CGA's Bruce Melnick to be Inducted into Academic All-America Hall of Fame

AUSTIN, Tex. -- Commander Bruce Melnick, a 1972 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, along with Arizona State University standout linebacker Pat Tillman, who later starred for the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals before serving his country in the military, University of Florida and Olympic gymnast Elfi Schlegel, Pepperdine University and Olympic men's water polo standout Dr. Terry Schroeder, Lycoming College football star and current United States Circuit Court Judge Thomas Vanaskie are this year's 2013 inductees into the Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame, as selected by CoSIDA.

The five new inductees join 122 members of the Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame, which was created in 1988.  They will be inducted into the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame at CoSIDA's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. on Wednesday, June 12th at the organization's Fourth Annual Capital One Hall of Fame Ceremony, which for the first time will be part of the annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention.

This marks the third year that Capital One is the title sponsor of both the Academic All-America® program and the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame.

Melnick, a decorated NASA astronaut, becomes the first athlete from the Coast Guard Academy to earn this prestigous honor. He achieved success and great distinction in service to his country and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

A two-year letterwinner on the gridiron for the Bears, Melnick earned Academic All-America® honors and helped lead Coast Guard to an 8-2 mark during his senior campaign of 1971, which equaled the school record for victories in a season.  After graduating from the Academy with a degree in Engineering in 1972, Melnick embarked on a 20-year career in the Coast Guard, where his assignments included serving as operations office and chief test pilot in the Aircraft Program Office.  He received numerous awards during that tenure, including two Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Secretary of Transportation Heroism Award.

Selected by NASA in June 1987, Melnick qualified for space flight and became an astronaut in August 1988.  He performed subsequent technical assignments before flying as a mission specialist on the Shuttle Discovery from October 6-10, 1990 as well as the flight engineer on Shuttle Endeavour's maiden voyage from May 7-16, 1992.  He logged more than 300 hours in space, orbiting the Earth 207 times.

After retiring from the Coast Guard and leaving NASA in 1992, Melnick joined Lockheed Space Operations Company.  In 1996, he joined McDonnell Douglas as  Vice President for Payload Ground Operations Contract with NASA, and in 1997, when McDonnell Douglas merged with The Boeing Company, Melnick became Vice President of Boeing Florida Operations, serving in that role until his retirement in 2007.

Melnick earned his master's degree in aeronautical systems in 1975 from the University of West Florida, which bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate of science degree in April 2001.

The biographical information on the other members of the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame induction class is listed below:
 

PAT TILLMAN – FOOTBALL (Posthumous)

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

A talented football player in high school in his native San Jose, Calif., Pat Tillman received a scholarship from Arizona State University to play for the Sun Devils, who he helped lead to the Rose Bowl after an undefeated season in 1997. A three-time Pac-10 all-league selection, Tillman earned Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award during his senior campaign that also saw him garner First Team GTE Academic All-America® accolades.

Tillman graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Marketing in just three-and-a-half years from Arizona State, where he also earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was a Pac-10 All-Academic selection.  He was a seventh round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL entry draft, and quickly became the team's starting safety, breaking the franchise record for tackles (144) in his third season in the league in 2000.  Pat served as a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Arizona, Boys Hope Girls Hope and the March of Dimes, and read and talked to students in schools across the Phoenix Valley.

In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, Tillman proudly put his NFL career on hold to serve his country. This decision was just one of many he made over the course of his lifetime to help others and serve a cause greater than self-interest.

Pat and his brother Kevin joined the United States Army in July of 2002, committing to a three-year enlistment. They were assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Wash., serving tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004. They were recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 11th Annual ESPY Awards in 2003.

While the story of Pat's death may have been the most publicized in the War on Terror, sadly, it is merely one of the thousands of tragic stories that deserve recognition. Pat's family and friends created the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2004, following his death while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan.  The Pat Tillman Foundation is building a community of scholars dedicated to improving their own lives, the lives of their families and their country by creating a spirit of service while serving as a national leader in providing resources and educational support to veterans, active service members and their dependents.

In May 2010, Tillman was one of 12 players enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame.  His number 42 jersey was retired later that year by Arizona State, and the Arizona Cardinals have also retired his number 40 jersey.

 

ELFI SCHLEGEL – WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

One of the most decorated gymnasts in the history of NCAA competition, Elfi Schlegel's legacy in the sport has spanned for over three decades while bringing great distinction to the University of Florida as well as international recognition and acclaim.

Schlegel earned Academic All-America® accolades in 1984 during her sophomore season in Gainesville, as she earned six All-America honors during her career and 12 NCAA Southeast Region event titles.  In addition, she was the Southeastern Conference all-around titlist in 1983 and captured individual crowns in both the vault and beam.  Schlegel was the 1984 national runner-up in the floor exercise and claimed a school record 27 event victories as a Gator, leading Florida to a third place, two top five and one eighth place team finish at the NCAA Championships along the way.  She was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

A member of the 1980 Canadian Olympic team, Schlegel competed in the 1983 and 1985 World University Games and was a member of the Canadian national team for eight years (1976-84).  She was the all-around bronze medalist at the 1979 Pan American Games and the vault bronze medalist at the 1980 World Cup.

Schlegel graduated from Florida with a degree in Telecommunications, and she put those skills to work immediately, becoming arguably the most recognized broadcaster in gymnastics around the world.  She has served as an analyst for NBC Sports for each Olympic men's and women's competition since 1992, and she has branched out to cover other events such as downhill and freestyle skiing and snowboarding as well as international figure skating and curling.

In addition to her duties with NBC, Schlegel has also served as a broadcaster and analyst for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CTV Sports and Sports Channel Florida.  She currently serves as the President of Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre in her hometown of Toronto and is very active in her community, including with Cystic Fibrosis and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.  Schlegel received a Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1993 for making significant contributions to the country.

 

DR. TERRY SCHROEDER – MEN'S WATER POLO

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY

There is no more recognized name in the sport of men's water polo than Dr. Terry Schroeder, who was a three-time All-America at Pepperdine University and a six-time Olympian as a coach or athlete on three Team USA silver medalist squads.

Dr. Schroeder is this year's Honorary Inductee into the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame, as that category recognizes outstanding student-athletes who would almost assuredly have been Academic All-Americas had the program existed in their sport at the time they were competing.  A 1981 graduate of Pepperdine with a degree in Sports Medicine, Schroeder led the nation in scoring in both 1977 and 1978 and concluded his career as the Waves' all-time leading goal scorer (392) while also holding the single-season scoring mark (138) in 1978.  His efforts helped lead Pepperdine to three fourth place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 1977, 1978 & 1980, the same years in which he was named as an All-America performer.

A fixture on the United States national team, Schroeder first played for the squad during his sophomore season at Pepperdine in 1977, and two years later he led Team USA to a gold medal at the World University Games in Mexico City.  A four-time Olympian as a player (including the boycotted 1980 Games in Moscow), he won silver medals in the pool in 1984 in Los Angeles and in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea before leading the Americans to a fourth place finish in Barcelona in 1992.  Schroeder served as national team captain for nine years and carried the American flag at the closing ceremonies in Seoul in 1988.  Named by Swimming World Magazine as the best all-around player in the world in 1982, he was the first American player to be named to four Olympic water polo teams.

Schroeder returned to his alma mater in 1986 and served as Pepperdine's head men's water polo coach for 20 seasons, posting a 340-220 mark over that time span that included six regular season conference titles as well as the 1997 NCAA national championship.  He took a hiatus from the position to serve as Team USA's head coach from 2007 through 2012, leading the Americans to a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and an eighth place finish in the 2012 Olympiad in London, and earlier this year he returned to the sidelines as Pepperdine's head coach.

Dr. Schroeder has been an active member of the Westlake Village, Calif. community, working with the California Special Olympics as well as with fellow Olympian Evelyn Ashford and former First Lady Barbara Bush on Project Literacy.  He also been active with the Calvary Community Church and has worked with Mattel and the Humane Society on a campaign to save baby seals.

JUDGE THOMAS VANASKIE - FOOTBALL

LYCOMING COLLEGE

A hard-nosed defender on the football field and a leader in juris prudence, Judge Thomas Vanaskie has been a dedicated public servant that has certainly made Lycoming College very proud over the years.

A 1974 first team Academic All-America® selection, Vanaskie was a two-time Middle Atlantic Conference defensive back and earned honorable mention Associated Press All-America College Division honors as a senior.  He graduated as the Warriors' all-time leader with 11 interceptions and signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League.  Vanaskie, who earned a degree in Political Science from Lycoming in 1975, was inducted into the Shamokin Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and into his alma mater's Athletics Hall of Fame a year later.

After working as a private practice lawyer for 14 years in Scranton, Pa., Vanaskie served for 16 years as a federal mid-district judge in his home state before being appointed to his current position by President Barack Obama as a judge in the United States Third Circuit Appeals Court, which is one step below the Supreme Court.  He has received numerous awards during his tenure on the bench, including Honorary Master of the Bench of the Herbert B. Cohen Inn of Court in York, Pa., the Federal Bar Association Middle District of Pennsylvania Chapter's President's Award and a lifetime honorary member of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association.

An active member of the community, Judge Vanaskie is a current member of the University of Scranton Board of Regents and has served on the Scranton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Scranton Area Foundation and the Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  He has also served on the board of directors for the local chapter of the American Heart Association, the Scranton Community Medical Center and the Lackawanna Valley Heritage, Inc.

About CoSIDA

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA, www.cosida.com), now in its 57th year, was founded in 1957-making it the second oldest management association in intercollegiate athletics. Today, it is a vibrant 2,900-plus member national association comprised of the sports public relations, communications and information professionals throughout all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada.

CoSIDA has two primary missions: 1) Help the communications and media relations professionals at all collegiate levels with professional development and continuing education as it relates to strategically dealing in an effective manner with the various issues, challenges and opportunities that now exist within the fast-paced and ever-changing communications environment. 2) Play a significant leadership and resource role (i.e. "Strategic Communicators for College Athletics") within the overall enterprise of collegiate athletics.

CoSIDA founded in the mid 1950's the highly regarded "Academic All-America®" program, unquestionably viewed as the premier awards program in intercollegiate athletics for honoring combined academic and athletic excellence, which now has Capital One as its title sponsor. CoSIDA, which became an affiliated partner with NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) in December of 2008, continues to fully manage and administer that program today.

Note:  Materials used in this release were provided by member institutions and also from biographical materials from the Pat Tillman Foundation.

 

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