(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 2015 winners are Averett University volleyball player Nicole Barringer and LaGrange College golfer Cory Howard.
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.
Nicole Barringer - Averett University
Barringer, a setter on the Cougar volleyball team, concluded her collegiate career this past fall when she was named an All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Additionally in 2014, Barringer collected a bevy of individual honors including AVCA All-South Region, USA South First Team All-Conference, USA South All-Tournament Team and Averett Female Student-Athlete of the Year. In her career, Barringer was a four-time All-Conference honoree and was selected to the USA South All-Tournament team twice. In the classroom, Barringer compiled a 3.61 grade point average while majoring in criminal justice and was named Averett's 2014-15 Most Outstanding Criminal Justice Student. She was a four-time member of the USA South All-Academic Team while making the Dean's List three times and the President's List once. Barringer was the USA South's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President and represented the Conference on the NCAA Division III National SAAC. On campus, Barringer served as Averett's SAAC President, was the student-athlete representative on the institution's Strategic Planning Committee, helped rejuvenate Averett's "Blue Crew" fan club and organized several community service projects including a cancer awareness event. For her efforts, Barringer earned several service awards including the volleyball team's Service Award, the 2014 Dr. Frank Campbell Sportsmanship Award and the 2015 Curtis Bishop Award for Outstanding Service.
Cory Howard - LaGrange College
Howard concluded his collegiate career this spring as he helped lead the Panthers to a second place performance at the NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championship, the program's best-ever finish. During his time at LaGrange, Howard was a three-time All-American, a three-time All-South Region honoree, a four-time All-Conference performer, a three-time USA South All-Tournament team member and a two-time USA South Tournament Medalist. Additionally, Howard was the 2012 Great South Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and the 2015 USA South Player of the Year. He currently holds the LaGrange record for career tournament wins with six. Off the course, Howard compiled a 3.20 grade point average while majoring in accounting. He was a two-time NCAA Division III Men's Golf All-American Scholar and a two-time USA South All-Academic All-Conference honoree. Finally, Howard was selected as the winner of the LaGrange College Eagle Award which is given annually to the student-athlete who has overcome adversity and excelled as a student, as an athlete and as a member of the community.