June 20, 2010
[ONE // btn awards on the horizon]
The Big Ten Network released this past week nominees for its second annual Big Ten Network Awards show, which will honor the best of Big Ten sports in 2009-10. Categories include Breakout Performer of the Year, Most Dominating Performance, Best Finish, Men's and Women's Coaches of the Year, Men's and Women's Teams of the Year, and Game of the Year. Will Ohio State's Evan Turner win for Breakout Performer or might he take home Best Finish for his incredible buzzer beater to defeat Michigan at the Big Ten Tournament this past year? Will Illinois runner Angela Bizzari capture Most Dominating Performance for her NCAA Championship titles in cross country and track this season? Click here to view all the nominees and make sure to watch the show's debut, Wednesday, June 23, at 7 p.m. ET only on the Big Ten Network!
[TWO // nearly 40 all-americans in track and field]
A total of 37 Big Ten student-athletes, 17 men and 20 women, were named United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Americans on Tuesday as a result of top-eight finishes at last weekend's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Iowa led all men's honorees with five, thanks in part to its top-eight finish in the 4x400 meter relay on the final night of competition. The Penn State women were awarded nine All-America certificates, the most of any women's team in the Big Ten. Iowa's Steven Willey, along with Penn State's Aleesha Barber, Fawn Dorr and Shavon Greaves each earned two All-America honors at the championships. For a complete list of the 2010 honorees, click here.
[THREE // former spartan earns nba title]
Congratulations to former Michigan State guard Shannon Brown, who earned his second NBA championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday night in the NBA Finals. Throughout the playoffs, Brown was a regular contributor off the L.A. bench, averaging 4.9 points and 14.1 minutes in 23 playoff games, shooting 39.3 percent from the field. Last season Brown was the first Spartan to play for head coach Tom Izzo to win an NBA Championship ring, and the sixth in school history. He now joins legendary Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers - 1980, 82, 85, 87, 88) as the only former Spartans to win more than one NBA title. The other Spartans to win just one NBA Championship include Steve Smith (San Antonio Spurs - 2003), Matt Steigenga (Chicago Bulls - 1997), Sam Vincent (Boston Celtics - 1986) and Kevin Willis (San Antonio Spurs - 2003).
[FOUR // a spartan for life]
Speaking of Michigan State basketball, all eyes were on East Lansing this week (OK, maybe some were on Cleveland as well) as Tom Izzo declared he was remaining as the head coach of MSU despite an offer to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA. Said Izzo at an impromptu press conference earlier in the week, "When making a life decision, I owed it to myself and my family to do my due diligence. From that I never wavered. And I'm pleased to say I am here for life at Michigan State." We are too, Coach.
[FIVE // big ten represented at u.s. open]
Following Thursday's first round of the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, former Indiana standout and 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel sat atop the leaderboard with a 2-under-par 69. Following Sunday's final round of golf's second major, one of the Big Ten's brightest young talents concluded play tied for 16th, just eight shots back from winner Graeme McDowell. NCAA Champion and Big Ten Player of the Year Scott Langley of Illinois finished his first U.S. Open by posting a score of 8-over 292 (75-69-77-71), which included a 2-under 69 on Friday. Micheel was one shot behind Langley at 9-over 293 (69-77-75-72). Other Big Ten representatives concluding play at the U.S. Open included Northwestern's Luke Donald (71-75-74-78--298) tied for 47th, Illinois' Steve Stricker (75-74-77-73--299) tied for 58th, Indiana's Steve Wheatcroft (74-73-77-76--300) tied for 63rd.
[SIX // more all-america accolades for indiana's dickerson]
Three Big Ten baseball players, including conference Player of the Year Alex Dickerson of Indiana, were named Wednesday to the 15th Annual Pro-Line Athletic National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America Team. Dickerson earned first-team All-America accolades by the NCBWA, while Ohio State's Alex Wimmers was named to the second team and Penn State's Ben Heath took home third-team honors. In addition, Indiana's Dickerson was also named Wednesday as a third-team All-American by Baseball America.
[SEVEN // from state to state, beals gets new deal]
As the NCAA College World Series opened play this past week, the Ohio State Buckeyes decided a local Ohioan would be the next leader to help guide the baseball team back to the national finals. Greg Beals was named as the Buckeyes' next head baseball coach on Wednesday after serving in the same role at Ball State. He is just the third head baseball coach at Ohio State in the last 48 years and the 11th in 127 years of baseball at one of the nation's most comprehensive universities. The Springfield, Ohio native coached the past eight years at Ball State and led the school to three MAC West Division titles and the first MAC Tournament crown in school history. Beals succeeds the legendary Bob Todd, who announced his retirement a few months ago.
[EIGHT // bye bye blevins]
As we welcomed one new coach to the diamond this week, we said goodbye to a legend. After 31 years coaching softball at Iowa, Gayle Blevins announced her retirement on Thursday. The former Indiana and Iowa head coach, who was twice the National Coach of the Year, concluded her career with 1,245 wins - the second-most in NCAA Division I history - and guided the Hawkeyes to four Women's College World Series appearances. In addition, her Iowa teams won five Big Ten regular season championships, two Big Ten Tournament titles and made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances. Iowa was also selected to host eight NCAA Regionals during Blevins' tenure at Iowa. Gayle, thank you so much for your service at Iowa and in the Big Ten, and best of luck in retirement!
[NINE // big ten tennis duo named to usta team]
A pair of Big Ten men's tennis players were named Thursday to the 2010 USTA Summer Collegiate Team, administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Michigan freshman Evan King, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Ohio State's Chase Buchanan, the 2010 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, were selected to the 13-member team. The USTA Summer Collegiate Team is an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players, and provides the players with exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit. The top six American players from the season-ending ITA national singles rankings are eligible for automatic selections. The remaining players on each team were selected by USTA Player Development staff in conjunction with USTA National Coaches, and current collegiate coaches.
[TEN // honda hodge?]
Penn State women's volleyball outside hitter Megan Hodge was voted this week one of three finalists for the Honda-Broderick Cup, given to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year, and is set to find out if she has won the award on Monday. The finalists were chosen from previously announced Honda Sports Award winners in 12 different NCAA-sanction sports, by a vote from among more than 1,000 NCAA-member institutions. The Honda-Broderick Cup winner will be named at a special awards ceremony on June 21st at UCLA in Los Angeles. During her playing career, Hodge guided the Nittany Lions to three straight NCAA titles and a 102-match win streak, while being named a four-time AVCA First Team All-American and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year.
[ELEVEN // a true father's day for joe pa]
Finally this week, as we close out a special Father's Day, we highlight a true father figure in the Big Ten... Penn State's Joe Paterno. In his 44 seasons as head coach of the Nittany Lions' football team, Paterno has coached a remarkable 25 father-son combinations, some of which include more than one son, and several include uncles. And, of course, Paterno coached one of his sons, Jay, from 1986-89. Jay has been a member of the Nittany Lions' coaching staff in 1995. Check out this amazing list by clicking here!