The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

2021 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award recipients announced

9 days ago
Photo: SEC

The following story was originally published on

Seven former college athletes will receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of their collegiate and professional achievements, as well as their civic contributions.

The award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. The honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, composed of representatives of NCAA member schools, conferences and distinguished citizens, including past awardees.

Silver Anniversary honorees will be recognized during a virtual Honors Celebration awards show on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The show will be streamed at 7 p.m. Eastern time on the NCAA Twitter account and on the ESPN app.

The 2021 recipients are Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Adam J. Burgasser, Michelle M. Marciniak, Fernando Palomo, Amy E. Reinhard, Lt. Col. Dan Rooney and Michelle Cusimano Vachris.

Michelle M. Marciniak
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Major: Psychology
Sport: Basketball
Point guard Michelle M. Marciniak won a national championship with Tennessee in 1996 and received Naismith All-American and Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention honors in 1996. She was named Most Outstanding Player and a member of the All-Tournament Team at the 1996 NCAA Final Four. During her tenure, Tennessee was 97-9, including 31-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Marciniak surpassed 1,000 points in her career and still ranks third in program history in season assists and fifth in both season and career assists average. She represented Team USA in international competition, winning a silver medal at the 1995 World University Games and a gold medal at the 1996 Jones Cup. She played professionally with the Portland Fire and Seattle Storm and was previously named an American Basketball League All-Star with the Portland Power. Concurrently, Marciniak worked as a color commentator for Fox Sports, ESPN Radio and the Lady Vol Radio Network. She served as a Women's National Basketball Association representative at the 2002 NBA All-Star Weekend and later served as a WNBA player representative for corporate marketing strategies in 2003. The WNBA also awarded her the National Community Service Award in 2002. After her playing career, Marciniak worked as an assistant women's basketball coach for South Carolina from 2003 to 2008. She is co-founder and co-CEO of SHEEX Inc., which invented the category of performance fabric bedding and holds numerous worldwide patents in bedding, mattress and sleepwear products. SHEEX has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and O Magazine. Marciniak co-founded Pedal for Alzheimer's and has previously served as a spokesperson for the Pat Summitt Foundation. She is a Henry Crown Fellow (class of 2014), a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a strategic advisor for Space for Humanity.

Fernando Palomo
Texas A&M University, College Station
Major: Agricultural economics
Sport: Track and field
Javelin thrower Fernando Palomo placed 12th at the 1996 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. His collegiate best throw of 237 feet, 1 inch earlier that year was the third-best mark in Texas A&M history at the time. He also earned all-Southwest Conference honors. Palomo competed internationally for El Salvador, winning eight national titles, and his national javelin record of 72.70 meters set in 1998 still stands. As an ESPN announcer, Palomo served as host for the first ESPN "SportsCenter" broadcast for the Latin American market and later hosted the first ESPN "SportsCenter" show in Spanish for a U.S. audience. He is the lead soccer play-by-play commentator covering European soccer for ESPN in the U.S. and throughout Latin America and is the host of European soccer show "Fuera de Juego." Throughout his career, Palomo has covered matches ranging from UEFA's European Championships, the Euro, FIFA friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, the Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, France's Ligue 1 and the German Bundesliga. He has called more than 15 UEFA Champions League Finals. He was part of ESPN's broadcasting team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as well as in Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018. Palomo has provided ESPN's Spanish-language commentary for track and field competition at every Pan American Games since 2003 and for Olympic games in London 2012 and Rio 2016, where he was also on the team for the Opening Ceremony. In 2013, Palomo started working as the Spanish-language commentator for the EA Sports FIFA video game franchise. He is an ambassador for Glasswing International, which operates health, education, migration and community development programs for children in Latin America, and the Salvadoran Foundation for Health and Human Development, known as FUSAL, a nonprofit focused on health and education. A lifetime member of the Texas A&M Lettermen's Association, he mentors young journalists at the university and is a member of the International Society of Olympic Historians.