Dr. Carl Nelson, Baseball/Administrator
Dr. Carl Nelson was the first head coach in Tallahassee Community College's athletic history, guiding the Eagle Baseball program from 1967-71. In five seasons, he compiled a record of 62-46-1. His 1968 team, which finished 15-9, was held to less than ten runs on only four occasions. Dubbed "Murderers' Row," the lineup included four players who batted over .400. Following the 1969 season, he took his team to South America and won six out of eight games against international competition during a two-week tour in Columbia. Dr. Nelson was one of the original faculty members, and also coached a golf team from 1968-71, at what was then known as Tallahassee Junior College when the College's doors opened in 1966 at Tallahassee's Godby High School. During his tenure at TCC, he was the primary Physical Education instructor and served as Chairman of Lifetime Sports. An innovator, Dr. Nelson introduced both the campus and community to the popular European system of community exercise known as Vita Par Cour, or, loosely translated, "run to live." In 1978, he brought that concept to life as the architect of the Fun Run, a 1.8-mile course for running, jogging, and sprinting. Dr. Nelson earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from Florida State University, where he played baseball for the Seminoles from 1956-60. He retired from TCC in 1993.
Antawan Smith, Baseball
Antawan Smith was the first baseball player to be drafted out of nearby Madison, Fla., when the Texas Rangers selected him in the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft. Smith, however, chose to attend Tallahassee Community College and played baseball for the Eagles from 1992-94 under Coach Mike McLeod. He left TCC as the school's all-time leader in batting average (.330) and doubles (21) and was second in hits. He also finished his career as the single-season record holder in doubles (16) and hits (60). While earning first-team All-FCCAA and All-Panhandle Conference honors in 1994, he helped lead the 42-11 Eagles to their first appearance in the FCCAA Tournament. He also played in two basketball games as a sophomore for the Eagles. Smith finished his baseball career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and, as a junior, led the team in doubles and was second in both runs scored and total hits. He graduated from UNC in 1996 with a degree in communications studies. Professionally, his stops have included the Tar Heel Radio Network, the Florida State University Athletic Department, and volunteer work with the TCC Athletic Department. He is currently the anchor and chief of SNN Sports, located in Sarasota, Fla.
1994 Softball Team, FCCAA & NJCAA Champions
The 1994 softball team, in only its second year of existence, reached the pinnacle in its sport by winning the National Junior College Athletic Association's Slow-pitch National Championship, the first national title in the College's athletic history. Led by coach Maria Mendoza, the Eagles qualified for the FCCAA Tournament, where it won the state championship. After advancing to the National Tournament, the Eagles defeated Meridian (Miss.) Community College twice on the final day to capture the crown, completing a 62-17 campaign, a school-record for wins which still stands ten years later. Four players-Valorie Waller, Kelly Beede, Kelly Best, and Tammi Talley-were voted to the NJCAA All-Tournament Team, while Waller was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. For her efforts, Mendoza was named both FCCAA and NJCAA Coach of the Year. Members of the championship team were: Kelly Beede, Jennifer Bega, Missy Bembry, Kelly Best, Kristi Crawford, Julie Durden, Michele Falk, Linnea James, Tricia Martens, Carrie Newman, Lita Simmons, Windy Taff, Tammi Talley, and Valorie "Porky" Waller. Mendoza was assisted by Deborah Lindemann and Susan Lovallo.