Feb. 7, 2010
[ONE // big ten star captures conference’s second straight super bowl mvp honor]
What is the adage… Big Life, Big Stage, Big Ten? Once again a Big Ten standout shined on football’s grandest stage Sunday night as former Purdue QB and current New Orleans Saints signal caller Drew Brees captured the Super Bowl XLIV MVP award. The honor marks the second straight year a Big Ten player has earned the league’s top honor, Pittsburgh’s Santonio Holmes (Ohio State) garnered the accolade last year. Brees was 32-of-39 passing for 288 yards and two TDs, while his former in-state rival Tracy Porter of Indiana clinched the Saints’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts with a 74-yard TD interception return in the fourth quarter. What other former Big Ten players shined in Miami? Check out Brent’s Blog on BigTenNetwork.com for more.
[TWO // sign right here]
National Letter of Intent Signing Day took place this past Wednesday and Big Ten universities announced their newest incoming classes for 2010. Click here to check out each school’s Signing Day announcement or check out the Big Ten Network’s coverage of all 11 schools’ classes. The Big Ten Network, led by Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith, Chris Martin and Glen Mason, spent 90 minutes Wednesday night evaluating the conference’s newest recruits on the "Football Signing Day Special."
[THREE // former buckeye lebeau gets nod to the hall]
Congratulations to former Ohio State football star Dick LeBeau, who was named Saturday as one of seven members named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. LeBeau starred at cornerback and halfback under Woody Hayes and helped lead the Buckeyes to the 1957 national title. He went on to snag 62 interceptions with the Detroit Lions from 1959-72. Following his pro career, LeBeau became what many critics feel as one of pro football’s great defensive innovators as a coach. LeBau is currently the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
[FOUR // big ten celebrates black history month]
Monday marked the beginning of the Big Ten’s Black History Month celebration, which was highlighted by in-depth features on Illinois football great J.C. Caroline, Iowa basketball star Felicia Hall Allen, Michigan softball standout Marissa Young, Minnesota football legend Bobby Bell and recent Northwestern basketball grad Ifeoma Okonkwo. The Black History Month website also features stories on the conference's first African-American student-athlete--Moses "Fleetwood" Walker--and arguably the most famous track and field athlete of all-time in Jesse Owens.
[FIVE // taking to the charity stripe for charity]
Big Ten men’s basketball was on the “Big Stage” Saturday as ESPN GameDay broadcasted live from Assembly Hall prior to the Illinois and Michigan State matchup, which the Illini won 78-73. But it was another contested Illinois-Michigan State matchup that created a buzz Saturday afternoon. Illinois’ Bruce Weber challenged Michigan State’s Tom Izzo to a battle of 10 free throws, with the losing coach promising to raise a minimum of $5,000 per missed shot through appearances for the Coaches vs. Cancer charity. Izzo captured the title missing only one free throw in a contest that was recorded by this YouTube user. This video shows the camaraderie between the two coaches and the sportsmanlike conduct that is expected throughout the league.
[SIX // three hoops leaders named class award finalists]
Three Big Ten basketball standouts were among 20 student-athletes named Wednesday as finalists for the 2009-10 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. On the men’s side, Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan and Purdue’s Chris Kramer made the list, while Penn State’s Tyra Grant was named on the women’s side. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition. These three conference stars are now placed on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award basketball ballot for a nationwide vote that ends March 22.
[SEVEN // celebrating national girls and women in sports day]
Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten was proud to be an active participant in the 24th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), celebrated around the country this past Wednesday. Several conference schools celebrated NGWSD at home women’s basketball games this past week. Click here to learn more about how each school promoted the annual NGWSD event.
[EIGHT // hitting the links]
The 2010 Big Ten women’s golf season began this weekend with six Big Ten teams in action. Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin opened the spring slate against some of the top teams in the nation at the 54-hole Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the Coco Beach Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The Boilermakers are the defending champion and Indiana’s Laura Nochta was the individual medalist in 2009. After 18 of 54 holes play, Purdue sits four shots back in third at 296, followed by sixth-place Wisconsin at 302, Indiana in eighth at 304, Northwestern tied for ninth at 306, Michigan in 12th at 309, and Penn State in 16th at 319. Purdue’s Thea Hoffmeister owns the individual lead with an impressive first-round score of 66.
[NINE // stars of the diamond]
Congratulations to Michigan outfielder Ryan LaMarre and Ohio State pitcher Alex Wimmers, who were named Preseason All-Americans by Baseball America on Friday. Wimmers was tabbed a second-team selection, while LaMarre was named to the third team. LaMarre comes off a sophomore season in which he was named a second team All-Big Ten selection after leading the team with a .344 batting average, 62 runs batted in and 55 runs scored while finishing second in home runs with 12. Wimmers is coming off a sophomore campaign that included a 3.27 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched en route to a 9-2 record in 16 starts.
[TEN // badgers top wolverines in outdoor hockey contest]
In front of a school-record crowd of 55,031 screaming fans, the No. 3 Wisconsin men’s hockey team (16-7-4) defeated the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (16-13-1) Saturday in the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic. The victory -- which happened in front of the second-largest crowd to ever watch a collegiate hockey game -- came on a pair of third-period power-play goals by junior defenseman Brendan Smith.
[ELEVEN // the passing of a spartan olympian]
Finally this week, the Big Ten and Michigan State mourn the passing of the Spartans’ lone individual Olympic swimming gold medalist, Clarke Scholes, who died Friday at the age of 79. Scholes joined MSU in 1950 and captured five NCAA Championships and three Big Ten titles throughout his career. Following his tenure at MSU, Scholes won a gold medal in the 100-meter free at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. His time of 57.4 was an Olympic record and edged Japan's Hiroshi Suzuki for the gold medal.