TALLAHASSEE, FL – Being a collegiate athlete comes with many responsibilities. Student-athletes have to attend practices, participate in team workouts, travel for games and work hard in the classroom. Among the greatest responsibilities any college athlete has is the responsibility to his or her local community and being a positive role model.
“Giving back to our fans in the community is one of the cornerstones of our program” said Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton. “All of our players are deeply committed to helping the people of our community.”
Among the Seminoles’ most committed players is Dwayne Bacon. The sophomore guard from Lakeland, Fla. has always had an interest in giving back to his community.
“It is important to be a leader in the community and to give back to the people who give so much of themselves to our team,” said Bacon.
Bacon has been nominated for the Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Good Works Team Award, which recognizes players who are actively involved in and committed to working with charitable organizations. Bacon has participated in the highest number of community service activities and has the has accumulated the most community service hours among all male student-athletes at Florida State.
“We love our fans and we all feel it is important to get to know them and for them to get to know us,” said Bacon.
Fans do not generally get a glimpse into the everyday lives of student-athletes, nor do they witness their daily triumphs and challenges. What they see is each one of them giving their all to the sport they love. Most fans do not know much about the student-athletes they cheer for when the wear the garnet and gold.
As Bacon’s playing stature continues to grow nationally, he receives increased attention and recognition, which in turn creates a bigger fan base. That means there are children of all ages looking up to him as a role model.
“Dwayne Bacon is one of the best student-athletes at Florida State to be put in the position of a role model,” said Derrick Coles, the Director of Student Athlete Development for the FSU Department of Athletics. “Dwayne has shown that he has the maturity to be a standout leader and role model that everyone can look up to. He does not say, ‘I have to go do this community service’– he wants to be out in the community.”
“I love to see the spark in the children’s eyes and the excitement on their faces when a student-athlete from Florida State walks into their classroom,” said Bacon.
While pondering whether to enter the NBA Draft or return for another year as a Seminole last spring, Bacon made his decision public to a group of elementary school students in Tallahassee.
“Before he told myself and coaches, and outside of his family, he told a bunch of fourth graders at Gilchrist Elementary that he had decided to stay at Florida State,” said Coles.
It is the little actions that a person displays that make them a great role model.
Bacon did not have to share his decision with the fourth grade class at Gilchrist Elementary, but he wanted to because he cares about this community and he cares about Florida State.
Entering his second season at Florida State, Bacon has already accomplished so much and continues to give of himself every day.
On and off the court, Bacon exemplifies what it means to be a true Seminole and a positive role model.
By Jacob Rosuck