Jan. 18, 2009
[ONE // big ten, buckeye gymnasts take to the mat]
This past Thursday the Big Ten and its men’s gymnastics coaches voted Ohio State as the conference’s preseason favorite and named 12 gymnasts to the Preseason All-Big Ten team. The third-ranked Buckeyes, who finished third at last year’s conference championship, were followed by Illinois, Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa in the preseason poll. A complete season preview of each conference squad, highlighted by the 2009 Preseason All-Big Ten selections, can be found by clicking here.
[TWO // wildcats find new field hockey coach]
In finding its next field hockey head coach, Northwestern did not have to look very far. In fact, the Wildcats found their top pick with conference ties. Tracey Fuchs, the former associate head field hockey coach at Michigan as well as the current head coach of the United States Junior National field hockey team, was introduced Thursday as the next Northwestern leader. Fuchs helped guide the Wolverines from 1996-2003 and 2005-2008 and has a storied past as a player and a coach USA Field Hockey, which was highlighted in a bigten.org feature in 2006 for the 25th Anniversary of Big Ten Women’s Championships campaign.
[THREE // tickets available for big ten wrestling championships]
Penn State announced this week that beginning Monday, January 19, tickets will be on sale for the 2009 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, which will be held in State College, March 7-8. Full tournament (all session) packages are $30 for adults and $15 for students/youth. Fans can purchase tickets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday beginning Jan. 19 either by phone (814-865-5555) or at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. After boasting the top-three finishing teams at the 2008 NCAA Championship, the Big Ten currently has nine of its 11 teams ranked in the top 25.
[FOUR // tickets on sale for inaugural baseball challenge]
Speaking of tickets, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission announced Wednesday that passes for the inaugural BIG EAST-Big Ten Baseball Challenge are now available. Fans can log on to BIGEASTBigTenChallenge.com or call 410-472-3500 for ticket information. An all-tournament pass, which provides access to all 27 games of the Challenge, can be purchased for $10. Individual venue passes are available for $5. Read more about the Challenge and additional ticket packages by clicking here.
[FIVE // ticket special extended for women’s basketball tournament]
In a week where the Big Ten announced ticket specials for upcoming wrestling and baseball events, the conference also extended its special $45 all-session ticket promotion for the 2009 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament. The $20 discount, which was originally scheduled to end on Monday, January 19, will now run through Saturday, Jan. 31. All-session tickets will then be available at the regular price of $65. The women's tournament returns to Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse March 5-8, 2009.
[SIX // gophers go on the road… and go big]
This past Thursday both the Minnesota men’s and women’s basketball teams captured monumental victories on the road. The Golden Gophers’ women’s team recorded a 59-56 victory at No. 15/13 Ohio State, marking Minnesota’s first-ever win in Columbus after 23 previous attempts. On the men’s side, head coach Tubby Smith led his Gophers back from a 14-point deficit to pull out a 78-74 overtime victory at Wisconsin. The outcome marked the Maroon and Gold’s first win in Madison since February of 1994. The Gophers then ended the week with another noteworthy performance, however this one came on the losing end. Northwestern upset No. 18 Minnesota 74-65 in Evanston for the Wildcats’ first victory against a ranked opponent since Feb. 8, 2006.
[SEVEN // “mo pete” heads to the rafters]
The Michigan State men's basketball program raised another jersey to the rafters prior to Saturday’s game against Illinois, as former All-American Morris Peterson’s No. 42 is now enshrined in Spartan lore. Peterson, who helped lead Michigan State to the 2000 National Championship, earned All-America and Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a senior in 1999-2000. The seventh-ranked Spartans gave “Mo Pete” a thrilling game to watch as well, as MSU topped Illinois 63-57 for its 11th straight win and 28th consecutive victory at home.
[EIGHT // big ten tennis represented atop national rankings]
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association recently announced the preseason men’s and women’s national rankings and the Big Ten is represented atop each poll. The Ohio State men’s squad and the Northwestern women’s team are each ranked first in their respective top-75 polls. On the men’s side, Illinois and Michigan were listed 15th and 16th, followed by No. 31 Wisconsin, No. 38 Penn State, No. 44 Indiana and No. 60 Iowa. In addition to the Wildcats’ women’s team, Michigan rated 19th, Indiana and Ohio State were 30th and 32nd, and Illinois was 37th. Iowa begins the season 51st, followed by No. 63 Minnesota, No. 65 Michigan State and No. 66 Wisconsin.
[NINE // conference soccer standouts drafted to the next level]
Five former Big Ten men’s soccer players were taken in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, including two standouts in the first round. Michigan’s Peri Marosevic was selected fifth overall by FC Dallas, while Indiana’s Kevin Alston was picked 10th by the New England Revolution. In the second round, the San Jose Earthquakes took Indiana’s Brad Ring 17th and the Kansas City Wizards drafted Michigan State’s Doug DeMartin 22nd overall. The Big Ten’s final selection came at No. 59 when the Colorado Rapids took Michigan’s Michael Holody.
[TEN // colts say goodbye to big ten grad, hello to another]
The Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers earned their invitations to the Super Bowl late Sunday, but it was another NFL team that made news that tied back to the Big Ten earlier this week. On Monday, former Minnesota standout Tony Dungy retired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Dungy, who was profiled as part of the Big Ten’s Black History Month campaign two years ago, spent seven successful seasons in Indianapolis and became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl in 2007. Another Big Ten graduate, Jim Caldwell, was named Dungy’s successor on Tuesday. Caldwell was a four-year starter as a defensive back at Iowa in the mid-1970s and served as an assistant at Northwestern (1981) and Penn State (1986-92).
[ELEVEN // purdue pilot makes quite the splash in new york]
Finally this week, we keep with the theme of highlighting prominent Big Ten alumni. Now, before this past Thursday, Chesley B Sullenberger III was “just another” captain for US Airways. But when both engines failed on his New York to Charlotte flight, the Purdue Masters graduate guided his Airbus A320 to an impressive – and safe – emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. Sullenberger earned his Masters in Psychology (Human Factors) in 1973 where he studied human/machine interface and human performance issues. We think it’s safe to say that Sullenberger’s actions, which saved 155 lives Thursday, were that of super-human performance.