FAYETTEVILLE — Nathanael Franks, a member of the third-ranked University of Arkansas men’s track and field team, was named the winner of the 9th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. Named for the legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, the award was presented Tuesday evening by non-profit organization Athletes for a Better World (ABW) in a ceremony held Tuesday evening in Atlanta.
Franks, a redshirt sophomore multi-event competitor for the Razorbacks, was one of five collegiate finalists for the Wooden Citizenship Cup. The award is presented annually to two distinguished athletes–one collegiate and one professional–for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contribution to sport and society. The professional honor was awarded to 18-time PGA Tour major winner Jack Nicklaus.
As a Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Arkansas, Franks completed his undergraduate studies in 2.5 years and earned two degrees in December 2012, one in chemistry and one in physics. The Damascus, Ore., native earned the chemistry degree as a magna cum laude graduate with a minor in history. Along the way, Franks carried a 3.96 cumulative grade-point average and qualified to be a Fulbright Senior Scholar.
Franks capped his 2013 indoor season with his first career SEC title, running the 400-meter leg of Arkansas’ victorious distance-medley relay. He was also the Razorbacks’ top performer in the heptathlon at the SEC Championships, finishing in third place with a personal-best score of 5,497 points. He posted personal bests in three of the seven events at the indoor conference meet. Franks’ score at the SEC meet was an NCAA top-30 mark for the season.
Among several leadership roles on the University of Arkansas campus, Franks is a founding father of the Fayetteville chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a core leader of the International Culture Team, an outreach effort to international students. Within the Fayetteville community, he is involved in the Recess organization which offers one-on-one mentoring of children with disabilities.
Along with Franks, the list of collegiate finalists for the 9th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup included Brigetta Barrett (Arizona, track and field), Meghan Lyons (North Carolina, field hockey), Andrea Mingo (Purdue, basketball) and Eric Soza (UT-San Antonio, football).
Recipients of the Wooden Citizenship Cup were chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former athletics director at Georgia, and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country. Founded by ABW, a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to athletes in all levels of collegiate and professional sports.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.