Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Hilltop


Howard Athletics Coach, Nicholas Askew, Wins 2023 Drake Hero Award

Nicholas Askew (middle) receives Drake Hero Award at 2023 Allen Sack Symposium. Photo from Kyle Fisher.

Howard University swim and dive, and tennis head coach, Nicholas Askew, was honored at the National Press Club last week along with Senator Cory Booker, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball coach, Dawn Staley. 

Askew was the recipient of the 2023 Drake Hero Award, which “recognizes an extraordinary individual who has helped advance the collegiate sports reform movement through persistent actions over time,” according to The Drake Group.

Askew has been at the forefront of coaching representation in NCAA sports in which African American athletes and coaches are underrepresented. As Askew highlighted in his acceptance speech a year ago, he was taken aback as he spoke to a room full of NCAA head swimming coaches and there were only three other Black head coaches. Since that moment, Askew has been among the most prominent names in the movement to diversify representation in collegiate sports.

According to the press release from The Drake Group, “[Askew’s] efforts have increased the number of Black and other athletes of color entering and participating from the entry to the elite levels of the participation pyramid in sports in which they are significantly underrepresented, thereby challenging stereotypes of the interests and abilities of Black athletes and other athletes of color. The achievements of his teams have created public notoriety, thereby raising important questions about the failure of intercollegiate athletics to address the underrepresentation of Black athletes in NCAA men’s and women’s championship sports.”

Featured in publications such as BET, Sports Illustrated, Essence Magazine, and more, Askew and the swim and dive team have made national headlines as the NCAA’s only all-Black swim team. This exposure has played a major role in showcasing that there can be greatness cultivated in swimming and diving by a group of minorities on the collegiate level. 

The impact of this exposure cannot be understated as it has the ability to help create the next generation of swimmers. The Howard University swim and dive program led by Askew provides young, Black potential athletes with concrete evidence that as a Black child, they can get into swimming and take it to the next level. Also, the program’s presence makes it so that young Black swimmers do not have to choose between attending an HBCU and swimming competitively in college.

Regarding the mainstream media exposure, Howard University president, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick told The Hilltop, “It has done a lot for the University in terms of highlighting the excellence that we have here.” More impactful in the president’s eyes however, is the role the coverage has played in highlighting a national issue. “Askew’s program has more nationally highlighted issues around swimming in the Black community and the fact that African Americans are far more likely to drown. I feel like that really brought this issue to the forefront and the fact that Howard athletes are really trying to close that gap,” President Frederick added.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The championships, exposure, and awards are not the end-goal for Askew. Shortly after receiving the Hero Award, Askew told WUSA, “We’re hopefully leading the charge for more HBCUs to consider bringing back their program. Or even bigger, for more minorities to get into the sport.”

Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee


You May Also Like