Nicole Aunapu Mann honored with Jerry Yeagley Award

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (December 11, 2017) – United Soccer Coaches announced on Monday that NASA astronaut and U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Aunapu Mann will be honored with the association’s 2017 Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Service.

“I was really excited to hear that Nicole is going to be honored with this prestigious award,” said United States Naval Academy head coach Carin Gabarra, who nominated Mann for the honor. “She was a standout student-athlete at the Naval Academy and I knew early on in coaching her that her future was bright in whatever area she would choose to pursue. Everything that she has accomplished to date is amazing and a true testament to her character, work ethic and drive." 

Mann starred at the United States Naval Academy from 1995-1998, building the program into a perennial power with the first four winning seasons in a streak that would last 21 years. Mann, who started 74 of her 75 appearances while contributing one goal and four assists as a defender, helped guide Navy to its first postseason in 1996 and, as a senior, captained Navy through an undefeated Patriot League campaign for the program’s first conference title in 1998.

One of the most decorated women’s soccer players in Patriot League history, Mann garnered First Team All-Patriot League recognition and United Soccer Coaches All-Region honors all four years and was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons. In addition, she was named to the Patriot League All-Decade Women’s Soccer Team in 2000 and the Patriot League Women’s Soccer 25th Anniversary Team in 2015.

Mann’s many athletic accomplishments were accompanied by an array of academic awards, as well. She twice received CoSIDA Academic All-American and Patriot League Women’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year distinction, in addition to recognition from United Soccer Coaches as a Scholar All-American, by the NCAA as Woman of the Year in the state of Maryland and from the Patriot League as their Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. The Naval Academy also bestowed Mann, a Trident Scholar, with the Vice Admiral Lawrence Sword for Women.

Following her graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1999, Mann – a California native – would earn a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2001. She earned her wings of gold as a Naval Aviator in 2003 and has since accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours in 22 types of aircraft, including 47 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her service has been awarded with two Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

In 2013, Mann was one of eight candidates selected to be a member of the 21st NASA astronaut class. She completed her extensive training in 2015 and is now one of only 44 active NASA astronauts qualified for future assignment, which could include missions to advance scientific research aboard the International Space Station as well as landmark journeys to an asteroid and to Mars in fulfillment of goals outlined in the U.S. National Space Policy.

The Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Service is presented annually to a former collegiate student-athlete who has demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments beyond the sport itself. The award is named in honor of the legendary Indiana University soccer coach and will be presented at the All-America Luncheon on January 20, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention.