Penn State's Taylor and Purdue's Bunch Named Big Ten Athletes of the Year
June 23, 2014
Penn State wrestler David Taylor was named the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year and Purdue track and field athlete Dani Bunch was tabbed the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, the conference announced on Monday. The pair of standouts have combined to record two individual national championships, four NCAA team titles, 13 All-America honors, nine individual Big Ten Championships and 10 individual postseason conference awards during their illustrious careers.
Taylor is the second Penn State student-athlete to win Male Athlete of the Year accolades, following gymnast Luis Vargas in 2005. Taylor received the 2014 Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top wrestler and was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for the third time in his career. He became Penn State’s first-ever four-time NCAA finalist and won his second NCAA individual title at 165, leading Penn State to its fourth-straight NCAA Championship in March. He also was named an All-American for the fourth time in his career and earned the NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler Award and the NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler laurel in 2014. Taylor leaves Penn State as a member of four NCAA and Big Ten Championship teams. He went 34-0 this season to end the year as the nation’s lone unbeaten Division I wrestler and closed out his career with a 134-3 record. His 97.8 career win percentage included an all-time Penn State best 53 pins, 42 technical falls and 30 majors. Taylor never lost in a dual meet and was a perfect 56-0 all-time against Big Ten competition. A four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Taylor was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2014.
Bunch becomes the sixth Purdue student-athlete to be voted the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year and first since golfer Maria Hernandez claimed the honor in 2009. During the 2013-14 school year, Bunch was a three-time first-team All-American, with a third-place finish in the weight throw and fifth in the shot put during the NCAA Indoor Championships and a fifth-place finish in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Bunch won the Big Ten Championship in the weight throw in March, the third of her career, to become the first Big Ten woman to win three weight throw titles. The fifth-year senior was runner-up in the Big Ten in the shot put and also scored in the hammer throw with a second-place finish. She was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year for the indoor season and swept the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Championships awards for the outdoor campaign. Bunch broke the school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, as well as in the weight throw. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Bunch leaves Purdue as a nine-time All-American.
Bunch and Taylor were among a field of heralded nominees for the annual conference honors that included nine individual national champions and three team national champions. The field included 22 All-Americans in 2013-14 that claimed a total of 36 All-America honors this season.
The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 when Indiana’s Jim Spivey earned the inaugural award. The conference first honored a Female Athlete of the Year in 1983, with Michigan State’s Judi Brown collecting the initial award. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.
The complete list of 2014 Athlete of the Year nominations, as well as the list of all-time winners for each award, can be found below.
2014 BIG TEN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
School Male Nominee Female Nominee
BIG TEN JESSE OWENS MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
BIG TEN FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS