The Ohio State University Alumni Club of Los Angeles (OSULA) would like to offer a special thanks to the many Buckeye Alumni and friends who donned their best Scarlet & Gray gear to join us for our annual OSULA Kickoff BBQ & General Meeting on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
The festivities included OSULA honoring 91-years-young Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Joe Prata and our keynote speaker, former Buckeye and NFL defensive lineman James Cotton, the founder of the Buck-Icon Foundation.
Prata, a North Hollywood resident, was a standout in the backstroke for the Ohio State men’s swimming team from 1948-52 under legendary 33-year head coach Mike Peppe. The ’52 OSU graduate earned All-American and All-Big Ten honors during his collegiate career and was a competitor in the 1952 U.S. Olympic Trials.
While his efforts in and out of the pool were highly regarded by Coach Peppe, Pratta shared with attendees that he believes his most important accomplishment as a Buckeye may have been accepting the “suggestion” of Football Coach Woody Hayes to make sure his roommate was awake and getting to class on time. That roommate was Buckeye All-American and 1950 Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz.
Cotton, a Cleveland native and ’07 graduate of OSU, was an instrumental part of the 1998 Big Ten Championship and Sugar Bowl-winning football team and was the team’s Outstanding Lineman of the Year in 1999. He has the esteemed distinction of sacking TTUN quarterback Tom Brady several times, including the last sack in Brady’s collegiate career.
Drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2000, Cotton also played professional football in the NFL and CFL, including stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, and the Canadian Football League’s New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Calgary Stampeders, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, winning a Grey Cup Championship in 2001.
Cotton’s Buck-Icon LLC is a collegiate and pro merchandise retailer and his Foundation (www.buckicon.com) has a mission to provide resources for former members of the Ohio State football program to enhance their careers which will help them transition into professional life in corporate America, athletics, society, and the community.
The new OSULA Board of Directors for 2019-20 was introduced at the BBQ, with Andre Billups returning as president. Also back are officers Margaret Glaser (vice president), Ricky Darling (treasurer) and Urvi Sutariya (secretary) and veteran at-large members Bob Banta, Geoffrey Hickey, Jill Rufo, Barry Smith, Leanne Suter and Brad Wise, while Rebecca Sayre is new to the Board this year.
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