Here at Tomahawk Nation, we’re lucky to have ourselves a fine group of learned people who are able to help shape, produce, and elevate the content we put out here covering Florida State athletics.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that there’s a human behind the words — we’re here to fix that. Each week, we’ll be giving some insight into the people that make TN’s engine purr.
Up next, the Queen of our women’s sports coverage for Tomahawk Nation, Gwyn Rhodes.
What was the deciding factor in your decision to attend FSU in Tallahassee?
I grew up a Florida State fan and it was pretty much destined for me to attend FSU.
My dad went to USF at a time when they didn’t have football, so he adopted FSU as his favorite team and ever since then the ‘Noles have been a big part of our lives.
When I was born, the baby hat my parents put on me was one with the old logo on it.
My parents also still have my FSU cheerleading uniform that I had when I was a kid.
Who is your all-time favorite FSU football player?
Nick O’Leary hands down.
I have no real reason for that, but when I started to like sports and cared more about football when I was younger, I decided he was my favorite player.
I have a signed framed photo of Nick that my parents got me. It came from an auction item my dad bid on, I knew he had done it, but didn’t know until I opened it at Christmas that he had won it. I also had him on my birthday cake one year.
Him mowing down a Clemson defender is a move that will live on in infamy.
Which Seminole highlight makes you the happiest when you watch it?
The final out from softball’s Women’s College World Series title in 2018.
The way they had to play the entire postseason, almost with their backs against the wall mentality, and to come out on top was amazing. At that point, we were the first team to lose on the first day and go through the loser's bracket to win.
Plus, it being the first national championship for softball at Florida State and the ACC was really cool.
Which was the most memorable FSU game you witnessed live, at Doak or elsewhere as a visitor?
Clemson in Doak in 2016 was absolutely wild to see live. One of the most controversial games not only for FSU football, but the FSU/Clemson rivalry.
I can remember Dalvin’s run like it happened yesterday, where he made it 21-20.
The penalties during the final parts of the game seemed to cause the most stress in my life at that moment. Even though we lost that game, it was a great game and one of Dalvin’s best. Everything you want from an FSU/Clemson game.
Not part of the question, but my most memorable in a negative way was the walk off kick UNC had against us at home to break up our home winning streak.
I was sitting in the Champions Club and watched the 50 plus yard kick sail through the uprights. And subsequently watch the kicker do the chop while running down the sidelines. Wish I could erase that from my mind.
What was your major at FSU and what is your current occupation?
I studied Sports Management when I went to FSU. Since graduating in 2020 I’m getting my Masters in Athletic Leadership at Clemson and currently working in college athletics at UNC Asheville in life skills and student-athlete development.
During my time in college, I spent summers as an intern at UNCA. Throughout my 4 years at FSU we played UNCA in baseball and volleyball at home, so it was so cool to see everyone in Tallahassee when I could.
A fun fact is FSU women’s basketball alum Ivey Slaughter just got hired as our assistant women’s basketball coach and when I found out I had a major fan moment.
What was your favorite on-campus spot or in Tallahassee, when you were a student?
The on-campus Chili’s, rest in peace.
What is your favorite non-football FSU sports moment?
Since I already talked about softball, I think my second favorite moment outside of football would be the walk off against LSU that the baseball team did in 2019.
Two of my favorite Nole baseball players, Drew Mendoza and Mike Salvatore being the two to make that moment happen was so cool.
The moments after it happened, we were able to see 11 celebrating his last supers and knowing it would be his last trip to Omaha was so fun to watch. The call was amazing too, it gave the moment to the team but made an emphasis on Mike Martin, and the dynasty he built.
I don’t think you would hear a call like that, which was such a tip of the cap from the announcers, for any other coach.
The best version of the walk off I’ve ever seen was someone setting it to the music from Titanic.
What is your favorite non-FSU sports moment?
The Kick Six from the Iron Bowl in 2013.
Not because I like either of the Auburn Tigers or Alabama, but I remember that specific moment was what made me really realize how much I really like sports.
I don’t even know if I watched the full game, I think I caught the tail end of it. But that was the first sports moment I saw that was such a big deal and remember how cool it was that Auburn was able to beat their rival like that.
That moment is what sports fan love the most I would say, the complete elation that comes with a huge win and the passion for a team.
"AUBURN'S GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!"— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 30, 2020
Seven years ago, the legend of the "Kick Six" was born. pic.twitter.com/7w96kF6KDz
Plus, I am someone who really enjoys the call on a big moment, and that is one of the best.
If it couldn’t be FSU, which college team would you root for?
This is a hard question for me sometimes. I don’t really see myself having the fan connection to another school’s team the way I do FSU. Plus, some people think that answer is Clemson Tigers for me since that’s also my school, but I really only follow their softball team.
However, my answer would be Arkansas Razorbacks since I really like their gymnastics team and a few other sports. I always find myself rooting for them when they’re in the postseason in whatever sport.
Which pro teams are you a fan of, if any?
Baseball, I’m a huge San Francisco Giants fan.
I’m trying to get more into hockey. The Tampa Bay Lightning is my team since I’m from Tampa originally.
NFL is the Carolina Panthers, but since my family are big Bucs fan, and the hometown connection, I find myself rooting for them sometimes too.
For the NBA I’m not really a big basketball person outside of FSU, but if I had to pick it would be the Charlotte Hornets.
If you could’ve played for FSU, what position would you have played and what number would you have worn?
I feel like I would want to be a softball player, just because that’s my favorite sport to watch and what I enjoyed most when I did play in high school. When I played, I was left field so I guess that would be what I stuck with.
I don’t have a lucky number or anything, and no connection to one either. I’m inclined to say I’d stick with my high school number, which was 21 for every sport I played.
Tell Tomahawk Nation something unique about yourself?
I don’t think this is really unique but just something that I really love doing when I get the opportunity. Whenever I have the chance and am in the right town or area, I really enjoy going on other school’s campuses.
I recently took a trip to Virginia and wasn’t too far from Blacksburg, so I walked and drove around VT.
On my way home the next day I drove through Winston-Salem and walked around Wake Forest.
One of my favorite times I’ve done this is when I tagged along with my dad a few years ago to Nashville, he had work to do in town. Our hotel was a block away from Vanderbilt and I didn’t have transportation, so I took it upon myself to spend my days on campus. It was probably the hottest days I’ve ever had to experience since it was mid-August, but it was so much fun, and I really got my steps in. I was able to catch a preseason women’s soccer game too which was a bonus.
Whenever I go to any of these schools when I have no reason to really be there (i.e., sporting event), and I’m just there for fun, I like to get a little souvenir. I didn’t get anything from VT or Wake, but I did get something from Vandy.
I would like to thank Gwyn for her contributions to Tomahawk Nation and our women’s sports coverage over the years, and for sharing her FSU experiences with the Tomahawk Nation Community.
Please check out these other previously published Up close with the Tomahawk staff.