Carl Cole was a successful athlete, a successful student and, now, a successful attorney. Along the way, the support of Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., has helped him make the right decisions.
Cole attended TROY in the 1990s on a track scholarship, but it was his performance in the classroom that caught the eye of Hawkins.
“As a sophomore, I got chosen for political science student of the year, and I think that’s how I showed up on his radar screen,” said Cole, who was named Attorney of the Month last year by Attorney at Law Magazine’s Northern Alabama Edition. “Later, I was in the leadership seminar, and in the leadership seminar they assign you a mentor. I was lucky enough to get Dr. Hawkins.”
Early in his college career, the Decatur-based attorney had set his sights on athletic achievements. But before long, he began leaning toward a career practicing law, something he achieved with help and guidance from Hawkins.
“Going to law school was one of the big things. When you have recommendations from Jack Hawkins, John Schmidt and Jim Lima, you’re doing pretty good,” Cole said. “The whole TROY family connection is what got me into law school. Before law school, he arranged for me to meet Troy King, who was assistant attorney general at the time. He got me a summer internship before law school.”
Today, Cole is renowned across the state for representing professional athletes, popular recording artists and major corporations, but he still picks up the phone and calls one man when he needs some advice or a different perspective on a situation.
“Ever since (college) I’ve always tried to run big decisions by him or include him in some way,” Cole said. “I live four hours away so don’t see him in person very much, but any chance I have I always want to speak with him. There’s a fundamental reason for that. He’s a sounding board, and I think everybody that knows him or has been around him understands the leadership qualities that he possesses, and sometimes you feel like u can maybe absorb some of that through osmosis just being around him.”
Cole doesn’t consider his relationship with Hawkins unique.
“I bet there are a thousand former students that feel the way I do about Dr. Hawkins and feel like they are so close to him,” he said. “That’s really a testament to him more than it is to us as students. He is one of those unique individuals that has a way of affecting everyone around him for the better. I don’t think I’m unique in that.”