The Z.G. Clevenger Award is presented to living I-Men who, as alumni, have made outstanding contributions to Indiana University through service to its athletics program.
Clevenger, a coach and athletic director, was characterized by his commitment to excellence, high ideals, and principles. He was devoted to his staff and worked untiringly to assist the coaches in developing their programs and establishing high ethical standards.
The award perpetuates the ideals Clevenger set forth in his many years of service as a student, athlete, coach, and athletics administrator. The honor is bestowed upon living I-Men who, as alumni, have made outstanding contributions through service to its athletics program. This is the highest honor given an I-Man by the I-Men’s Association.
About Z.G. Clevenger
Z.G. Clevenger was known as “Mr. Clev” to generations of Hoosier athletes, students, and friends. He was characterized by his commitment to excellence, high ideals, and principles. As an athlete, Clevenger participated in football and baseball at IU. He was captain of the 1903 football team and was named an All-American. In 1904, he was the captain of the baseball team.
He served the athletics department as baseball coach in 1905 and 1906 and basketball coach in 1905. He was our athletics director in 1906 and again from 1923 to 1946. During his 23 years as our athletics director he changed the athletics program from one that had won three Big Ten Championships in its first 23 years in the conference to a program that had 32 Big Ten titles, six National Collegiate Crowns, and two National AAU Championships before his retirement in 1946.
Clevenger’s tenure as athletic director has been considered a “golden era” in Hoosier athletics, but Clevenger himself contributed the success of his years to what he called the “five aces” of his coaching staff: Earl C. “Billy” Hayes (track), Everett Dean (basketball), Billy Thom (wrestling), Branch McCracken (basketball), and Alvin “Bo” McMillen (football).