TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 22, 2018) – The Panhandle Conference has announced its academic student-athlete awards for the 2017-18 academic year, and Tallahassee Community College's Cole Vann was named the Dr. Dale O'Daniel Panhandle Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The award, voted on by the Panhandle Conference's five athletic directors, bears the names of O'Daniel, the former athletic director at Chipola College, and recognizes academics, citizenship and community service in addition to athletic accomplishments.
"Cole embodies what this award wishes to recognize – academic success, citizenship and athletic success," said director of athletic Rob Chaney. "He represented Tallahassee Community College and Eagle Baseball in exemplary fashion and we're excited to see him recognized for his commitment as a student and athlete."
Vann, a member of the Eagles' baseball team, helped Tallahassee to back-to-back appearances in the FCSAA State Tournament. He was First-team FCSAA All-State as a designated hitter in 2018 after earning second-team honors as a freshman and was a two-time First-team All-Panhandle Conference selection. In 58 games as a sophomore, Vann batted .383 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs.
As good as Vann was on the field, Tallahassee head coach Mike McLeod says his impact extended much further.
"He is one of the most organized and loyal individuals you will meet," said McLeod. "He is committed to the process and is a role model to the other student-athletes, both on and off the field, by being a phenomenal student and leader with both his words and actions. He is everything you would want in a player and individual."
Vann actively participated in numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the community, both in Tallahassee, where he mentored students at Sabal Palm Elementary School, and in his hometown of Colquitt, Ga., where he volunteered at First Baptist Church and assisted with baseball and development of young athletes at his alma mater, Miller County High School.
Vann, who previously received the Panhandle Conference's Buddy Kisner Baseball Scholar-Athlete Award, graduated in May with a 3.84 GPA. He will continue his academic and athletic careers at Georgia Southern University where he will pursue a biology degree.
He is the first Eagle to receive the O'Daniel Award. Tallahassee has had two Mickey Englett Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients – Megan Oster in 2012 and Elisa Cecchetti in 2017.
About the Panhandle Conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards
Each year, the Panhandle Conference selects the Dr. Dale O'Daniel Panhandle Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Mickey Englett Panhandle Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Nominees are the scholar-athlete of the year recipients in the Panhandle Conference's five sanctioned sports – men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. Men's and women's cross country and cheerleading are also eligible to submit a nominee as a non-sanctioned sport or activity.
Dr. Dale O'Daniel's distinguished career in higher education spanned more than four decades. Beginning in 1967, all but nine years of his service to the Florida College System came at Chipola College – as an economics professor, chief business officer, President and, finally, Director of Athletics, a post he held from 2003 until retiring in 2012. Chipola's 2006-07 season included state championships in four different sports and national championships in baseball and softball. In addition to directing Chipola Athletics, Dr. O'Daniel was instrumental in the College's role as host for the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region 8 basketball tournament. Dr. O'Daniel's visionary guidance and leadership also extended to the conference and state levels, all in an effort to promote academic and athletic excellence.
Dr. Dale O'Daniel Panhandle Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- 2017: Brayson Smith, Northwest Florida State College, baseball
- 2016: William Pfister, Northwest Florida State College, men's basketball
- 2015: Folorunsho Akande, Gulf Coast State College, basketball
- 2014: Bert Givens, Chipola College, baseball
- 2013: Clayton Rooks, Chipola College, baseball
- 2012: Jeff Mullahey, Pensacola State College, basketball