HIGH POINT, N.C. – Robert Poole of University of Mount Olive has been recognized as the 2017-18 recipient of the Murphy Osborne Scholar-Athlete Award, Conference Carolinas announced today. A member of the men’s volleyball team at Mount Olive, Poole was selected as the league's most outstanding scholar-athlete from a field of elite nominees based on his academic, athletic, leadership, and service accomplishments.
Poole, a Chemistry major with a double minor in Biology and Physics, currently holds a 3.94 GPA. During his academic career he has been named to the Dean's list 4 different semesters and the President's list 3 semesters. In 2017 he was named the Conference Carolinas Scholar Athlete of the Year for men's volleyball, as well as being named to the Academic All-America Second Team that same year. Additionally, Poole was named University of Mount Olive's 2015-16 Science Student of the Year. He has been extensively involved with research in the science department, completing several projects in different fields.
"Robert is a top student in our science department," noted Dr. Jason Pajski, an Associate Professor of Chemistry at University of Mount Olive. "He is an excellent scholar, and has been the most active member of the Chemistry Club, of which he was been both vice president and president."
Poole has been a four-year starter for the University of Mount Olive men's volleyball team and owns multiple school records, including most aces in a season (54), most career aces (142), and most career kills (surpassing the old record of 960); as well as being ranked third all-time in kills per set (3.30). Impressively, he is currently the national leader in aces per set.
According to Poole's head coach, David Heller, Poole isn't just a great player, he is also a great team player. "Robert takes a point of pride in being a leader and source of inspiration to our younger players when they first step onto campus. He will work with younger players to get extra practice in the gym or at the beach courts to help them develop and feel more comfortable and confident in the team setting."
Poole's resume also boasts an impressive list of other extracurriculars and service activities. A member of the Honors Program, he has participated in a number of projects including working with Habitat for Humanity, helping with the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Picnic Day, and sponsoring a Christmas Angel Tree program supporting children at the loyal Boys and Girls Club. He is also a tour guide for the university's Admissions department, as well as serving as an Ambassador for the Office of the President.
According to Heller, "Robert embodies what coaches dream of in an ideal student-athlete. He is someone who makes sacrifices, helps others, puts in extra time, mentors younger students, volunteers on campus, and maintains stellar grades."
Jeff Eisen, University of Mount Olive’s Director of Athletics, said it best, “The Murphy Osborne Award is the premier conference award, and Robert Poole is a premier student-athlete. He is an outstanding student, athlete, and young man. You could not ask for a better representative of UMO or Conference Carolinas than Robert.”
Each Conference Carolinas institution is eligible to nominate one outstanding student-athlete each year for the Murphy Osborne Scholar-Athlete Award. This year's finalists were as follows: Justin Alford of Barton College, Thomas Yoder of Belmont Abbey College, Elizabeth Schlesener of Converse College, Eduordo Gullino of Erskine College, Nicola Robertson of King University, Kylie Moyer of Limestone College, Robert Poole of University of Mount Olive, Madelynn Schober of North Greenville University, and Paige O'Connor of Southern Wesleyan University.
To be eligible for the award, nominees must be a senior student-athlete with a minimum grade point average of 3.25. The candidate must be a full-time student at the time of nomination, must have been a full-time student at the member school for at least two years, and must be a starter or important substitute in a conference sport. The recipient is selected by the Faculty Athletics Representatives of Conference Carolinas institutions and represents the most outstanding scholar-athlete in the league.
Conference Carolinas is a NCAA Division II athletics conference made up of 11 teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. These institutions consist of: Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Converse College, Emmanuel College, Erskine College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Limestone College, University of Mount Olive, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University. Emmanuel College is currently completing the NCAA Membership Process and will be fully competing in league championships in the near future.