The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features a Diplomat who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition.
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Student-athletes often have peaks and valleys in their collegiate careers and never has that been more evident than for Franklin & Marshall College baseball stalwart Dan Marano '19, who left a remarkable legacy despite disappointing downtime.
Injuries plagued the Diplomat first baseman in 2016, 2017 and 2019, but he fought through them to emerge as one of the most valuable players on the squad, which finished with an impressive 27-15 record in 2019.
Marano was the Rookie of the Year in the Centennial Conference (CC) in 2015 and was the CC Player of the Year in 2018. No other student-athlete in Centennial baseball history can make that claim.
He was All-CC First Team and an All-Region Third Team selection in both 2015 and 2018, before relying on a medical hardship to use his final year of eligibility in 2019.
The accolades defined the peaks of his collegiate career. The injuries marked the valleys.
"I broke my wrist halfway through my senior season and returned two weeks later for the end of conference play and playoffs," said the Diplomat co-captain from Maple Shade, N.J. "It was great to be back on the team.
"When you face injuries, you think of what goals can still be reached. I always enjoyed being on the squad, and when I was injured, I worked on supporting my teammates and helping to make us the best team we could be."
Marano had a dynamic junior year. He led the Centennial with a .411 batting average, and his 62 hits marked the third-highest single-season total in program history. He tied a Centennial record with a 6-for-6 hitting performance against Drew University April 19. Marano emphasized fielding his position, and in 2018, he did not make an error in 295 total chances. He registered 41 RBIs, 12 doubles and five home runs.
During his injury-plagued final season in 2019, he appeared in 30 games and hit for a .305 average. But he worked closely with head coach Ryan Horning and made sure he was the most productive teammate he could be.
"Dan will leave F&M as the winningest player in school history, and I can think of no better player or person to hold that title," said Horning. "The impact he has had on our program will last long beyond his time in an F&M uniform. He has pushed his teammates and coaches to not only work harder but to expect more of each other.
"He is one of the most unselfish players I have ever coached, constantly doing what's best for the group as a whole."
Marano is interested in community and public health-care issues. He said one of his most satisfying activities was holding leadership positions with the Student-Athlete Leadership Council (SALC), the College's version of the NCAA-mandated SAAC, which Marano served as president of during his senior year.
SALC organizes events to increase community involvement, raise funds and boost Diplomat pride.
"I enjoyed working in the Lancaster community," said Marano. "We had good interactions with local young people when they visited the campus."
Marano went on to be awarded F&M's coveted Garrigues Outstanding Senior Athlete Award, given for excellence in academics, sportsmanship, and on-field performance.
Despite his injuries, Marano put together a stellar four-year career as the program's all-time RBI leader with 113, while his 174 hits are good for second on F&M's list. He exits Lancaster in the top 10 of several additional categories, including batting average, games started, total at-bats, doubles, home runs, total bases, total defensive putouts, and double plays turned.
"During the recruitment process, I asked Dan what his goals were in college," recalled Horning. "The typical answer I get from recruits has something to do with statistical goals and/or playing time, but Dan's response was, 'I want to leave this program better than where I found it.' You don't hear 17-year-olds speak that way."
Marano says that he will leave F&M with wonderful memories.
"This was a great place for me," said Marano. "I wanted a competitive environment in academics and athletics, and I found that. On the field, we won a lot of games, and we were consistently among the best in the conference."
His mother, Wendy, is a public-relations professional with a hospital in Camden, N.J.; his father, Dominic, is a paralegal in Philadelphia. His sisters are Elizabeth and Justine. Marano plans on pursuing a career in health-care consulting or population health after leaving Lancaster.
After missing the equivalent of nearly an entire season due to injuries, Marano's mark on the Diplomat baseball program will be imprinted by his character, as much as it will be by his abundant talent and remarkable performance on the field. And there is little doubt that Marano's future after F&M will be defined more by its peaks, rather than its valleys.