate University, Baptist Union Theological Seminary, Marquette University and Harvard University. He promoted progressive education and was the longest serving president in OU history (1935-1967). He also believed that the purpose of a college was to serve the whole person.
Dr. Martin recognized the important contribution that athletics play in the life of a University and in the development of future leaders. Being a former soccer player at Colgate, he was instrumental in starting the soccer program at OU. Ottawa University athletics flourished under his leadership and his selection of outstanding coaches to lead the various teams brought championships and honor to OU.
William A."Bill" Swift (1879-1963)
If anyone could be called Ottawa University's No. 1 fan, that individual would be Bill Swift, longtime Ottawa banker and resident. For more than 60 years, he was familiar with every member of the football team. He knew the coaches and players personally and could tell countless stories of their adventures. Bill found as much pleasure in attending practice sessions of the football and basketball teams as he did attending the actual games. Bill was a familiar sight at all home football games and many of the away games. In the 30's during the depression, the school did not furnish football shoes for its players. It was not uncommon for a dozen players at a time to be wearing shoes purchased by Bill. He also provided small loans to players to tide them over when spending money was hard to find. To this day, the Bill Swift Scholarship that he established has been awarded to countless students to assist with their educational costs.