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Bradley Hilltopics

Summer 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 3  

Web Extras
Promising enrollment for fall | High graduation rate | MBA students place first — again | Getting down to business | Fulbright prof in Romania | “Most promising find of 1952” | Coach Orsborn honored | Building leaders | Blagojevich impeachment | Student impressions of India | Academic hall of famers | Top tour guide | Biotech fellowships | Slideshows and Video: CHRIS ROBERTS ’10 75-foot bank shot video; Undergraduate commencement; Graduate commencement; Air Force commissioning story and video; NCAA softball tournament; Team Bradley, Peoria’s Race for the Cure; A Celebration of Bradley University: St. Louis and Washington, D.C.; Bradley rocket engineering camp

 

Coach Orsborn honored

Coach Charles Ozzie Orsborn in 1960

Orsborn receives the NIT championship trophy at Madison Square Garden in 1960. His teams in 1957, 1960, and 1964 won the NIT.

 

When the first Charles Orsborn Award was presented on May 5, its namesake, CHARLES “OZZIE” ORSBORN ’39 MS ’51, was on hand to do the honors himself. Known since 1951 as the Watonga Award (meaning “master” or “one of high rank”), the prestigious award has been renamed in his honor. It recognizes a top graduating senior’s ability to combine athletic and academic success with community service.

Beginning with his student days, the legendary Orsborn distinguished himself at Bradley. He earned letters in baseball, basketball, football, and track. A member of the “Famous Five” basketball team, Orsborn played in the first two NIT tournaments at Madison Square Garden in 1938 and 1939. After graduation, he played minor league baseball for the New York Yankees. He then served five years in the Air Force during World War II.

After the War, he returned to Bradley as assistant basketball coach for nine years — from 1947 to 1956. Orsborn went on to serve as head coach from 1956 to 1965, and was credited with three NIT championships and a record of 194 wins and 56 losses. Orsborn’s first 100 wins came in just his first 120 games as head coach, and is tied for sixth place in NCAA Division 1 history.

“Ozzie is honest to a fault,” U.S. Judge JOE BILLY MCDADE ’59 MA ’60 told the Journal Star after the awards ceremony. “He was not tactful. He was a frank talking person, which I respected.” McDade played center on Orsborn’s teams and earned the Watonga Award in 1959.

Orsborn continued at Bradley as director of athletics from 1965 to 1978. He was named Bradley basketball “Coach of the Century” during the program’s centennial celebration.

“It is long overdue to have Coach Orsborn’s name and legendary BU career attached to one of our athletics awards,” said Ken Kavanagh, former Bradley director of athletics. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to announce that from this day forward, this fine gentleman and friend to so many of us will be rightfully connected to the most prestigious honor that we bestow upon a graduating Brave.”

Orsborn traveled from his home in Naples, Fla., to attend the athletics awards ceremony at the Michel Student Center. He presented the Orsborn Award to golfer BARI ERAIS ’09. An accounting major from Alberta, Canada, she held a 3.88 GPA.

Orsborn (back row, far right) with his 1964 NIT championship team. He coached until 1965 and then became Bradley’s athletics director.

 

Promising enrollment for fall | High graduation rate | MBA students place first — again | Getting down to business | Fulbright prof in Romania | “Most promising find of 1952” | Coach Orsborn honored | Building leaders | Blagojevich impeachment | Student impressions of India | Academic hall of famers | Top tour guide | Biotech fellowships | Slideshows and Video: CHRIS ROBERTS ’10 75-foot bank shot video; Undergraduate commencement; Graduate commencement; Air Force commissioning story and video; NCAA softball tournament; Team Bradley, Peoria’s Race for the Cure; A Celebration of Bradley University: St. Louis and Washington, D.C.; Bradley rocket engineering camp