Ohio State Dental Journal

Dentistry Makes its Mark on Buckeye Athletics

James R. "Jimmy" Hull '43

While many College of Dentistry alumni have made great contributions to dentistry, there have also been an impressive number of alumni who channeled their passions and strong work ethic into Dentistry and athletics. As Woody Hayes once said, “it’s what you do with what you’ve got.” The following is a small sampling of the many College of Dentistry alumni who turned “what they had” into successful athletic careers at Ohio State and beyond: 


James R. “Jimmy” Hull, ’43 DDS lettered on the 1938 and 1939 Ohio State basketball teams. He was elected captain of the 1939 Big Ten championship team, which was the first Ohio State team to play in the NCAA post-season tournament. He was the second Ohio State basketball player to be chosen first-team All American. He was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.


Leslie A. Horvath

As a senior dental student, Leslie A. “Les” Horvath, ’45 DDS was named an All-American at the end of the 1944 season. He has the distinction of being Ohio State’s first-ever Heisman Trophy winner. He played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns from 1947 until 1950. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966 and the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.

Steve Arlin


As a predental student, Steve Arlin, ’70 DDS was a two-time All-American pitcher for the 1965 and 1966 Buckeyes. Both teams won the Big 10 title and the 1966 team went on to win the championship. 

Track and Field

Susan Mallery

As a track and field competitor, Susan Mallery, ‘81 DDS, PhD took three top-ten finishes at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) nationals and earned a second-place finish in the three-mile at the 1976 inaugural Women’s Big Ten Track and Field Championships. She was ranked among the Top 20 women in the world after winning the women’s division of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., in 1976 and 1977. She is a member of the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame.


Peter T. GeorgeJames D. George

Brothers Peter “Pete” T. George ’56 DDS (left photo) and James “Jim” D. George ’63 DDS (right photo) each won Olympic medals. Pete was a middle weight Olympic weight lifter, who won a silver medal in 1948 in London, a gold medal in 1952 in Helsinki, and a silver medal in Melbourne in 1956. Younger brother Jim won the silver medal for light heavyweight weightlifting in 1960 in Rome.

Dentistry's Athletic Contributions Off the Field

William Heintz DDS

The College of Dentistry’s contributions to Ohio State sports extends beyond playing. In 1958, faculty member William Heintz, ’32 DDS, who had previously served as an athlete and assistant coach for Ohio State’s cross country team, brought the concept of mouthguards to Coach Woody Hayes. Although mouthguards had been made at the University of North Carolina for many years, Heintz improved the labor-intensive method they were using for making individualized mouthguards. Although it took some persuading, Coach Hayes ordered two mouth protectors made for each player and, that year, Heintz was appointed Mouthguard Consultant to the American Dental Association’s Bureau of Dental Health Education.

It was Heintz who recommended that a team dentist should be added to the Ohio State Athletic Department. That role continues today with Division of General Practice and Materials Science faculty member Deborah Mendel, ’87 DDS, serving as the current team dentist.