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Penn State's John Urschel and Nebraska's Kelsey Robinson were named finalists for the Sullivan Award on Friday, which recognizes the nation's premier amateur athlete.

A 2013 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, Urschel garnered back-to-back first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2012 and 2013 and Academic All-District honors for three straight years. A team co-captain and a key component to one of the Big Ten's most productive offenses the past two years, Urschel claimed Associated Press third-team All-America honors. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten guard, Urschel paved the way for three straight 1,000-yard rushers and helped the Nittany Lions to winning seasons in all four years of his career.

Robinson played and started in all 33 matches for the Nebraska volleyball team, totaling 530 kills and averaging 4.45 kills per set for the 2013 season. She led the Big Ten in kills and points per set during the conference season and ended her senior year ranked ninth in hitting percentage, second in kills, and fifth in aces in the Big Ten. She was honored as the AVCA/Sports Imports Player of the Week and was named to the 2013 AVCA First-Team All-American and First Team North Region.

First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 17

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Dike Eddleman (Illinois, 1949) is the greatest all-around athlete in Illini history, earning a record 11 letters in the sports of football, basketball and track & field. He was a punter for the 1946 Big Ten football champions and played in the Rose Bowl Game, finished fourth in the high jump at the 1948 London Olympics and was the Big Ten MVP in leading the Illini to a conference basketball title in 1949. He played four seasons in the NBA and later became a fundraiser for Illinois' athletic department.

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 15

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At least 632 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients have also earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, including 308 three-time and 80 four-time honorees. Football has the most Academic All-Big Ten selections (132), followed by track & field (84), swimming & diving (69), basketball (61), tennis (37), gymnastics (35), cross country (34), soccer (32) and volleyball (30).

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 14

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During the Big Ten's celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, the conference will be featuring "Medal of Honor Mondays" for 12 consecutive weeks, which will highlight a number of Medal of Honor winners from each school. This week, we feature Indiana University. 

John Hammerstein (1996, football)
Hammerstein was Indiana's Big Ten Medal of Honor winner in 1996. He is the only two-time Academic All-American in Indiana football history, earning the honors following his junior and senior seasons. A four-year letterwinner, he started at defensive tackle his final three years and was team captain as a senior in 1995. After completing his undergraduate work in biology, Hammerstein attended the IU School of Medicine before completing his orthopedic surgery residency at Michigan State. Currently he is a spinal surgeon in Bloomington.

Jennifer Hsia (2001, tennis)
Hsia was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2001. She was a four-year letterwinner for Indiana and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She was a part of the Hoosiers' 1998 Big Ten Championship team. She graduated from Alabama's medical school in her hometown of Tuscaloosa and continued her studies at Washington and Stanford. She is an assistant professor and otolaryngologist at Minnesota, caring for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disorder breathing.

Steve Alford (1987, basketball)
Alford was Indiana's Big Ten Medal of Honor winner in 1987 after leading the Hoosiers to the NCAA Championship. He finished his career as Indiana's all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points, a record that held until 1993. Alford was a two-time All-American, a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and was named the Big Ten Most Valuable Player in 1987. He is still the Big Ten's career leader in three-point field goal percentage (.530), and ranks fifth overall in points and field goals (898). Alford, who also played in the NBA for four seasons before beginning his coaching career, was named UCLA's 13th head coach on March 30, 2013. As Iowa's head coach from 2000-07, he helped guide the Hawkeyes to seven consecutive winning seasons and six postseason appearances. He was inducted into the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997, and was one of 15 players named to Indiana's All-Century Team in 2001.

Chuck Thompson (1972, Swimming & Diving) and Gary Hall (1973, Swimming & Diving)
Indiana's Chuck Thomson and Gary Hall were both part of the Hoosier swimming & diving team that won six straight NCAA crowns from 1968-73. They are two of the 130 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients have been crowned NCAA team champions. Hall (1973) also won 10 individual conference titles, and was one of at least 280 Medal of Honor recipients have been crowned individual Big Ten Champions during their careers.

Matthew Winters (1915, Football/Baseball)
Winters, a football and baseball player at Indiana, was one of three inaugural Big Ten Medal of Honor award winners in 1915 that went on to become a physician.


 


 

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 12

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Many Big Ten Medal of Honor winners enter the coaching realm after their playing careers are through and a few have ended up at conference institutions, including at least four current Big Ten head coaches. Michigan field hockey coach Marcia Pankratz won the Big Ten Medal of Honor at Iowa in 1986, while three conference coaches presently coach at their alma mater - Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (1997, football), Purdue's Sharon Versyp (1988, women's basketball) and Wisconsin's Mike Eaves (1978, hockey).

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 10

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At least 14 Big Ten Medal of Honor winners have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as players, including honorees from eight different institutions. Honorees include Illinois' Jim Grabowski (1966), Iowa's Aubrey Devine (1922), Gordon Locke (1923) and Larry Station (1986), Michigan's Pete Elliott (1949) and Ron Johnson (1969), Minnesota's George Franck (1941) and Paul Giel (1954), Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (1997), Ohio State's Warren Amling (1947) and Ralph Gradishar (1974), Purdue's Bob Griese (1967) and Mike Phipps (1970) and Wisconsin's Pat Richter (1963).

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 8

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Two Big Ten Medal of Honor winners now work in Indianapolis media: Joe Staysniak (Ohio State, 1990, football) is a radio talk show host and Kevin Gregory (Purdue, 1987, tennis) has been a meteorologist for WRTV-TV since 1989. In his senior season with the Buckeyes, Staysniak was a first-team All-Big Ten offensive tackle and first-team Academic All-American. He was taken by the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 NFL Draft. Gregory was an All-Big Ten honoree and Boilermaker MVP in 1985 and 1986 and earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition.

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 6

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In 1914, the Big Ten commissioned sculptor R. Tait McKenzie to create the Big Ten Medal of Honor. A childhood friend of James Naismith (the inventor of basketball), McKenzie developed a love for athletics while studying to be a doctor at McGill University. He became involved in acrobatics, gymnastics, set a high jump record, ran hurdles, boxed, played football, and was on the tug-of-war team.  Throughout his medical career as a physician, surgeon and later professor of anatomy at McGill and as an owner of his own practice in Montreal, he became more and more interested in how physical exercise could be used as preventative medicine. As an escape he started sculpting athletes around 1900. As his work gained in popularity, McKenzie often participated as an exhibitor during the competition of fine arts at the Olympics. Before the Stockholm Games in 1912, the American Olympic Committee commissioned him to create a sports medallion. His Joy of Effort Medallion became one of his most famous works, and the Big Ten commissioned him to create the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1914. He later won a bronze medal in the reliefs and medallions category at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles for a work called the Shield of the Athletes.

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 5

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Illinois' Mike Hopkins, a 1992 recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, has acknowledged that he went to college mostly for one reason: To play football.  He had no way of knowing his education would take him as far as it has: 220 miles above the surface of the Earth. Hopkins is a flight engineer for the International Space Station, which launched alongside two Russian cosmonauts on Sept. 25, 2013, on a mission that ended this month (MARCH). That is a long way from the farm he was raised on in Richland, Mo. The astronauts performed around 200 experiments, however the most notorious might be what some have called "the world's greatest selfie." 

100 Days of the Big Ten Medal of Honor: Day 4

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A number of Big Ten Medal of Honor winners went on to become legendary coaches in their respective sports, including Bernie Biermann (Minnesota, 1916), who coached the Gophers to five national championships in football; Fritz Crisler (Chicago, 1922), longtime football coach and director of athletics at Michigan; John Wooden (Purdue, 1932), who led UCLA to a record 10 NCAA basketball titles; Bud Wilkinson (Minnesota, 1937), coach of Oklahoma football teams that won three national titles and compiled a 47-game winning streak; John Kundla (Minnesota, 1939), the first coach of the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers and later coach of the Gophers; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (Northwestern, 1986), and Tony Dungy (Minnesota, 1977), the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl while with the Indianapolis Colts.

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