Ohio State to Honor Ball, Willis for Tootle, Bailey Awards

Feb. 7, 2014

Ohio State Women's Varsity "O"

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State University Varsity "O" Women's Alumnae Society and the Department of Athletics will pay tribute to two extraordinary Buckeyes Sunday afternoon with the presentation of the Barbie Tootle Buckeye Spirit and the Phyllis Bailey Career Achievement awards, which will be presented halftime of the women's basketball game vs. Penn State Sunday at Value City Arena (2 p.m., ESPN2).

Donna Ball, president of the Alumni Board of Governors for the College of Education and Human Ecology, will be the recipient of the Barbie Tootle Award and Miechelle Willis, Ohio State's Executive Associate AD for Student Services & Sport Administration, will be presented with the Phyllis Bailey Award.

The Ohio State University Women's Varsity "O" alumnae created these awards to recognize and show appreciation to those individuals as a women's sports advocate and have brought forward consistent support for women's sports at The Ohio State University. The Barbie Tootle Spirit Award recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated unconditional loyalty and support of women's athletics at The Ohio State University. It is a platform to demonstrate their uniqueness as a women's sport advocate. The Phyllis Bailey Career Achievement Award is designed to pay tribute and to extend recognition to those individuals who, through their careers, have contributed to the honor and fame of The Ohio State University through the field of athletics by continuing to demonstrate, in their daily lives, the values learned in intercollegiate athletics and have continued the advancement of women's athletics.

Ball, a 1977 graduate of The Ohio State University, has been an advocate for women's athletics since high school. Her love for Ohio State women's basketball began in the 1980's when she and her friends and family started coming to women's games in 1985-86, Nancy Darsch's first season as head coach. They were hooked immediately and by next season, were season ticket holders and have been ever since. Ball is now a staple at Value City Arena for Buckeye home games and in more than 25 years, admits to only missing a handful of games.



Ball, the 13th recipient of the Barbie Tootle Award, comes from a family of Buckeyes and is a member of The Rebounder's Club, the support group for Ohio State women's basketball. Her first position was as a membership chair during the early 1990's while watching their membership grow to almost 700. She went on to serve as the executive board president in 1996-97 and 2006-07. She still serves in other capacities and currently is on the committee that plans trips for The Rebounders for road games. She and her husband, Larry (Ohio State, `62), have volunteered at football games and at the annual golf outing to help raise funds for women's basketball, including the locker renovation project, which was completed last year. They also have not missed a Big Ten tournament since 1996, making the annual trip to Grand Rapids, Indianapolis and most recently, Hoffman Estates, Ill.

With more than 35 years of experience, Ball is a retired principal from the Marysville Exempted Village Schools where she served for eight years. She worked in a similar capacity prior to that for the Westfall Local Schools for four years. Today as president of the EHE Alumni Society, Ball facilitates communication with the college's 93,000 alumni.

Willis, the seventh recipient of the Phyllis Bailey Award, has more than 26 years of experience as an intercollegiate athletics administrator, including the last 19 as a member of The Ohio State University Department of Athletics. Willis oversees the areas of Student Services and Sports Administration as well as oversight of 35 varsity sports, including women's basketball. She also is a member of the Department of Athletics' executive leadership team and has played an integral role in bringing top-notch facilities to Ohio State.

Willis also serves as the Senior Woman Administrator to the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference and has served on numerous national, conference and campus committees. She has served four years on the Division I Management Council and currently serves on the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, as well as the Big Ten Legislative Review Committee.

Prior to joining the Ohio State staff, Willis spent seven years at Temple University, during which time the North Philadelphia school was seeking membership in the BIG EAST Conference. She served as the primary administrator for 11 women's varsity sports at Temple and held department-wide responsibilities in the areas of compliance, personnel and student-athlete services.

Past Phyllis Bailey Award Recipients
2007: Phyllis Bailey
2008: Barb Bogart Holman
2009: Robin Tucker
2010: Dru Ann Hancock
2011: Tara VanDerveer
2012: Sally Dellinger
2013: Miechelle Willis

Past Barbie Tootle Award Recipients
2000: Barbie Tootle
2002: Ruth Hyde Porteus
2003: Helen Fryoff
2004: Larry Romanoff
2005: Peg Schafer Jackson
2006: Denny Tishkoff
2007: Kate Riffee
2008: Kristin Watt
2009: Craig Little
2010: Sandy Slomin
2011: Andy Geiger
2012: Jan Wolfe
2013: Donna Ball