The many accolades Daniel Do earns are as impressive as his athletic ability.
But there is more to him than just being a standout runner on the Stockton University men’s cross country and track and field teams. Do is very active on campus, participating in many outreach programs that provide assistance to the local community.
The 22-year-old senior from Galloway Township was recently named one of the four national semifinalists for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Athlete of the Year. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education gives the award and will announce its Male and Female Athletes of the Year on April 29. More than 1,000 male and female athletes across NCAA Divisions I, II and III were nominated for the award.
The Arthur Ashe Jr. awards recognize outstanding minority men and women who have distinguished themselves both in academics and athletics. The honors were first awarded in 1992. Ashe was a professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam single titles and was the first Black person to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
After he retired, Ashe became a civil activist.
Do said he is a quiet and shy person and was always taught to keep to himself. But he is passionate and open about one topic: the recent attacks in Atlanta and the Bay Area on March 16 when Robert Aaron Long went on a rampage at three spas killing eight Asian Americans.
Diversity in sports is a very important topic, said Do, who is an Asian American.
And because the Arthur Ashe Jr. award is about diversity, he wanted to speak up.
“It has been tough the past couple of weeks just dealing with some of the things,” said Do, a 2017 Absegami High School graduate. “Just being able to have this sort of distinction, I don’t want to take it for myself. I want to show that there is representation in my community, and I hope that can inspire other generations and other people who might hesitate in sports because of certain stereotypes.
“I want people to be proud of who they are.”
Candidates for the Ashe award must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50, be at least a sophomore and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
Do participates in multiple outreach programs and clubs at Stockton, including the chemistry society and biochemistry society, going to local high schools and putting on demonstrations. With the cross country and track and field teams, he helps out at local marathons and Special Olympic events. He is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee at Stockton.
“I really don’t get too hyped up about it,” Do said. “I like putting the gratification more toward the interpersonal things. Like, if I know I’m making an impact on someone’s life or if I go out and help a teammate or help the community and they come back to me and say, ‘I really appreciate what you did.’ That means a lot more to me than this distinction.”
Stockton athletic director Kevin McHugh echoed that, saying he talked to Do at the NJAC Championships last month and all the senior cared about was that the award also sheds a light on Stockton rather than just praising himself.
“He is a kid that you couldn’t be happier for to receive this recognition,” McHugh said, “He is humble. He is a top-academic kid. He has been a contributor ever since he has got here. It just adds to the great kid that he is.”
Do earned New Jersey Athletic Conference first-team honors three times, including this season after a second-place finish at the NJAC Championships on March 20. Do holds the school records in the indoor 3000-meter run (8 minutes, 41.99 seconds) and outdoor in 5000 run (15:02.71).
Do has a perfect 4.0 grade point average with a major in biochemistry/ molecular biology, already earning a certification from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
“He is just an all-around outstanding individual,” Stockton cross country and track and field coach Jayson Resch said. “Just really caring for others. He is a good leader. He is personable. Just a big part of our program. It is outstanding to see him being recognized this way because he does embody the spirit of including everybody.
“There is no one on the team he thinks he is better than.”
Earning this honor is just like “living out my daily life,” Do said. That is the way he looks at all his awards he earned at Stockton. Do cares more about making an impact on the team or community.
That is indicative of his character, Resch said.
“There is no ego involved with him,” Resch said. “He really does care about everyone. He doesn’t talk about his accolades or how fast he is. He is there to help everyone produce. He is such a huge asset for our program.
“It (the honor) just really highlights what he has done. It highlights the uniqueness of who he is. He is just very special and unique. I don’t think we will have too many Dan Do’s come walking through the door.”
Do was also selected as the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars national sport winner for men’s cross country and track and field. He is the second Stockton student-athlete to be named a national sport winner. Meg Murzello, a senior on the softball team, won the award in 2019
Do is the only NCAA Division III athlete among the four national semifinalists. He is the first at Stockton, Resch said.
D’Eriq King (University of Miami, football), Paolo Marciano (Adelphi University, soccer) and Jeronimo Valdepena (California State University- San Bernardino, soccer) are the other semifinalists.
“It makes it that just more of a special accomplishment,” McHugh said. “It makes your heart feel so good when a young man or young woman like (Do) who just represents everything good about college athletics. You know he is going to be someone that will go on to be really successful and give back to society.
“He is unassuming and self-effacing.”
Do gives his parents — Thuy and Dung — a lot of credit for the person who he turned out to be. Both his parents came here from Vietnam and worked hard to provide him with the opportunities to be successful.
Do is expected to pursue a doctorate in food science at Ohio State University after graduating from Stockton. Last year, Do was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America All-America Academic third team and America Academic All-District 2 Team.
“Obviously, I just want to translate these sorts of opportunities back and kind of contribute positivity toward the community because a lot of things are going on in the worldwide scene right now that has a lot of people on edge and not comfortable,” Do said. “I just want to go out there and be the best human being I can be.”
Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217