Event shifts online to recognize well-rounded Golden ‘Noles

The Golden Nole banquet is a night each spring for Florida State to emphasize well-rounded individuals – not just those who exceled in sport but in the classroom and in the community.

With the threat of coronavirus, there was no way to hold a Golden Nole banquet for what would have been a 21st year. But one way to highlight the achievements across FSU athletics is to recognize the student-athletes’ hard work on social media.

“Having Golden Nole through social media gives us a sense of getting back to normalcy,” swimmer Paxton Rhoads said. “It could have been cancelled. It really helps bring us back together even though we are far away and really connect us, unite us under one thing – Florida State.”

With athletes, coaches and administrators staying safe – and often spread across the country and even the globe – FSU assistant athletics director for student-athlete development Ashton Henderson said it will be a “week-long celebration” of FSU’s programs. Head coaches coordinated a video on Zoom to launch the Golden Nole celebration, while Instagram posts (follow @fsu_nolesserve) as well as various Florida State team social media accounts will honor specific achievements. A full list of individual and team honors is expected to come on Thursday.

“We’re very excited,” Henderson said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show strength in numbers, the value that our student-athletes provide to our program every day.”

Henderson said their goal is for FSU’s student-athletes to “serve, lead and live Unconquered.” And in that spirit, community service is a major component of every athletics program. In recent years, FSU athletes have done everything from reading at Tallahassee-area elementary schools to cleaning up beaches in Panama City after Hurricane Michael hit the coast.

Events in Leon County and throughout the Florida panhandle help build bonds with teammates as well as athletes from various sports. But it also strengthens the FSU bond within communities. Seminoles are viewed not just as athletes who perform on the field or on TV but as those who give their time to those in need and build relationships with younger generations at schools.

“Community service is part of being an athlete at Florida State,” said swimmer Manuella Ribas Andrade, who is the 2019-20 FSU student-athlete advisory council (SAAC) president. “There’s an understanding that you need to perform in your sport and in the classroom but also give back in the community.”

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