Ortmayer's impact still felt at
La Verne

Not-so unfair Fair: Taking advantage of discounts

School violence may not really be on the rise

This summer is all about the cinema

Virtual reality takes hold in the music world

Wall replica brings memories of Vietnam to Fontana

Whole Foods does its part to help the environment

Parents second-guess vaccinations

Flu season 2008 is not over yet

Prescription drugs are the new drug trend

Artists compete at Cal Poly exhibit

Astronaut speaks about his experiences in space

Students struggle to eat right on a budget

Designing babies may not be in our future

Young chefs learn to kick it up a notch

Plenty to enjoy at family festival and street fair

Small business spreads the Word

Vintage cars cruise through La Verne

Cargo headlines aviation issues

City council wrangles over possible bond

Student art on display at Cal Poly Pomona

Love of ink runs deep for Dipple

Flying Leathernecks at Chino Airport

Book compares presidential legacies

Gardenfest gives children a whiff of nature

Artists make over packing house

Winter California Style

'Milagro film showcases fight against outsorcing

Core class explores African cuisine, culture

Metrolink's holiday train
collects toys for needy

Family Fun Day promotes literacy among youth

Festival raises funds for Pilgrim's Place

'Redwall' series author visits
La Verne bookstore

Central Asia's finest musicians come to Pomona

Bono calls for action in Africa

Wellness Fair examines student, computer health

Families flock to Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival

Pomona honors fight against domestic violence at vigil

Younger designers break the crafting mold

Documentary sheds light on credit card debt problem

Claremont unearths time capsule

Matt's Run 5K fuels scholarship fund

Auction raises funds for child development center

U.S. poverty, inequality gap widens

Submerged in a neon trance

Stump photography studio proves successful

Summer box office nears record high

Community gathers to experience a 'Taste of La Verne'

L.A. air fails yet again

Fashion inspirations can be found on the street

Cheap, chic and modern businesses fulfill consumer expectations

Please don't feed the punk rockers

Survey says: students look forward to summer sequels

Upland's own gift shop is unique compared to many

Generations proves antiques biz is a labor of love

Shut down of pipeline forces conservation in La Verne

A 'Garden Affair' to remember

Claremont's Packing House is turned into a place for art

A twilight cruise back into the past

Festival offers Easter extravaganza

Movie Review:
Here's to you, 'Meet the Robinsons'

ASULV seeks improved gym hours

Senior citizens keep active with cards

La Verne offers a variety for restaurant goers

Toy show brings back popular pastimes

Big fat jazz band invades the Press Restaurant

Public artwork influences
La Verne

Glass House offers alternative mix of sounds

Supermarkets revisit contract controversy

Exhibit captures 'Wild Things' of nature

La Verne's past does grow on trees

Camellia enthusiam catches on

Class technology gives students options

Report concludes increase in college volunteers

Ice House brings the laugh

'Drum!' unites cultures through rhythm

Mark Olson brings the folk out

Exhibit explores life's ups and downs

The Press gets its country on

Parade of costumes marches on

Food brings out crowd for diversity celebration

Dracula dances into hearts

Lecture warns of MySpace dangers

Comedian provides large dose of laughter

Harvest Festival shines despite rain

Protecting privacy on the net

Guard your eyes from
'The Guardian'

Tech guru leads blogging workshop

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

The Hereafter rock softly

The Ride of Your Life

Don't diss 'The Last Kiss'

LaMontagna lights the way with 'Till the Sun Turns Black'

Local game store boasts wide selection, customer care

Lachey loses what's left of him

Typical teen flick fails to 'Stick It'

Spanish cuisine adds spice to Pasadena

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo continue console war

Thespians spin soft news for laughs

Family market place's popularity expected to increase

Child obesity super-sized to an epidemic

La Verne prepares for natural disasters at expo

Dating trends jump on the technological train

Yianni's offers original Greek cuisine

ULV sisterhood embraces new sorority

Seniors' handy work displayed at craft fair

Old Town shop keeps classics rolling

Pizzeria offers new twist on classic dish

La Verne's citrus history captured at Heritage Park

Local works displayed at art show

Labels and musicians not dying by digital music

Downtown La Verne parking taken by ULV students

Public smoking ordinance unrealistic for La Verne

College Connections exposes students to college campus

Sexual harassment report brings awareness

Sweethearts Dance brings community together

Housing bubble could pop
with increased interest rates

Students offer last minute
gift ideas

Staying alive: Folk music

Morning-after pill accessible
despite FDA delays

Life after college
on seniors' minds

Students on a budget reveal
holiday shopping tips

Arts Colony Latino exhibit
paints beauty of struggle

Faith's Comfort Food survives
with a homemade touch

Old Town shops not afraid
of Wal-Mart shadow

Pomona Public Library shows
literacy is no trivial matter

Prop. 73 revisits abortion laws
for minors

Depeche Mode returns
to explore love and purpose

Rival propositions 78 and 79 battle over medical benefits

Spirits return on
'El dia de los muertos'

Obesity weighs heavy in football

Cal Poly Pomona brings in the harvest

Students on forefront of AIDS activism

Grand Avenue Festival brings
diverse entertainment

Youth intervention agency expands local services

Candlelight Pavillion welcomes nostalgic musical 'Forever Plaid'

Anthony Caro exhibit makes Scripps first stop in U.S. tour

Jonathan Reed goes live

Fair lures job-seeking Leos

Concerts close to home

Students try to look good for summer months

Public reaction divided on sex education initiative

Grade inflation a concern among ULV faculty

Fears ease in wake of meningitis case

A money making hobby

Diesel fuel vehicles on the rise

Stem cell research exhibits
incredible potential

Drowsy driving common
among Americans

'My Space' captivates
quite an audience

Shari's Subs breaking through on D Street

Clarke waits for opportunity
in NHL

College students victims of credit cards

Gas prices continue to climb

Guitarists have no worries with the Fret House

Huerta remembers the late Cesar Chavez

Ultramarathons prove to be tough tests

Spring break right around the corner

Sports play huge roles in many lives

Measure S passes by narrow margin

Kendrick and Harden fill city council positions

El Saadawi speaks on women's rights

Democratic speakers discuss changes

Cross country remains a staple of Kenyan culture

Military recruiters target ULV

Measure S to maintain public services in La Verne


Web Exclusives
LV Life
Arts, etc.
Search Archives
Best of CT
ULV Comm Dept.
ULV Home
ULV Home

Ortmayer's impact still felt at
La Verne

Posted Sept. 18, 2008

Roland “Ort” Ortmayer. Just saying his nationally known nickname to one of the many athletes he has coached, students he has instructed, or fellow La Verne community members with whom he has associated brings about a sudden flood of emotions, respect and appreciation that washes over their faces.

Many recognize the name Ortmayer because it is the name of the University’s football stadium. But there is more to plaque and a named field in this case. The name Ort has come to symbolize a life philosophy. The way he coached is one of the reasons the University of La Verne has an excellent sports reputation. The way he lived his life is why so many people cannot say enough good things about him or, in some cases, get so choked up that they are incapable of articulating their thanks.

Ort changed lives and taught people to look at life from a different angle.

“His preferred title was simply Ort,” said Don Morel, former University of La Verne head football coach and one of Ortmayer’s former football players. “To use it meant coach, teacher, mentor, counselor, guide.”

Sure, Ort coached football—and basketball, baseball, and track and field. He was the ULV athletic director. And he taught 10 physical education classes a year. Corlan Harrison, his daughter, described how one could see students repelling down the side of La Fetra and Mainiero halls for his climbing class, or zip lining from the third story roof of Mainiero Hall to center of the adjacent football field.

The emphasis was always on fun.

“In dad’s throwing class, I learned how to throw throwing knives,” his daughter, a former ULV student, said.

A throwing class involving knives probably would not be offered at most schools. But Ort transcended being politically correct in sports. He wanted to share the love of the sport—and always emphasized having fun—nothing else. He would tell house visitors how taking out the trash cans should be made into a fun game.

“Everything should involve an element of fun. If you find a career that stops being fun, you should find a new career,” Harrison said, describing her father’s mentality.

Of course, for his external audience, football is the reason why he is legendary. He turned his Division III games into a nationally known experience. The Los Angeles Times reported on his unorthodox coaching style. ABC news came to campus and covered him. And then there was the feature length story in Sports Illustrated that shared La Verne’s most loved unconventional coach with the world.

Football was a family affair and way of life. Wife Corni and daughters Susie and Corlan all were stage hands in the production. Ort and family would do everything from line the field, hand scrub the uniforms and clean the locker room. Corni would sew up torn jerseys, tend to injured players’ pride and could usually be seen organizing fund raising activities on home game Saturdays through the sale of drinks, hot dogs and home cooked food. The concession stand “Corni’s Corner” on Ortmayer field is named for her and brings her loving spirit forward to new generations of student athletes.

“They were a great team,” daughter Harrison said. “Ort had the vanilla kind of life; Corni added the spice. She was the zest. They would figure out how to walk on water for each other.”

And that is one of the things that sets Ort apart from other coaches, from other human beings. He wasn’t afraid to do anything and everything that needed to be done.

“He thought that nothing is below you,” Harrison said. “That’s part of the pride. To think a job is below you means you don’t really own your job.”

Ort believed only in the goodness of the individual. He stressed teamwork. “We are all a team, and as a team we can get through anything” was the way he thought, said Harrison.

Richard Keeler, director of Grant and Contract Services at Riverside City College, ran track and field for Ort.

“He listened to people and really heard them,” said Keeler.

And Ort cared deeply about his student athletes.

Ort told the story of being approached by acclaimed Professor of History Herbert Hogan, who said that he had a football player who was failing history. He asked what Ort he was going to do about it. Ort looked at the professor and corrected him.

“You have a history student who is failing history who plays football. What are we going do about it?”

Through the many stories told, it is easy to gather that Ort had a great respect for everything on this planet. He was the man who would not cut across lawns. He would always use the sidewalk, because he did not want to tramp down on the grass. He was the man who left his keys in his unlocked van, everyday. And when the dark side would cross him and theft happened, he would remark, “Maybe they needed it more than I did.”

Ort was the one who respected the University of La Verne campus as if it were his own front room. When one walked across campus with him, he invariably would go out of his way to pick up trash.

Harrison, looked at her father who, though critically ill with complications of pneumonia in the Hillcrest Homes Woods facility, was ignoring his pain and smiling up at her. She pondered aloud why a building or stadium on a campus is named after someone.

“Who was this person? What did they do? I only wish students today could step on campus and feel that Ortmayer experience—what he offered,” Harrison said.

“In a lifetime, we all dream of being part of a legend,” Morel said. “We all want to witness to a Lincoln speech, be a fan at a Babe Ruth game. As time goes by, those of us who knew and spent time with Ort will come to grips that in our lives, we were in the presence of a legend.”

“He’s just a gentleman,” Harrison said. “I wonder, does it take more effort to be upstanding? Is it intelligence, or just the willingness to be a great guy? Because when you’re like that, that’s when your friends buy you a stadium, buy you a car or come visit you at your bedside when you’re 911.”

The stories were swapped back and forth, as visitors filtered into Ort’s Hillcrest medical care room, and my pen could not move quick enough to catch them all. Throughout it all, I began to see why people marvel at Ort’s high character, and I thought that we need more guys like Ort in this world.

“I think the greatest gift anyone has ever given him,” Harrison explained, “is paying it forward—taking what they learned from him and sharing it, telling other people. That’s the way you honor him—to be what he is to you to someone else. If this article would inspire people to do one thing, it would be to bring fun to education, and to know that we all have the ability to go above and beyond.”

Richard Keeler looked over at Ort and then to me and said, “I’m glad I experienced it.”

Alex Senyo can be reached at alex.senyo@laverne.edu.