Dr. Charles Higgins began his tenure inside an Ohio University classroom nearly 50 years ago and has played a pivotal role in shaping the Department of Sports Administration. To honor Doc Higgins’ influence and years of service, the department hopes to increase the scholarship that already bears his name.
Doc first came to OHIO after getting his Doctor of Education from UNC Greensboro and in 1977, after five years of teaching classes and starting up the Undergraduate Recreation Studies Major, he was offered the opportunity to take over the Sports Administration program.
Doc is now known as the The Architect because he took the Sports Administration program to new levels. He formed some of the foundations of the program like the first Alumni Directory, Symposium, and Alumni Receptions.
In 1992, Doc worked with students to start the Tobacco Road Trip, an annual bus trip to North Carolina with visits to UNC, Duke, the ACC Headquarters, and more, centered around networking and professional development. As many of you can attest, this a formative experience within the Sports Ad program.
The Distinguished Alumni Award given to an alum at Symposium each year is named after Doc Higgins (Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award).Nobby Ito ’91, former executive director of baseball operations for Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, got his start in sport through Higgins. “I was 0 for 70 looking for jobs in America,” explained Ito. “However one day I was watching a baseball game in Cleveland and sat next to a current Sports Administration student. The next day I was on a bus to Athens because I knew this could be my way in the door.”
Ito met with then program director Dr. Charles Higgins and was eventually accepted into the program as a member of the class of 1991. According to Ito, it was Dr. Higgins’ unique style that played a major role in his success today. “His style. His way of treating people. It was new to me,” said Ito. “He would always push you both professionally and personally.”
Jim Strode, Ph.D., is the current department chair of OHIO's Sports Administration (and an associate professor). When asked about Doc, he credited Higgins with expanding the program outside of its baseball roots and establishing Sports Ad's family-focus which built camaraderie with our students, faculty, and staff. Jim went on to share about Doc's challenging interviews for the program and his knack for bringing out the best in students in the classroom by challenging them.
Doc retired full time in 1994 but still currently works part time for the university teaching a seminar in Athletic Administration.
He has been involved with education for sixty-four years. He has been leaving a legacy at Ohio University since he started in Athens nearly 50 years ago.
Doc is a large reason for the immense success and legacy that the Sports Administration program at OHIO receives.
About Doc's Scholarship
The Charles R. Higgins Sports Administration Scholarship was established in 2017 by Eaton, a power management company and leader in lighting solutions with its Ephesus line of high-output solid-state sports lighting solutions for a broad range of applications, from municipal ballfields to indoor and outdoor professional venues—including Ohio University’s Convocation Center. “Ohio University’s faculty, students, and alumni make a difference in the sports business world every day,” said Mike Lorenz, then-president of Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting business. “This gift is a way for us to support this world-class program and to invest in the future of sports administration professionals.”
Donations to the Charles R. Higgins Sports Administration Scholarship will support MSA students with financial need.
Although this campaign has concluded, it's easy to give to Ohio University and support the Charles R. Higgins Sports Administration Scholarship Fund.