An impressive collection of talent at Florida State Athletics gathered on Monday evening for a red-carpet event held at the Champions Club inside Doak Campbell Stadium. The 2017 Golden Nole Awards recognized all the goodwill our student-athletes have put in toward hours upon hours of community service.
The near 3 ½ hour event did not disappoint, as the underlying goal of recognizing and rewarding those who have put tireless work in the community was accomplished. But the night began and ended with much flair, as hundreds of student-athletes wore their very best while coaches, administration, family, friends and others allowed the attention to focus on the members of FSU’s 20 sports.
The Florida State swimming and diving team had a night to remember, as the women took home one of the event’s top honors, winning the Athletic Director’s Cup for Service after averaging the most amount of community service hours per student-athlete. The men’s team also finished fourth overall.
“I am beyond excited and so incredibly proud that both teams were in the top four,” FSU head swimming and diving coach Neal Studd said. “With the women winning the whole thing it just means they really understand the value of giving back and as we help these young adults grow.”
The ACC Top Six For Service Awards went to men’s basketball sophomore Dwayne Bacon, women’s golf senior Sherrell Buckley, redshirt senior Alex Powers from softball, football wideout Travis Rudolph, senior Jemal LeGrand of men’s swimming and diving and Alexi Smith of women’s swimming and diving.
“It was great to see Lexi and Jemal get their individual awards,” Studd said. “They set the examples for our underclassmen to follow.”
Accepting Rudolph’s award was sixth-grader Bo Paske. The two became a national sensation last fall after Rudolph visited Paske on community service and ate with him during lunch at Montford Middle School in Tallahassee. Paske has autism and now has a friend for life in Rudolph.
Individually, seniors Dylan Grisell and Jason Coombs along with freshman Molly Carlson and junior Natalie Pierce were recognized as 2016-17 swimming and diving Golden Nole winners.
As a department, FSU Athletics has logged over 6,000 hours in the community so far in 2016-17. The award was presented by Athletic Director Stan Wilcox, who partook in all of the fun on Monday night.
“The Golden Nole is a great opportunity for all of our student-athletes to get together and share in each other’s accomplishments,” Assistant Athletics Director for Student Services John Lata said. “It is always eye-opening for the majority of them to realize that the amazing things they and their teammates are achieving are happening across all of our sports.
“And they clean up pretty well too. They appreciate the chance to dress up and take pictures with teammates and friends across other sports.”
Plenty of pictures and selfies made their way around. Hors d’oeuvres were hand-passed and devoured before the banquet. Several student-athletes took over Florida State Athletics’ main social media accounts to help capture the night, while current indoor volleyball setter Brianne Burkert conducted fun red-carpet interviews for Seminoles.com.
“Golden Nole was a night to remember,” added swimmer and SAAC member Caroline Neil. “It was great to build the excitement on Snapchat and getting everyone involved in the event. From sharing our stories and connecting with campus, to celebrating being positive influences in the community, it was a special evening as a Seminole family.”
This all happened before the banquet. And then more fun was to be had.
Two members of the student-athlete family were honored with the Doc Fauls Award, which recognizes a senior who has overcome a tremendous amount of adversity. Powers of FSU softball overcame two knee injuries and has become one of the nation’s top players. Former FSU quarterback Sean Maguire also won the award after navigating through a foot injury to find his way back onto the field.
The Impact Performer Award was given to senior Gabby Bevillard of FSU Women’s Basketball. Bevillard retired from the game two years ago following persistent knee injuries, yet continued to impact her team in a student assistant role. She will begin an internship with Nike this summer in Oregon.
Fellow women’s basketball player Brittany Brown was recognized with the Best Seminole Career Award after guiding FSU to three consecutive NCAA Sweet 16s and finishing as the school’s all-time steals leader. Men’s Basketball freshman forward Jonathan Isaac won the Breakout Athlete Award, earning a spot on the talented All-ACC Freshman Team.
Florida State Athletics Student Services, which hosted the event, set forth the guideline that each sport had to make a team video in which they try to imitate another sport in the department. The Beach Volleyball’s rendition of Florida State Football brought out hilarious responses and was the clear winner in the contest. Men’s Swimming followed in second place while hyping up men’s golf.
The FSU Track team took home honors for the best pre-game tradition, while indoor volleyball’s five-set win at Florida in the 2016 NCAA Second Round won “Best Upset.”
Continue to be on the lookout for our student-athletes in a school, hospital, community center or any other venue near you. As the Golden Nole proved once again, Florida State Athletics takes an enormous amount of pride in getting out and making a difference in the community.
GOLDEN NOLE AWARD WINNERS
Baseball – Hank Truluck
Men’s Golf – Harry Ellis
Women’s Golf – Morgane Metraux & Matilda Castren
Men’s Tennis – Lucas Poullain
Women’s Tennis – Daniela Schippers
Men’s Track & Field – Jamal Pitts
Men’s Track & Field – Emmanuel Onyia
Women’s Track & Field – Nicole Setterington
Women’s Track & Field – Kellion Knibb
Beach Volleyball – Sierra Sanchez
Softball – Ellie Cooper
Women’s Basketball – Brittany Brown
Men’s Basketball – Michael Ojo
Men’s Cross Country – Harry Mulenga
Women’s Cross Country – Bridget Blake
Football – Derwin James
Soccer – Cassie Miller
Men’s Swimming & Diving – Jason Coombs
Men’s Swimming & Diving – Dylan Grisell
Women’s Swimming & Diving – Natalie Pierce
Women’s Swimming & Diving – Molly Carlson
Volleyball – Hailey Luke
Gabby Bevillard – Women’s Basketball
Jonathan Isaac – Men’s Basketball
Best Seminole Career
Brittany Brown – Women’s Basketball
Best Team Tradition
The Rock – Track
Volleyball vs. Florida to get to the Sweet 16
Beach Volleyball – Football impersonation
ACC Top Six for Service
Dwayne Bacon – Men’s Basketball
Sherrell Buckley – Women’s Golf
Alex Powers – Softball
Travis Rudolph – Football
Jemal LeGrand – Men’s Swimming and Diving
Alexi Smith – Women’s Swimming and Diving
Athletic Directors Cup for Service
Women’s Swimming and Diving
News courtesy of Florida State Athletics.