(FAYETTEVILLE, NC) - Each year the USA South Athletic Conference presents its most prestigious awards by honoring one male and one female as the Student-Athletes of the Year. These student-athletes are recognized as recipients of the Don Scalf Award. The 2017 winners are Averett University softball player Jessica Long and LaGrange College golfer Logan Lanier.
To be eligible for the Don Scalf Award a student-athlete must be either a junior or senior, have participated in a USA South sport earning at least All-Conference recognition and have a minimum 3.00 GPA. The athletic directors vote for the award winner each spring at the conclusion of all Conference schedules.
This award is named in honor of Don Scalf, whose commitment to the student-athlete, guardianship of the value of academic achievement and devotion to the principles of Division III athletics set a standard that holds steadfast in the Conference today. He taught for 36 years and coached for 18 at N.C. Wesleyan College. He also served as Athletic Director at N.C. Wesleyan for six years. During his coaching career his teams won Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball and golf championships. In addition, he was a founding father of the DIAC in 1963 and served as its Secretary-Treasurer for 25 years.
Jessica Long - Averett University
Long, a standout on the Cougar softball team, concluded her collegiate career this past spring when she was named an All-American for the third time and All-Region for the fourth year. She is a four-time USA South All-Conference Team member, a two-time League Player of the Year and the 2014 Conference Rookie of the Year. Long led her team to one Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championship as well as two trips to the NCAA Tournament. This year, she earned Averett's female senior student-athlete of the year honor as well as its Barbara Kushubar Award as the overall female student-athlete of the year. Academically, Long graduated as a member of two national honor societies and a 3.74 GPA which earned her the Top GPA Award for an Averett senior female student-athlete. She was a four-time member of the USA South Academic All-Conference team and was named a 2017 Academic All-American. Additionally, Long was the recipient of the 2016-17 Elizabeth and James Bustard Distinguished Award which is awarded to one or more graduating seniors who excel in high ideals of living, in spiritual qualities and in generous service to others, for use in higher education. Finally, she gave her time away from the softball diamond and classroom in several different ways. Long was a member of Averett's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as well as volunteering at the Alamance Regional Pediatric Rehab in Burlington, N.C., Peak Resources in Graham, N.C., and at the Dan River Region's Week to Engage working with the Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics.
Logan Lanier - LaGrange College
Lanier concluded his senior year this spring as he helped lead the Panthers to a fourth consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. In three of his four national tournament outings Lanier finished in the top-ten three times including a fourth-place performance during the 2017 event. He was a three-time All-American and All-Region honoree including a four-time All-Conference performer. Lanier was the 2016 USA South Player of the Year, the 2017 USA South Championship Medalist and the 2017 Jack Nicklaus National Division III Player of the Year. He helped the Panthers to two USA South Championships as well as a runner-up finish at the 2015 NCAA Division III Tournament. Academically, Lanier graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship with a Mathematics minor and a 3.695 GPA. He was a two-time Academic All-American and a four-time USA South Academic All-Conference honoree. Lanier found himself on LaGrange's Academic Provost List each year of his four years on campus and was a member of the Delta Mu Delta International Business Honor Society. For his efforts during his time as a Panther, Lanier collected the 2017 LaGrange Eagle Award Winner as the top male student-athlete. Additionally, Lanier gave his time on campus as a tutor in mathematics and problem solving as well as assisting with the local "Our Daily Bread" food program.
To view past Don Scalf Award winners, click HERE.