FGCU baseball ace Mario Leon (’18, Communication) has been recognized by the ASUN Conference for demonstrating the conference’s core values, including academic achievement, honesty, respect, inclusion, leadership, responsibility and sportsmanship.
One student-athlete from each of the eight institutions in the conference was honored with ASUN’s Winners for Life award for their display of excellence on and off the playing surface. To be eligible for the award, students had to have competed in the current academic year in an ASUN-sponsored sport and be in good academic standing at their schools.
Leon, a graduate of Gulf Coast High School in Naples, was a redshirt-senior pitcher who was also recently featured as part of ASUN’s Beam Video Series that showcases student-athletes across the ASUN who have made an impact in the classroom, in competition and in the community, posted or matched career-highs in starts (14), wins (5), innings pitched (82.2), ERA (3.05) and strikeouts (83) in 2018.
Leon was also a vital piece of FGCU’s historic 2017 season. Among his nine starts, the right-hander started and earned wins over No. 2 Florida, No. 21 South Florida and Miami. Those victories helped the Green and Blue defeat Florida, Miami and Florida State in the same season for the first time in program history.
Leon ended his career in the top 10 in seven different categories. Among those, he stands fifth with 225 strikeouts, sixth with 242.2 innings pitched and second with five combined shutouts. He was recently drafted with the 699th overall pick in the 23rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Among numerous accomplishments, Leon was named one of two recipients of the Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award along with women’s soccer’s Ashley Parks in 2017-18. On top of that, he earned the ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year award to become the department’s first baseball player to ever receive that recognition. He finished his undergraduate career with a 3.83 GPA and holds a 4.00 in pursuit of his master’s degree in public administration.
An Athletic Director Honor Roll selection each of his eight undergraduate semesters, Leon was also named to the Dean’s List six times and the President’s List once. Additionally, he was a student-athlete luncheon honoree four times, and the male FGCU Athletics Scholar-Athlete of the Month twice.
Leon not only dedicated his time to baseball and his academics, but he also completed more than 130 hours of community service that included volunteering for the FGCU Winter Games, Night at the Nest and baseball camps. Throughout Southwest Florida, he served at the Gladiolus Learning and Development Center, Read Across America, Radio Thank-A-Thon and been a guest speaker at little leagues and helped aid in Hurricane Irma relief.
A leader at FGCU, Leon was also chosen to represent the ASUN at the 2017 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum which included 300 student-athletes across the nation. The forum enhanced his skills and provided a new perspective on leadership, which was ultimately conveyed on and off the field.