Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

Rec Sports Historical Timeline

Ohio State has a proud history of being the first university in the nation to establish a Department of Intramural Sports. Today the Department of Recreational Sports works to preserve our rich traditions and create an exciting future.

Historical Timeline

1879 - Reports of the first informal outdoor sports activity on campus: baseball.

1913 - The Department of Competitive and Recreational Athletics is created. L.W. St. John is appointed director of Athletics, Dr. John Wilce is appointed coach of football and intramural athletics. The first extensive program of recreational athletics and a winning football team is organized.

1914 - January 9 - The Department of Intramural Sports is officially the first in the nation to offer intramural soccer, football, track, and cross country.

1931 - Dedication of Men's Gymnasium and Natatorium. Mike Peppe is coach of the varsity swim team for 33 years and captures 33 championships.

1937 - Leo Staley is appointed head of the intramural program: 21 sports/activities for men with 10,000 participants, 14 sports for women with more than 1,000 participants.

1940 - The Athletic Department and Intramural Department are separated.

1947 - L.W. St. John retires as Athletic director. Richard Larkins is appointed.

1962 - Fred Beekman is named director of Recreation and Intramural Sports, taking over for Leo Staley who served for 25 years.

1970 - Richard Larkins retires as athletic director after 23 years. Ed Weaver fills the position.

1976 - Jesse Owens North, South, and West Recreation Centers are dedicated.

1977 - Larkins Hall is dedicated, including the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center and Benedum Recreation Center. The total project, including the rec centers, costs around $10 million.  

1994 - Fred Beekman retires after 32 years as director. J. Michael Dunn is named director.

1999 - Lane Avenue Park is dedicated and is later re-named Fred Beekman Park.

2003 - Groundbreaking for the new $154 million project to replace Larkins Hall. Phase I will be completed in 2005 with Phase II in 2007. Lincoln Tower Turf Field opens for use by Rec Sports and Ohio State University Marching Band. 

September 20, 2004 - The Outdoor Adventure Center and Tom W. Davis Climbing Center opens.

January 3, 2005 - The entire Adventure Recreation Center (ARC) on West Campus opens.

August 29, 2005 - The Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC) opens.

August 19, 2005 - Demolition of Larkins Hall begins.

September 21, 2005 - The RPAC Aquatic Center and Courtside Café opens.

January 12, 2007 - Phase II at the RPAC opens.

August 2009 - The Ohio State Swim Club is created; Kyle Goodrich is named head coach.

September 2009 - Kurt Carmen is named interim director of Recreational Sports. J. Michael Dunn is named director of Recreational Sports Learning program.

April 2011 - Dr. Donald A. Stenta is named director of Recreational Sports.