O'Connell Earns Community of Champions Award
Senior football player Michael O’Connell, of Iowa City, represents Iowa State along with one other student-athlete from each of the Big 12 schools on the Chick-fil-A Community of Champions award list. These students are honored based on their involvement in their communities and performance in the classroom as well as on the athletic field. O’Connell has involved himself with many activities within the Ames community, making him one of two football student-athletes honored.
The Community of Champions is made up of student-athletes who maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.0. O’Connell has met and surpassed these expectations by involving himself in over 15 community service events while maintaining an impressive performance in the classroom. Academically, O’Connell shines by appearing on the Big-12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and was named a first-team Academic All-Big 12 Honoree in 2009.
Along with a stellar academic career, O’Connell’s football performance is notable. O’Connell has chalked up 100 career tackles; his career high of 11 stops was vs. Texas A&M in 2009. The free safety played a major role in one of the Cyclones’ biggest victories in school history, making a huge interception in the Longhorns’ endzone in the ISU-Texas game Saturday.
One of the most extraordinary aspects of O’Connell’s Iowa State career is his enormous effort in the Ames community. The 5-11 senior sets an example within Ames by speaking to kids about the importance of exercise and nutrition at the Nevada Schools Exercise Kickoff. He also taught young athletes basic football techniques at the Gilbert Sports Clinic. O’Connell has participated in Little Cyclones camps and Cyclone Tailgate Tours to speak with youth and sign autographs. He is a football representative for the Iowa State Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), and represented Iowa State this year at the Big 12 Leadership Summit in Kansas City, Mo. He is an annual volunteer for the Special Olympic Games as well as the Iowa Games, both of which are hosted by Iowa State.
O’Connell personifies the term “student-athlete.” His athletic, academic, and community performance is exemplary, and affirms his place among the Big 12 Community of Champions. O’Connell divides up his time equally between being a business major, an ISU defensive back, and a caring member of the Ames community who sets an example for all Iowa State students.