The scholar-athlete concept is not just a Drury tradition and philosophy. According to Michelle Langsford Dickemann, it's a philosophy for life. "My experiences as a student-athlete helped shape me as a human being. I developed a competitive spirit, discipline, the ability to set and attain goals and the ability to work with others in reaching a common goal. These characteristics are extremely helpful in the game of life."
Michelle ("Shelly" to her college friends) is among the most honored female athletes in Drury history, and planned to continue as a teacher and coach after she graduated in 1986. She came to Drury as a volleyball player, but her athletic claim to fame is as Drury's first female swimmer. Part of a 1985 national championship team, her performance in the pool made it clear she was no token female. She twice earned NAIA Most Valuable Swimmer honors and was a 21-time NAIA All-American. She set 14 NAIA national records and won 14 NAIA national titles. She set the national record for the most individual titles in one year as well as the record for most career individual titles. Her athletic success was matched by academic accomplishments: she also qualified for the NAIA Academic All-American Team. "Both Coach Barb Cowherd and Coach Brian Reynolds stress the importance of high academic and athletic standards," says Dickemann. "One of my goals was to be recognized as an Academic All-American."
In 1991 Shelly became the first Drury athlete to be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. She also is in Drury's Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Reynolds remembers, "Shelly's success is due in part to her self-discipline and determination to be the very best. Being the lone female swimmer, her goal was to beat the guys, which she did regularly." She was just about as perfect a swimmer as possible.
Time management and discipline are two skills that Shelly remembers learning as a Drury scholar-athlete. She had to balance class work, volleyball practice and swimming. "I still am a juggling artist, " says Dickemann, though she ended up using those skills as an organizer rather than a teacher and coach. Today she and her husband Barry own and operate Golf & Tennis World, Inc. in Springfield. She is also a trade show coordinator at MD Publications, Inc., and mother to nine-year-old Kara and two-year-old Mason.
Related Links:Drury Athletic Hall of Fame