Established in 2005 by the Department of Athletics, the “Pay Forward Society” was created to distinguish a special group of benefactors, whether individual or group, who have provided single gifts of $5 million or more to Ohio State athletics projects.

The society’s name is borrowed from the teachings of former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes.

Pay Forward Society Contributors

Paying forward is a family affair for the Cranes. Thirty individuals representing three generations of the Columbus-area family pledged $13.5 million to The Ohio State University to establish the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute and fund early-childhood and foreign-language education initiatives.

The majority of the three-pronged gift will honor Jameson Crane (’47), a former Ohio State football team member and chairman emeritus of  Crane Group, a family-owned, private holding and management company based in Columbus. The Buckeye-laden family tree also includes Tanny Crane (’78), the current president and CEO of  Crane Group; her cousin, Mike Crane (JD, ’78), president of The Crane Group Companies, and Mike’s wife, Paige Crane (’82); Rob Crane, MD, an associate professor of family medicine at the university; and Rob and Tanny Crane’s father, the late Robert S. Crane Jr. (’46), and their mother, Loann Crane (’47).  In addition, the younger generations are represented, with Brian Westwater set to graduate from Fisher College in May 2014, David Crane employed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, and Christie Crane receiving her master’s degree in 2010.

The Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute at The Ohio State University will be the largest and most comprehensive dedicated sports medicine facility in the country. The Crane gift will also fund the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy at the university’s Schoenbaum Family Center at Weinland Park, and the Loann Crane Advanced Language Institute, a student resource named for community volunteer and Crane Group Director, Loann Crane.

Caryn and Sam Covelli epitomize commitment and passion to family and community. Through their faith, compassion and generosity, they have established a premier training and competitive space that will propel countless student-athletes to become the best they can be in their disciplines and in their communities.

In 2012, the Covelli family committed to a gift that would forever change Ohio State Athletics and the lives of those who would one day call themselves Buckeyes. This gift was the very first to the Athletics District and was responsible for turning a vision into a reality.

It was Sam’s father, Albert Covelli, who taught him the importance of paying forward. Albert, a World War II veteran, understood the honor that came with being able to help others. Sam took what he learned from his father and now passes this knowledge through to his company, Covelli Enterprises. The Covelli family and their company instill this culture of philanthropy in everything they do, and the impact of their generosity is apparent across the country.

Here at Ohio State, their impact and legacy are undeniable. Student-athletes, coaches, staff and the Buckeye community are afforded unparalleled experiences because of the Covelli family. The Department of Athletics is forever grateful to Caryn and Sam for their dedication to service.

Jole and Jim Harmon, natives of the Toledo area, have been life-long followers of Ohio State. Their generous gift financed a significant renovation and expansion of the Ohio State practice facilities adjacent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

This renovation gave the Buckeyes two natural grass practice fields and two FieldTurf fields like the Ohio Stadium turf, along with four giant towers for the team videographers to record practices, and high-powered sound system, and six towers holding 248 giant lights that has no trouble lighting the four fields.

The Harmon Family Football Park, named for the Harmons, provides Ohio State football with one of the finest, if not the finest, practice fields in all of college football…perhaps even all of football.

Huntington Bank’s long and distinguished history of supporting programs throughout Central Ohio includes their continued partnership with The Ohio State University — a relationship nearly 150 years in the making. Huntington Bank has committed to building a better experience for students, faculty, staff and the campus community by investing in the renovation of Ohio Stadium and the construction of The Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Strengthening Buckeye Nation and the university through projects like these has been a priority to Huntington Bank, and the impact will be felt for the next 150 years and beyond.

The Schumaker Complex was made possible in large part through the generosity of Tina and Byron Trott. The Trott’s philanthropic reach extends far beyond athletics, as they have long shown dedication to investing in the education of students from across the nation.

Their gifts to The Ohio State University have included: the Horatio Alger Trott Family Scholarship Program; the Schumaker and Trott Scholarship funds; and the Harold Schumaker Family Football Field, among others. With the ability to impact over 800 student-athletes annually as a training site for on-field and in-classroom preparation, the core function of the Schumaker Complex hit home, embodying the passions of the Schumaker and Trott families.

The Trott family was inspired to dedicate this gift to Harold and Shirley Schumaker, Tina Trott’s parents. Harold and Shirley Schumaker, both lifetime Buckeye fans, instilled within their children the values of industriousness, love and paying forward.

The Schumakers also passed down their abiding love for Ohio State to their children. Three generations have now attended the university and each has continued to hold dear the family’s values. Standing in the heart of Ohio State’s Athletics District, the Schumaker Complex is a representation of the family’s collective passion for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Robert F. and Edgar T. Wolfe Foundation made a gift to permanently endow the position of director of athletics.

“We believe that leadership is critical to the athletics program’s long-term success,” said board member Bruce Soll. “This gift is an acknowledgment by the foundation that leadership is a difference maker.”

At the foundation’s request, the annual income from the endowment will be used at the discretion of the athletics director. In addition, the position will be permanently named the “Wolfe Foundation Endowed Director of Athletics.”

“Ohio State’s athletics program is a tremendous source of pride for our community,” said board member Pam Farber. “It is highly visible, creates enthusiasm and a common bond that ties so many of us to the university in a very positive way.”

Grateful to the entire board, Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith shared a close relationship with its late chairman, John F. Wolfe.

“John Wolfe represented the epitome of integrity,” Gene said. “I have been extremely fortunate to have known him well. As one of our city’s strongest leaders, his guidance and counsel have been invaluable. I am honored and blessed to have called him my friend.” Upon Gene’s retirement, Gene Smith’s name will be added to the named position, “Wolfe Foundation Endowed Eugene Smith Director of Athletics.”

Throughout their life journey together, Mae and Bill McCorkle were partners in parenthood, business and philanthropy.

Bill, who passed away in August 2003, had a passion for athletics. He was a walk-on player for the Ohio State football and baseball teams in 1946, as well as a competitive swimmer. He was also a Navy Seal during World War II. Bill’s father was a friend of coaching legend Mike Peppe, Ohio State’s first swimming coach from 1931.

In 2002, Mae and Bill learned about the initiative to expand Ohio State’s indoor recreation facilities — what would become the Recreation and Physical Activity Center. That turned out to be an exact match with Mae and Bill McCorkle’s love of swimming, philanthropy and Ohio State. The McCorkle’s generous gift enabled the university to build what is widely recognized as the top aquatic center in the United States.

Martha and Al Phipps left a legacy of giving that will not soon be forgotten.

Al, a 1936 graduate from Ohio State with a degree in mechanical engineering, made his first gift to the university of $2.00 in January, 1941. With money from their estate, Al and Martha made a transformational gift that allowed Ohio State to renovate the varsity golf course and provide scholarships to men’s and women’s golfers. Al especially, loved golf and wanted to ensure Ohio State would have one of the premiere collegiate golf courses in the country.

According to former men’s golf head coach, Jim Brown, the gifts from Martha and Al allowed Ohio State to host big events, such as the women’s NCAA championships, Big Ten championships and regional NCAA championships. The improvement and maintenance of the Scarlet and Gray courses have benefitted Ohio State students, faculty, staff and alumni alike, and have served as an example of the Phipps’ commitment to excellence.

Les Wexner has made transformational changes to Ohio State and the Buckeye community.

Les, his foundation and business have pledged or contributed well over $200 million to the university. Those donations have touched nearly every discipline, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Max M. Fisher College of Business, Moritz College of Law, College of Veterinary Medicine, and, of course, the Wexner Medical Center.

Leading by example, Les made L Brands, Inc. a major contributor to Pelotonia, United Way and the Komen Race for the Cure, among many others. He has championed more than 1 million hours to various causes.

“We have to do good, while doing well,” he has often been quoted as saying. He, his family and his business do exactly that. He is the essence of what it means to “pay forward.”

Ground was broken April 2, 1996 for Value City Arena at The Jerome Schottenstein Center. Named after a generous lead gift, the center pays tribute to Jerome Schottenstein, late Columbus businessman, philanthropist and founder of Schottenstein Stores Corp.

The Schottenstein Center is the home of the Ohio State University Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, as well as Men’s Ice Hockey. The multipurpose facility also hosts a wide variety of special events, concerts, family shows and touring productions.

The Schottenstein family’s generosity is unmistakable across the university. Their dedication to cancer research has a transformational impact on thousands of lives. The Department of Athletics is forever grateful for their continuous support of its programs and the university as a whole.

The late Michael Bloch was a long-time resident of Columbus, accomplished businessman and generous philanthropist who shared a special bond with Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Eugene Smith.

Michael graduated with a degree in finance from Ohio State in 1961. Michael has been an avid Buckeye fan ever since.

Michael’s generosity is not only to the institution of which he was so proud, but to the people who lead it. Through years of friendship with medical leaders Dr. David Schuller, Dr. John Byrd and Dr. Michael Caligiuri, Michael was motivated to give to the James Cancer Hospital in recognition of the physicians’ tremendous contributions to clinical care, teaching and research. In addition, Michael had been a major contributor to the Herbert J. Block Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit the James Cancer Hospital.

Michael’s gift to athletics provides a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center in the Schumaker Complex. Michael requested that in recognition of his leadership of the athletics program, the strength and conditioning center be named in honor of Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith.

Jackie and Bill have earned high regard in the Columbus community and beyond for their thoughtful and strategic philanthropic work. Their investments in Ohio State have touched many lives on campus: students; student-athletes; coaches, support staff and administrators; cancer and heart/lung patients, researchers and physicians; and more.

But it was the gift to create Bill Davis Stadium, completed in 1997, that turned Bill Wells into baseball’s most loyal supporter. “Bill always loved athletics, but when he got involved with the baseball stadium, he became really passionate,” said Jackie.

Through the William H. Davis, Dorothy M. Davis and William C. Davis Foundation, the Department of Athletics was able to construct the Davis Foundation Sports Nutrition and Dining Center at the Schumaker Complex. Nearly all student-athletes utilize this center, which provides a space for team meals, cooking and etiquette classes, team banquets and much more.

The Ohio State University Department of Athletics is proud to call the Cronin family a loyal partner and friend. Through their company, Dayton Freight Lines, Inc., brothers Tom and Mike Cronin, and their families, have generously supported athletics. Their gifts have had a transformational impact upon Buckeye student-athletes that will continue into the future.

Tom and Mike are graduates of Ohio State and understand the value of paying forward. The family’s philanthropy is part of why the Ohio State Athletics District came to fruition. It is a place where student-athletes from all varsity sports have the opportunity to grow as people and as competitors.

The Cronin family has built their company into one of the premier transportation enterprises in the country. Dayton Freight is known for its prudent growth, operational excellence, technological advancements and, most importantly, an unparalleled company culture known as “The Dayton Difference.”

As we look around the Ohio State Athletics District today, we can certainly see the impacts of “The Dayton Difference.” Every single student-athlete and coach, from this generation to the next, will benefit from the generosity and compassion of the Cronin family.

For over three decades, the Nourse family has been generously involved with Ohio State Athletics by providing significant contributions to its tennis program. Their legacy has been one of dedication to student-athletes on and off the court. The Nourse Family helped fund the Ty Tucker Tennis Center, the new indoor tennis facility within the Athletics District.

Their philanthropy will be truly transformational for generations of future Buckeyes through the centralized tennis complex that will be instrumental in the success of the men’s and women’s teams. Their unparalleled enthusiasm for Buckeye tennis has made them an invaluable part of our team.

“Dick and Eva always help with the finances, but the amount of time they spend on the weekends cheering on Buckeye tennis is unbelievable. I am so fortunate to have this relationship.” said Director of Tennis and Head Men’s Tennis Coach Ty Tucker.

As a result of their support, countless student-athletes will be given an opportunity to reach their fullest potential as scholars and as athletes at Ohio State.

For Mike O’Shaughnessy, The Ohio State University has had a lasting impact on his life. Originally from northeast Ohio, Mike came from modest beginnings where obtaining a college degree was not an easy option. Lacking the resources to pay for school and determined to not accumulate debt, he relied upon hard work and persistence to graduate from Ohio State earning a degree in economics.

The O’Shaughnessys have a passion for entrepreneurialism, and the resulting job and economic opportunities it creates for families. Through the ongoing fulfillment of their passion, they have contributed to the lives of countless individuals creating an extraordinary legacy.

Throughout his life, Mike witnessed his parent’s generosity and their commitment to serve others and better their community.

“It begins and ends with how I was raised. I have been abundantly blessed and I want to honor that by paying it forward to others,” Mike said.

Mike’s gift helped fund the Ohio State Athletics District, and the court at the Covelli Center is named in honor of their generosity.

Originally from Lima, Ohio, philanthropy is a family affair for the Wandells.

“We feel it’s important to give back in ways that are meaningful” Keith said. “It’s a real honor to be able to help others in ways that really make a difference.”

Their transformational gift to athletics impacts virtually every student-athlete at Ohio State. A portion funded the Wandell Family Players Suite at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The renovation expands the current player’s lounge and the food-service capacity to meet the needs of the entire team at one time. Another portion of their gift helps to fund the Athletics District, where the recognition will be named in honor of a longtime Wandell family friend and fellow Buckeye fan, Wellington “Lew” Lash. The final portion of their gift funds the endowment of the defensive coordinator position for Ohio State football.

Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith stated, “They are an extraordinary family. Deb and Keith — time and again — have expressed what an honor it is to give. The honor is all ours — to display the Wandell name in our south end zone in recognition of their lifelong passion and support for the Buckeyes.”

For decades, the McCoy Family has been giving back across The Ohio State University, reflecting their broad interests.

John B. McCoy credits his mother and father with instilling the need to give back.

“Our parents had a love for Columbus and a love for the Buckeyes. They truly believed in helping to make the world a better place through philanthropy.”

A portion of their gift was used to endow the McCoy Family Athletic Scholars Program, while the balance helped fund the Schumaker Complex.

“Our mother went to Ohio State, and our father loved sports, especially the Buckeyes,” Jinny McCoy said. “With this gift, we are combining two things my parents loved.”

The McCoy’s philanthropy has touched many lives over three generations and continues today. Jane and John’s three children, Paige Meuse, Tracy Gillette and John T., are carrying on the family’s legacy of giving.

“We are immensely proud to add the McCoy name to our Pay Forward Society,” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith said. “The McCoy name is synonymous with thep leaders of Columbus. I had the privilege of shared wisdom from John G. McCoy, and I hold very dear my friendship over the past 13 years with John B. The family’s support of Ohio State has been simply phenomenal.”

Through four generations, the Auer family has been deeply rooted with Ohio State. John is a proud Buckeye alumnus (’76) having followed in the steps of his father and grandfather, along with his wife Sheila (’82), two of his three children, Austin (’11) and Meredith (’12), and the family’s honorary alumna, their beloved dog, Penny.

Shelia and John’s recent transformational gift will be used to name a new tennis complex within the Athletics District. The Auer Tennis Complex will encompass the existing Stickney Tennis Center as well as the new Ty Tucker Tennis Center. The Ohio State men’s and women’s tennis teams have become national powerhouses, and for the first time in the programs’ history, the teams will have a complex that centralizes all tennis operations.

John is the former president and CEO of American Strategic Insurance group (ASI), which he founded in 1997. ASI provides a voluntary market for residential property insurance, and under John’s direction has grown to become one of the 15 largest residential property insurers in the United States. The Auer family’s commitments of time and philanthropic support have undoubtedly impacted countless individuals at this university and across the nation. We are forever grateful for their support, which will impact student-athletes’ health and well-being, and successes on the courts.

The Ohio State Department of Athletics is proud to welcome Rite Rug Flooring and owner Michael Goldberg and his wife Anita to the Pay Forward Society. Rite Rug Flooring has been a trusted name in flooring since 1934. Founded in Downtown Columbus, Rite Rug has expanded to become one of the largest flooring retailers in the United States.

The Goldbergs are an industrious family who have remained committed to philanthropy. Anita and Michael are passionate about investing in Central Ohio and their impact can be found across the region, including support of The Ohio State University.

Their most recent gift is a $5 million commitment in support of the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute and the Women of Scarlet and Gray Fund. Their gift to the institute is the largest in its history and will be critical in furthering the mission of providing leadership, character and career development for all Ohio State student-athletes in order to best prepare them for life after graduation. Their commitment to support the Women of Scarlet and Gray Fund is the endowment’s very first gift. The fund will be used to support and enhance the experience and development of student-athletes participating in a women’s varsity sport at Ohio State in perpetuity.

Rite Rug and Anita and Michael Goldberg are champions of equity for all. Their enduring legacy at The Ohio State University and across Central Ohio is one that promotes integrity, fairness and generosity. The Department of Athletics is forever grateful for their dedication to pay forward.

The Ohio State Department of Athletics is humbled to welcome Raegan and Kevin Prior to the Pay Forward Society. Kevin is a Buckeye alumnus (’89) and a proud native of Southwest Ohio. The family’s most recent gift cements their legacy at The Ohio State University: a $5 million commitment in support of the Athletics District. In recognition of their support, Ohio State Athletics has named the southeast rotunda at The Jerome Schottenstein Center the ‘Prior Family Rotunda’.

Kevin is the president and CEO of ICW Group Insurance Companies, headquartered in San Diego, California. Under Kevin’s near two-decades of leadership, the company has grown to become one of the top Earthquake and Workers’ Compensation insurers in the United States.

Raegan and Kevin’s giving spirit extends far beyond Ohio State’s campus. They are passionate, longtime supporters of Promises2Kids, a San Diego-based nonprofit focused on providing foster youth with the resources, opportunities and guidance they need to become healthy and successful adults.

The Department of Athletics is forever grateful for the support of Raegan and Kevin Prior, as their impact on our student-athletes, coaches and fans is undeniable.

Buckeye Club