Vanaskie set for induction into Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame

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2013 Academic All-America Hall of Fame Class
Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – The Hon. Thomas I Vanaskie '75 will earn one of the highest honors in collegiate athletics when he is inducted into the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame during the College Sports Information Directors of America Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.
Vanaskie, a judge of the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Pa.,  is a part of the 26th induction class of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame, where he will be honored along with Bruce Melnick, a NASA astronaut (Coast Guard), Pat Tillman, the late NFL star with the Arizona Cardinals (Arizona State), Elfi Schlegel, a NBC Sports gymnastics analyst (Florida) and Terry Schroeder, the U.S. Water Polo team coach at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games (Pepperdine).
"I'm overwhelmed," Vanaskie said. "I received the call from Dick Enberg telling me I had been inducted. I never thought it would happen. It is an incredible honor. There is no more meaningful award for the impact that sports, coupled with academics, can have on a person. I can't separate out the impact that playing football at Lycoming and the education at Lycoming had on me. They both contribute equally."
From Shamokin, Pa., Vanaskie has risen from the working-class town to sitting on a bench one step below the U.S. Supreme Court. A graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Vanaskie immediately wove himself into the fabric of Lycoming upon his arrival in 1971. He played football for four seasons, including the last three under legendary head coach Frank Girardi.
Off the field, Vanaskie served as the president of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economics honor society and Sigma Pi fraternity, helping him earn the school's 1974 Chieftain Award, given to the student that makes the largest impact on the Lycoming community. He also was awarded the Finnegan Foundation internship as a junior, serving a six-week internship in the State Bureau of Corporations office in Harrisburg.
On the field, he developed into one of the best defensive backs in school history. He earned two All-Middle Atlantic Conference accolades and finished his career with a then school-record 11 interceptions, posting a career-high five picks as a junior. As a senior, Vanaskie picked off three passes and had a hand in 60 tackles. He also recovered two fumbles, blocked an extra point and finished amongst national leaders in punt return average, posting 11.5 yards per return and scoring on returns of 64 and 81 yards. Accolades rolled in for him, as he was named ECAC All-East and all-state before earning Honorable Mention Associated Press Little All-American honors, helping him become the school's second Academic All-American, receiving the certificate from CoSIDA and American Heritage Life Insurance. He also earned Lycoming's Tomahawk Award, now called the Male Athlete of the Year award.
"My initial reaction is one of great pride in what he accomplished," Girardi said. "He was a young kid coming out of Shamokin and he made his mark here as an outstanding football player but also as an academic. His accomplishments after his college days are just unbelievable. I know all of his teammates and coaches are just so proud of him."
After graduation, Vanaskie went on to Penn State's Dickinson School of Law and after serving in private practice, he moved behind the bench and now serves on the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals. He was inducted into the Lycoming College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.
"The thing about Tom was that he was very mature and intelligent on and off the field," Lycoming defensive coordinator Steve Wiser, who played with Vanaskie for three years, said. "He was very conscientious about academics. He was a very sincere person. He was a great athlete, very physical. He was not only easy to play against, but easy to coach."
The Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame has inducted several national sporting, business, media and scientific leaders since its founding in 1988, including Joe Girardi (Northwestern, manager of the New York Yankees), Steve Young (Brigham Young, NFL analyst), Cris Collinsworth (Florida, NFL analyst) and Enberg (Central Michigan, former ESPN sports analyst).