Jim Cordle trying to keep the 'pay it forward' legacy of Ohio State's Woody Hayes alive
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 21:02
Although years removed from his time as a member of the Ohio State football team, New York Giants center and Super Bowl champion Jim Cordle is keeping strong ties to the central Ohio community through a “pay it forward” attitude established by late OSU coach Woody Hayes.
But Cordle, who played for OSU from 2005-2009, started his charity work long before he was a Buckeye or a backup for the Giants.
Cordle’s passion for giving back started when he was a junior at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio, less than 40 minutes from the bustle of Columbus.
He had an extra credit project that required him to volunteer within the community.
“I went to a nursing home and volunteered in the Alzheimer’s unit and was just blown away,” Cordle said.
During his time at OSU, Cordle said former Buckeye football coach Jim Tressel kept Hayes' “pay it forward” idea alive.
“It goes back to Woody Hayes, long before I was born,” Cordle said. “When I got to Ohio State, Jim Tressel instilled that in us to ‘pay it forward’ and give back.”
Cordle said he also does charity work with the Giants, but he is very focused on his Ohio roots.
During his five years as a Buckeye, Cordle said he did a lot of volunteer work with him team, including reading to children and visiting hospitals.
“The whole charity idea was really instilled by coach Tressel and he continued that from Woody Hayes days and coach (Urban) Meyer is doing that now,” Cordle said.
During Cordle’s last year, the senior football players hosted a “Bowling for Buckeyes” event that raised money for Special Olympics.
His charity work at OSU inspired him to start the Cordle Cares Foundation to encourage youth to give back to their communities the way he did.
His foundation provides four $1,000 scholarships to student athletes in Fairfield County that are committed to community service and hosting a youth football league in Lancaster.
Martha Campbell, the President of the Cordle Cares Foundation, said Cordle took Tressel’s message to heart.
“When he got to Ohio State, Jim Tressel taught him how important it was to ‘pay it forward,’” Campbell said. “Then it became something much larger.”
Campbell said Cordle wanted to continue Hayes’ message of ‘pay it forward’ after he left OSU.
“Once he left Ohio State he wanted to continue that and use his status as an Ohio State football player and then as an NFL player to help others,” Campbell said.
Elizabeth Cordle, Jim Cordle’s younger sister and a fourth-year in speech and hearing at OSU, said her brother’s foundation is a much-needed positive reflection on Buckeye football.
“I know there’s been some negative feedback about football players in the past and it’s good to see former players give back to their communities,” Elizabeth Cordle said.
Jim Cordle is between seasons with the Giants and is back at OSU working out with strength coaches.
“I was busy,” Jim Cordle said. “But I found a way to get it done.”
Cordle, who graduated OSU’s Fisher College of Business with a 3.27 GPA, was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
“It’s just time management, you’re going to spend time on what’s important to you,” Jim Cordle said. “If you give it a shot and you volunteer, I think you’ll fall in love with it.”