June 14, 2009
[ONE // the conference's newest recipients of its oldest honor]
The Big Ten announced the recipients of its oldest honor this past Wednesday, awarding 22 Medal of Honor winners. The award was established in 1914 when the Big Ten endowed a Medal of Honor to 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. This year, 22 student-athletes representing 14 sports were chosen for the award. The recipients include 16 All-Big Ten selections and 21 Academic All-Big Ten honorees. In addition, six Medal of Honor winners were named Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees for their respective sports during the academic year and the 22 selections garnered a total of four Big Ten Championships and two Big Ten Tournament titles during the 2008-09 campaign. For a complete look at the 2009 Medal of Honor winners, click here.
[TWO // women's track & field season comes to an end]
Seven Big Ten women's track and field teams finished in the top 30 at the NCAA Championships this past weekend, while three conference standouts claimed gold in their respective events. Michigan (28 points) led the league in seventh place, followed by Illinois (18) and Penn State (17) in 12th and 14th, respectively. Minnesota placed 18th with 14.5 points, while Michigan State and Purdue tied for 20th with 13 points. Indiana finished 29th with 10 points. Michigan seniors Genna Gall and Tiffany Ofili each captured first place individually, along with Illinois' Angela Bizzarri. Gall paced the field in the 800-meter run in 2:00.80, Ofili won the 100-meter hurdles in 12.96, and Bizzarri captured the 5,000 meters in 16:17.94. Other notables included runner-up finishes by Michigan State's Nicole Bush (9:40.49) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Indiana's Vera Neuenswander (4.30 meters) in the pole vault, Purdue's Kara Patterson (57.96 meters) in the javelin, and Minnesota's Liz Roehrig (5,892) in the heptathlon.
[THREE // big ten men's squads conclude season as well]
Five Big Ten men's track and field squads concluded their seasons at the NCAA Championships this past weekend with Illinois and Minnesota leading the pack in a 37th-place tie with seven points each. Purdue recorded four points for 52nd, followed by Ohio State in 56th with three points and Michigan in 62nd with two points. Individually, three conference student-athletes posted top-five finishes. Illinois freshman Andrew Riley placed fifth in the 110-meter hurdles (13.83), Minnesota junior Aaron Studt was fifth in the shot put (19.27 meters), and Purdue junior Adetayo Adesanya also placed fifth in the high jump (2.20 meters).
[FOUR // thirty big ten standouts taken in mlb draft]
Thirty Big Ten baseball players were selected in the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, held June 9-11, marking the Big Ten's highest total in at least the last decade. The conference also produced multiple top-50 picks for the first time since 2002 and a first-rounder for the first time since 2004. Indiana's Eric Arnett became the conference's first first-round selection since Minnesota's Glen Perkins in 2004, going to the Milwaukee Brewers with the 26th overall pick. The Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Year is the second Hoosier in history to be drafted in the first round. Each Big Ten baseball program had at least one player taken in the draft, while Indiana led the conference with seven picks and Minnesota was second with six selections. Click here for a complete list of Big Ten selections in the MLB Draft.
[FIVE // northwestern's bowen leads handful of big ten women as academic all-americans]
Congratulations to five Big Ten female student-athletes who learned this past Thursday they were named to the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's At-Large Teams. The Women's At-Large program for Academic All-America includes the sports of bowling, crew, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, skiing, tennis and water polo. Leading the Big Ten contingent was Northwestern senior All-American Hilary Bowen of the undefeated NCAA champion women's lacrosse team, who was named the Academic All-America of the Year award winner. In addition to Bowen, Indiana diver Christina Loukas was named to the first team, while Minnesota swimmer Jenny Shaughnessy earned second-team honors. Indiana rower Emily Kasavana and Liana Bonanno of Ohio State hockey were both third-team selections.
[SIX // big ten golfers well represented on ping all-america teams]
Thirty-three men's golfers learned of their selections to the PING All-America teams on Monday and three of those players represented the Big Ten. Congratulations to Indiana's Jorge Campillo on another first-team selection, and to Illinois' Scott Langley and Penn State's Kevin Foley on their second and third-team honors, respectively. Honorable mention awards were given to Michigan teammates Lion Kim and Alexander Sitompul and Ohio State's Bo Hoag as well.
[SEVEN // darr named next buckeye golf coach]
Speaking of Ohio State men's golf, the conference welcomed new Buckeye head coach Donnie Darr to the conference this past weekend. Darr, who is just the 10th men's golf coach in the 88-year history of the program, returns to his home state from national powerhouse Oklahoma State, where he served as assistant coach for the last three seasons. Prior to Oklahoma State, Darr gained experience as the head coach at the University of Akron in 2005-06 and alma mater Kent State.
[EIGHT // a change at top for northwestern swimming]
And with the introductory of one conference coach, we say goodbye to another. After 20 seasons in Evanston during which he transformed Northwestern men's swimming and diving into a legitimate national player, Bob Groseth announced his retirement this past week as the head coach of the NU program. As of Sept. 1, 2009, Groseth will become the interim Executive Director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). The Wildcat coach began his coaching duties at Northwestern in 1989, taking over a team that finished last in the Big Ten in each of the 11 seasons prior to his arrival. Under his watch, Northwestern had a five-year stretch from 2004-08 in which it was a top-12 team in the nation in each season, peaking with a modern era-best sixth-place finish in 2007. As for Northwestern's future, current assistant coach Jarod Schroeder will be promoted to head coach of the men's swimming and diving program to replace Groseth.
[NINE // big ten network asks fans for voting help for awards show]
In what proved to be a fitting conclusion to the school year last season, the Big Ten Network will once again present the top honors of the 2008-09 campaign with the Big Ten Network Awards Show. The annual show will take place this upcoming Friday, June 19, at 9 p.m. ET. Over the past week, however, fans have been encouraged to log on to bigtennetwork.com to vote for the Big Ten Men's and Women's Coach of the Year, as well as the Best Big Ten Finish. Click the link above to participate!
[TEN // big ten socializing with big ten country]
This past week the Big Ten found an official home on Facebook, the social networking site that has revolutionized how people keep in touch. You can become a fan of the Big Ten's page below to get updates from happenings in the conference and at your favorite schools. In addition, the conference also has a presence on Twitter, the microblogging site that allows for quick distribution of interesting bits of information and allows for easy interaction as well. Check out the new Facebook page here or send us a message on Twitter at @BigTenConf.
[ELEVEN // the loss of a golden gopher]
Finally this week, we learned of the passing of Minnesota Golden Gopher legend Billy Bye, who died in a boating accident last Friday. He was 81. Bye starred in the backfield as the Gophers' halfback from 1946-1949 and was the team MVP in 1946. He led Minnesota in rushing during the 1946, '47 and '49 seasons and still ranks 18th all time in school history in career rushing yards with 1,784. Bye had recently been selected to serve as one of the Gophers' honorary captains for the inaugural football game in TCF Bank Stadium against Air Force on Sept. 12.