Rotary Club of Edmond Member Finds Way to Outfit Student Athletes for Success
Rotarian Begins Drive to Suit Up Athletes in Professional Attire
It was springtime on Langston University’s campus, and it was busy. After a historical basketball season that ended with a 31-3 record and 20-2 in the conference last year, the Lions won the Conference Championship for the first time and went to the NAIA Sweet 16. The campus was electric as students prepared for finals and seniors focused on the
post-college job search.
Despite the athletic success, the basketball team’s coach, Chris Wright, expressed concern about his players to his longtime friend, Hunter Cottle, a member of Rotary Club of Edmond. Wright’s senior players were at a disadvantage. “One of the things he was concerned about was that these kids were showing up to the job fair without professional attire,”
Cottle said.
There were scholarships for food and other needs, but some players could not afford clothing for job interviews.
“We were just talking. I asked, what are these guys wearing? He said they wear what they can. It’s usually not up to par with what I would wear into the office every day,” Cottle said.
Wright said a lot of his players are first-generation college students, like he was. He understands their predicament.
“There’s a lot of things I wasn’t exposed to that I didn’t have. I think a lot of our guys are in the same boat,” Wright said.
Cottle said he left that day and thought, well, I’m six-foot-two. I’m not six-foot-seven by any means, but I’ve got some friends, let me ask around.”
That was Cottle’s first step in his new journey to create an act of kindness encouraged by Rotary Club of Edmond’s emphasis on members performing random acts of kindness in the community.
Cottle, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, approached his friends at every opportunity. Eight months later, a vacant office space at his business held 15 suits.
Coach Wright asked Hunter to deliver the suits to the locker room while the players were there.
“I was beyond honored. Really my goal is that eventually, we are buying these kids new suits so they leave college with something they can take out into the work force.”
The suits will be available for athletes at the end of the spring semester this year. Any suits not used will be moved to the university’s career closet for all students.
“I saw a need, and I wouldn’t want to be in that position. And that’s where, as a Rotarian, I think that’s part of our job to go out and help people be better and help better them by giving them a fishing pole to go catch the food. If we’re not giving them fishing poles to go catch the food, we are really putting them at a disadvantage.”
Cottle’s end goal for this year is to find suits that fit the seniors. Eventually, he would like to find the means to purchase new suits.
“If we can get them for the whole team, that would be great. I think if we could pay for four to eight suits each year, that’s four to eight people who are going in confident and prepared. We’ve got to get them in front of the right people to get the job,” he said.
For now, Cottle is seeing how things work out with the first round of his effort but is dreaming for the future.
“If I could get people to get on board and provide more capital, I’d be willing to push this thing to where we can better these kids’ lives.”
That attitude is just one reason Wright thinks Cottle’s impact on the basketball program is “off the charts.”
“We talk a lot in our program about being unselfish. Hunter really embodies that quality. I know our guys really appreciate him. I think it’s a great example to them and really to everyone in how to help other people. I’m extremely grateful for his friendship,” he said.
If you would like to donate suits or buy new ones, contact Cottle by email at
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Rotary Club of Edmond’s Hunter Cottle and his daughter, Finley, take in a men’s basketball game at Langston University. Cottle began a drive to collect men’s suits so players could attend employment recruiting events in professional attire.