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.


School                          Male Nominee                                                  Female Nominee
Illinois                    Jesse Delgado (wrestling)                     Jannelle Flaws (soccer)    
Indiana                   Joey DeNato (baseball)                        Brooklynn Snodgrass (swimming & diving)
Iowa                       Tony Ramos (wrestling)                        Natalie Cafone (field hockey)
Michigan                  Connor Jaeger (swimming & diving)       Joanna Sampson (gymnastics)
Michigan State          Darqueze Dennard (football)                Allyssa Ferrell (golf)
Minnesota                Ellis Mannon (gymnastics)                    Lindsay Mable (gymnastics)
Nebraska                 Miles Ukaoma (track & field)                 Emily Wong (gymnastics)
Northwestern            Jason Tsirtsis (wrestling)                       Alyssa Leonard (lacrosse)
Ohio State               Logan Stieber (wrestling)                      Catherine Shields (rowing)
Penn State               David Taylor (wrestling)                        Deja McClendon (volleyball)
Purdue                    Raheem Mostert (track & field/football)  Dani Bunch (track & field)
Wisconsin                Michael Lihrman (track & field)              Alex Rigsby (ice hockey)

1982 - Jim Spivey, Indiana, track and field/cross country
1983 - Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 - Sunder Nix, Indiana, track and field
1985 - Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling
1986 - Chuck Long, Iowa, football
1987 - Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball
1988 - Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball
1989 - Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball
1990 - Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football
1991 - Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming
1992 - Desmond Howard, Michigan, football
1993 - John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics
1994 - Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball
1995 - Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming
1996 - Eddie George, Ohio State, football
1997 - Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics
1998 - Charles Woodson, Michigan, football
1999 - Luke Donald, Northwestern, golf
2000 - Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football
2001 - Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 - Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 - Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis (co)
2003 - Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling (co)
2004 - Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling
2005 – Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics
2006 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming
2007 – Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling
2008 – Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling
2009 – Jake Herbert, Northwestern, wrestling
2010 – Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 – David Boudia, Purdue, diving
2012 – Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 – Derek Drouin, Indiana, track and field
2014 – David Taylor, Penn State, wrestling

1983 - Judi Brown, Michigan State, track and field
1984 - Lisa Ishikawa, Northwestern, softball
1985 - Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1986 - Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track
1987 - Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, field hockey/lacrosse
1988 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1989 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1990 - Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, track and field/cross country
1991 - Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving (co)
1991 - Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball (co)
1992 - MaChelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball
1993 - Lara Hooiveld, Michigan, swimming
1994 - Kristy Gleason, Iowa, field hockey
1995 - Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball
1996 - Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing
1997 - Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, track and field (co)
1997 - Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, swimming (co)
1998 - Sara Griffin, Michigan, softball
1999 - Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue, basketball
2000 - Lauren Cacciamani, Penn State, volleyball
2001 - Katie Douglas, Purdue, basketball
2002 - Christie Welsh, Penn State, soccer
2003 - Perdita Felicien, Illinois, track and field
2004 - Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball
2005 – Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball
2006 – Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, soccer
2007 – Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball
2008 – Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern, lacrosse
2009 – Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf
2010 – Megan Hodge, Penn State, volleyball
2011 – Shannon Smith, Northwestern, lacrosse
2012 – Christina Manning, Ohio State, track and field
2013 – Amanda Kessel, Minnesota, ice hockey
2014 – Dani Bunch, Purdue, track and field