June 13, 2008
by Jeff Smith
[ONE // several honored with the honor]
We start the week in review with the conference's oldest honor, which was awarded to 22 student-athletes Wednesday. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was established in 1914 when the conference endowed a Medal of Honor be given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. In 1982, the Medal of Honor was expanded to include a senior female athlete from each institution.
Fourteen sports, 13 All-Big Ten selections and 20 Academic All-Conference honorees were represented among these 22 winners: Illinois' J Leman (football) and Mary Therese McDonnell (women's soccer); Indiana's Thomas Richter (men's tennis) and Haley Exner (field hockey); Iowa's Mike Klinkenberg (football) and Meghan Armstrong (women's cross country and track and field); Michigan's Matko Maravic (men's tennis) and Lindsey Cottrell (women's soccer); Michigan State's Drew Neitzel (men's basketball) and Kate Burdick (women's rowing); Minnesota's C.P. Schlatter (wrestling) and Liz Podominick (women's track and field); Northwestern's David Roth (men's soccer) and Christy Finch (women's lacrosse); Ohio State's Daniel Mathews (men's volleyball) and Jenna Griffin (women's track and field); Penn State's Conrad Taylor (men's soccer) and Molly Crispell (women's swimming and diving); Purdue's Jared Armstrong (football) and Shauna Stapleton (women's soccer); and Wisconsin's Adam Barhamand (men's rowing) and Katrina Rundhaug (women's track and field).
[TWO // conference competing at ncaa track and field championships]
The 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships began this week with 93 conference standouts competing from all 10 schools. The championships, which conclude Saturday, will be televised by CBS's College Sports Network on Friday from 7-10 p.m. CT, while CBS will air the meet's final competitions live from 3-5 p.m. CT on Saturday. Real-time results can be found by clicking here.
[THREE // more than two dozen baseball stars taken in mlb draft]
This past week 26 Big Ten baseball players were selected in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft and a total of seven were taken in the first day. That day one success marked the highest number of Big Ten selections taken in the top six rounds in the past decade. The 26 overall selections marked the most for the Big Ten since 2005, when 27 players were drafted. Michigan and Purdue, who finished first and second, respectively, in the conference standings, led all conference schools with five draft choices each this year. Complete draft coverage of all Big Ten selections can be found by clicking here.
[FOUR // five big ten golfers at u.s. open; wolverine shares day one lead]
Five former Big Ten golfers took to Torrey Pines this week for the 2008 U.S. Open. Illinois' D.A. Points, Garrett Chaussard and Steve Stricker, Michigan's Justin Hicks and Northwestern's Luke Donald teed it up in first-round play on Thursday, and Hicks was the headline maker. The former Wolverine opened with a 3-under-par 68 to tie for the first round lead. Hicks had to qualify to get into the tournament and has yet to event record a top-25 finish on the Nationwide Tour, but the view had to be pretty nice Thursday night. Welcome to the U.S. Open, Justin.
Donald was tied for 12th after a first-round 71, while the Illini trio of Stricker (73, T-31st), Points (74, T-49th) and Chaussard (80, T-136) each carded rounds over par. Coverage continues on ESPN and NBC and live scoring can be followed on usopen.com
[FIVE // ten conference competitors named at-large academic all-americans]
This week 10 Big Ten student-athletes were honored for their performance in the classroom and on the competitive field by being named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America. The 10 standouts, named to the at-large teams, included first-team selections: Indiana's Drew Allenspach (golf), Michigan's Eric Tannenbaum (wrestling), Michigan State's Jeff Lerg (ice hockey) and Kate Burdick (rowing), Northwestern Hilary Bowen (lacrosse) and Penn State's Molly Crispell (swimming). Second-team honorees were Michigan's Valeria Silva (swimming), Ohio State's Jake Bateman (gymnastics) and Penn State's Max Lipsitz (volleyball), while Northwestern's Andy Long (swimming) garnered third-team accolades.
[SIX // from bob to bottom]
This past Tuesday the Michigan Wolverines hired Mike Bottom as their new men's swimming head coach, making him just the ninth head coach in the program's 87-year history. Bottom replaces longtime head coach Bob Bowman, who announced his resignation in April. The Wolverines' new mentor has a resume full of collegiate and international coaching experience, having spent 17 years in the collegiate ranks and instructed at each of the last three Olympic Games. In the past three Olympiads, nine of the 18 medals awarded in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events have been won by Bottom's swimmers. In the year leading into the 2004 Olympics, six of the world's top 10 50-meter sprinters were coached by Bottom.
At the NCAA level, Bottom has mentored individuals in every stroke to 17 national titles and attributes much of his coaching knowledge to studying under legendary Indiana head coach Doc Counsilman. Bottom's most recent stint in college coaching was a 10-year tenure at California as co-head coach.
[SEVEN // welcoming a new wildcat]
This week also marked the arrival of another new Big Ten coach as Northwestern announced the hiring of Joe McKeown as the Wildcats' new women's basketball coach. McKeown spent the past 19 years as the head coach at George Washington and recently became the 34th head coach in Division I history to pass the 500-victory mark. He brings 509 career victories, a total which ranks 21st on the active Division I list, to Evanston. McKeown's .745 winning percentage (509-174) ranks 13th among active NCAA women's coaches (minimum five years) and 12th all-time in women's coaching history (minimum 10 years). His 19 20-win seasons are tied for 16th place on the NCAA all-time list. In his 19 seasons at George Washington, McKeown compiled a 441-154 record, with his 1997 squad reaching the Elite Eight.
[EIGHT // former wolverine now a hoosier]
While we are in the mood of welcoming new coaches to the league, we take time to welcome back one of the Big Ten's own. Former Michigan softball standout Michelle Gardner was introduced Monday as the new Indiana softball head coach. Gardner comes to Bloomington after spending the previous six seasons at the University of Nevada, where she was recently named 2008 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Coach of the Year. She guided the Wolf Pack to a school-best 44-18 overall record and the program's first conference title. While competing at Michigan from 1984-88, Gardner was a standout on the mound and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior.
[NINE // badgers' kemp heading to hall]
Congratulations to Wisconsin legend Lee Kemp, who learned this week that he will be inducted into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame on Aug. 21 during this summer's Olympics in Beijing. The three-time NCAA champion, who was featured as a part of the Big Ten's Black History Month campaign back in February, wrestled at Wisconsin from 1975-78 and still holds the school record for most career falls (47) and career winning percentage (.957). Kemp said in the Black History Month feature that not being able to compete in the 1980 Olympics due to the U.S. boycott of the Games was one of his biggest regrets. This summer he will have his chance as he will serve as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic Freestyle team.
[TEN // weather wreaks havoc on hoosiers' football field]
We begin to close up the week in review by looking back on the past week's severe weather that has plagued the majority of Big Ten Country. In Bloomington, flood waters destroyed the Hoosiers' football field in Memorial Stadium as water is believed to have drained under the school's AstroPlay turf and washed away most of the stones and sand that make up the base surface. In fact, a sinkhole measuring 6-by-10 and 2-feet deep formed in the south endzone. Officials are estimating the damage to cost between $750,000 to $1 million. Indiana opens the football season Aug. 30 at home against Western Kentucky.
[ELEVEN // helping hawkeyes]
Finally this week, the severe weather not only pounded the region with 100-year floods, but also developed several tornadoes that touched down in a number of Big Ten states. In Iowa, twisters devastated towns such as Parkersburg, but Hawkeye football coach Kirk Ferentz and 40 of his players made sure they were there to help clean up.
"When you look at this, where do you start," senior-to-be defensive tackle Mitch King said, pointing to a row of demolished homes. "Today is not about Iowa football but about the people in this community."
The conditions forced several summer camp cancellations on the Hawkeye campus as well. Camps for football, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis, wrestling and gymnastics were canceled due to area flooding.
It has been a trying week for the communities within the Big Ten's eight-state region. Here's hoping next week provides weather that cooperates for all the affected communities that have been torn apart over the past two weeks.