Ronald K. Bethea
Ronald K. Bethea, sports entrepreneur, advocate, and promoter, has devoted nearly three decades to his life-long passion, the field of sports. Born September 8, 1951 in Florence, South Carolina, to Walter and Maude Bethea, he graduated in 1969 from Gordon High School in Dillon, South Carolina. He was selected to the 1969 District five all-conference teams in both football and basketball. In 1969, he entered Claflin College in South Carolina where he continued to play basketball. In 1970, he transferred to Morgan State College as a walk-on student athlete. He excelled as an outside linebacker for the late legendary football coach Earl Banks. He was a member of the 1971 MEAC championship football team. In 1973, Mr. Bethea graduated from Morgan State University with a B.S. degree in recreation administration and minor in physical education. After graduation, he received many certificates through training seminars by the Small Business Administration in Washington D.C.
In 1973, Mr. Bethea had free agent tryouts for the NFL Philadelphia Eagles. From 1974 – 1976, he was Principal Outreach Counselor for Mayor Walter Washington Youth Opportunity Services, Washington, D.C. In that position, he counseled and motivated at-risk youth with disciplinary problems at home and school. For the next ten years, Mr. Bethea taught physical education in the D.C. Public Schools. In 1977, he established and assumed the presidency of his own sports marketing firm, Origins Marketing and Management Company. Since that date, his firm has developed numerous sports promotional ventures, which have been marketed to both the public and private sectors throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area and many areas throughout the country.
In 1978, his firm became the first African-American sports marketing company to apply for and receive a licensing agreement from the National Basketball Association for his venture “ THE ATHLETIC DOLL COLLECTION, copyright 1978. Over the years, other ventures have included the following: in 1982, the ”First Annual Small College East-West, All-Star Basketball Classic Game, featuring Davidson II and NAIA All-American players from historically black and white colleges and universities; in 1983, a sports travel and entertainment marketing concept, cross marketing Black College Football Classic games and homecomings with the 1983 World Champion Washington Redskins; several advertising campaigns for the Washington Redskins mascot, Chief Zee. After launching his own HBCU sports apparel line, in 2006-2007, his firm established an HBCU homecoming theme apparel picture and poster marketing campaign, which integrated images of the bands, cheerleaders and star players, capturing the color and pageantry of HBCU'S homecomings. Also, in 2008, his firm launched The Barack Obama Memorabilia Project: 44 th President of the United States, Preserving A Historical Moment in Afro-American History. In 2009, Mr. Bethea founded The Black Sports Legends History and Culture Foundation to pay tribute and simultaneously examine the impact of the black sports legends on American history and culture in all areas of sports. He is married to Gwendolyn S. Bethea, Ph.D., with three adult children.