October 6, 2009 - by
Former Volleyball Seminole Courtney (Dipert) Draper Honored At 2009 Champion Beyond the Game Brunch

Oct. 6, 2009


Each fall, the Champions Beyond the Game Awards Brunch honors former Florida State female athletes who have excelled in life beyond collegiate athletics.  One honoree represents the era when athletic scholarships were not available to women while the other honoree is a former Seminole who benefitted from having a scholarship.  Patricia (Pat) Sargeant, Class of ’75, and 1998 graduate Courtney Draper were recently honored as the 2009 recipients of this special award.

“Being a student-athlete at Florida State was a fantastic opportunity,” pre-scholarship era honoree Pat Sargeant said.  “I quickly learned to prioritize and manage my time and take advantage of all the opportunities that were available without losing sight of my primary focus and that was to get a good education. Academically, Florida State more than prepared me for the working world and also all my additional programs. Competing on athletic teams, being a member of clubs and also all of the people that I met, many who are still important in my life today, all contributed to building a further foundation so I could grow both personally and professionally.”

Sargeant, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force, retired, came to Florida State University from St. Petersburg, earning her B.S. in Physical Education in 1975. She was a member of F Club and Delta Psi Kappa honorary societies, a member of several sports teams, specializing in volleyball and swimming, and named Outstanding Senior Female Physical Educator. The following year, Sargeant earned an M.A. in Teaching from the University of South Carolina. She then served at James Madison University as a physical education professor and Varsity Women’s Volleyball Coach, where she led the team to two state championships. She pursued another degree at the University of Illinois before joining the Air Force. She later taught and coached at the Air Force Academy and commanded engineering companies across the country. Sargeant continued her formal education and earned two more master’s degrees, one in Physical Therapy and the other in Health Science Education. She retired as Chief of Physical Therapy at Patrick Air Force Base.

While clearly accomplished, Sargeant realized early on what it meant to be a Seminole and how the generosity of others gave her the opportunity to make her dreams a reality.

“When our volleyball team in 1973 qualified to go to Ohio, the athletic department could only fund seven players and there were 12 of us on the team,” Sargeant explained. “One of the coaches from Stetson University, Florida State alum Lucy McDaniel, donated the money so that all of us could fly to that tournament and compete. This is just one example of how alumni in their own way, even back then before scholarships, were making contributions to support and improve women’s athletics at Florida State. We appreciated their generosity and were thankful for the opportunity to compete and represent our school because we were proud to be Seminoles.”

Sargeant made a plea to the Seminoles of today to recognize the opportunities they’ve been given and appreciate those who have made it possible.

“As student-athletes, appreciate what you have today,” she said. “Your coaching staff, the athletic and program administrators, your outstanding facilities and especially your fans and alumni who support what you do. Time passes quickly. Take full advantage of the opportunities Florida State is providing for you and hopefully, after you graduate, you will be able to give back in your own way so that future student-athletes will continue to benefit.”

In civilian life, Sargeant continues to practice physical therapy, she officiates Florida high school volleyball and swims competitively. She was the 2005 Florida Sports Foundation Senior Female Athlete of the Year and recently broke numerous swimming Master’s national and world records.

Draper, a native of Lisle, Illinois, earned a scholarship to play volleyball at Florida State University, under legendary head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud, after walking on to the team her sophomore year. During her four-year playing career at Florida State, Draper (then Dipert) served as team captain and helped lead the Seminoles to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1998 and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997 and 1998. She was chosen for numerous university and conference honor rolls and Dean’s Lists, and awarded the Golden ‘Nole her senior year. Draper earned her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and master’s degree in Sports Administration.

While her time at Florida State was challenging at times, it was the people around her that helped shape Draper into the successful person she is today.

“The best coaches have to push you outside of your comfort zone and my college coach, Cecile Reynaud, was only tough on me because she saw my potential and she wanted me to be the best student-athlete that I could be,” Draper said.  “I learned more from Cecile in six years than I did from any text book or any teacher. I learned more than the game, I learned how to become my own person.  Cecile taught me dedication, discipline and leadership.”

After graduation, Draper served as an assistant coach at FSU and Duke before receiving her first head coaching position at Jacksonville University in 2003. At the age of 25, she was the youngest head coach in NCAA volleyball. In the spring of 2004, she accepted a position at Eckerd College and currently serves as head coach and assistant athletics director. Having already earned her 100th career victory, Draper has put together a string of the three most successful seasons Eckerd College has ever seen on the hardwood, including three consecutive NCAA championship appearances.

Draper has seen firsthand, as a student-athlete and now as a coach and administrator, how vital the support of donors and boosters is to the success of an athletics program.

“My job, and the job of Florida State’s coaches, could not be accomplished without the help of the boosters and donors who are continuing to support women’s athletics,” Draper said. “So those of you who are here with us today, let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart. And athletes remember to thank your supporters, they are the reason you get to play and a huge part of your success.”

Draper has also has been a diligent volunteer while at Eckerd College. She spearheaded the Tiny Triton Club and engages her staff and team in providing free clinics to help children with their volleyball skills.  She is also active in Habitat for Humanity and works with the elderly. Draper currently resides in St. Petersburg with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Logan.

Femina Perfecta Awards

Femina Perfecta, meaning “complete woman” is given to a member of each of Florida State’s women’s teams. The recipient of this award exemplifies the motto on the University seal, which has three torches and the words VIRES, ARTES, and MORES, and the words under the torches on the Florida State College for Women seal FEMINA PERFECTA. This represented the goal of the college for all students. She will not necessarily be the most intellectual, fastest, strongest, top scorer, funniest, etc., but should be the one who is invaluable to the team and who will always make a difference.

2009 Femina Perfecta Award Winners:

Soccer                    Becky Edwards

Volleyball              Jenna Romanelli

Basketball             Jacinta Monroe

Cross Country      Christina Woytalewicz

Golf                        Jamie Kuhn

Softball                  Ashley Stager

Swimming             Carly Cavalieri

Tennis                    Lauren Macfarlane

Track & Field       Caila Coleman

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