This Week in the Big Ten

Former Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne concluded his last day of duty in Lincoln this past Friday and is now officially retired.

Former Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne concluded his last day of duty in Lincoln this past Friday and is now officially retired.

June 30, 2013

[ONE // hoosier, golden gopher earn big ten’s top honor]
The Big Ten announced this past Wednesday that Indiana track and field athlete Derek Drouin was named the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. He is the first five-time high jump national champion in NCAA history. The conference also announced that Minnesota ice hockey player Amanda Kessel was honored as the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. She earned national player of the year honors after leading her team to an undefeated season and its second straight NCAA title.  Drouin is the fifth Indiana student-athlete to win Male Athlete of the Year accolades and first since football’s Anthony Thompson in 1990. Drouin began his senior year at the 2012 London Olympics, where he claimed a bronze medal in the high jump to become the first Canadian male to medal in a track and field event since 1996. Collegiately, Drouin was named the National Indoor and Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year after winning both NCAA high jump titles, becoming only the second student-athlete to win both honors in the same season.  Kessel is just the second Minnesota student-athlete to be voted the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year, following swimming and diving’s Gretchen Hegener in 1997. The Gopher junior won the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the nation’s top player, becoming just the second player to win the award in program history, and helped Minnesota to an undefeated season and its second consecutive national championship in 2013.

[TWO // and the other winners are…]
In addition to Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Minnesota’s Amanda Kessel, several other Big Ten standouts earned annual awards from the Big Ten Network this past Wednesday.   The sixth annual “BTN Awards Show” recognized nine other winners, including Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Minnesota’s Brad Frost as respective Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year.  Indiana men’s soccer was tabbed as the Men’s Team of the Year, while Minnesota hockey garnered the women’s award.  Key game and individual performances were also celebrated.  The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament contest between Michigan and Kansas was selected Game of the Year, while Illinois’ home upset over top-ranked Indiana took home Best Finish honors.  The Hoosiers’ Victor Oladipo was named Breakout Performer of the Year, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball earned Most Dominating Performance of the Year accolades, and Purdue’s Drey Mingo was recognized with the Most Courageous Performance award.  For a complete look at the award winners, plus interviews with each honoree, click here.

[THREE // ready for the biggest stage]
Five former Big Ten standouts were selected in the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, including four first-round choices. Three former student-athletes were selected among the first nine picks, the most of any conference, and it marked the first time three conference players were picked in the top 10 since 1990.  Indiana's Victor Oladipo was the first conference athlete chosen, going to the Orlando Magic at No. 2. It is the second time in four seasons a Big Ten player was among the draft's top two picks, following Ohio State's Evan Turner in 2010. Hoosier teammate Cody Zeller was picked fourth by the Charlotte Bobcats.  Michigan's Trey Burke was the ninth overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves before his draft rights were traded to Utah. Burke's teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. was picked 24th overall by the New York Knicks, giving the Big Ten four first-round selections for the first time since 2007. Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas rounded out the drafted Big Ten standouts after being selected 58th overall by the San Antonio Spurs.

[FOUR // ready to play for usa]
Three Big Ten standouts were among the 12 players selected this past Friday to the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team.  Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey and Michigan State’s Adreian Payne will depart for Russia on July 1 and represent Team USA at the 2013 World University Games men’s basketball competition that will be played July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia.  Indiana is the only school with two players on the final roster.

[FIVE // a new year holiday]
The Holiday Bowl will enter a new era in 2014 as it begins a six-year partnership with the Big Ten Conference and extends its current relationship with the Pac-12 Conference for six years, bowl officials announced this past Monday.  The Holiday Bowl will have the second pick from the Pac-12 after the College Football Playoff structure per selection guidelines established by the Conference. The Big Ten team will be determined after discussion between bowl and conference officials to create the best possible matchup.  The Holiday Bowl, televised on ESPN, currently matches the second selection from the Pac-12 with the fourth selection from the Big 12, after BCS matchups. The 2013 game, which will celebrate its 36th year, is set for Monday, Dec. 30 with a 7:15 p.m. PT kickoff. Tickets go on sale to the general public Aug. 12th.

[SIX // hungry for more]
In addition to the Holiday Bowl, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten will face each other in the Bay Area's postseason bowl game beginning in 2014. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl announced this past Monday six-year agreements that will establish a new partnership with the Big Ten and significantly improve the Bowl's selection rights in the Pac-12. Both pacts will run from 2014 through 2019. Effective with the new matchup, the Bowl will be played in the new 68,500 seat Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, future home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers and site of the Super Bowl in 2016. The Big Ten is undefeated in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, with a victory by Illinois in 2011.

[SEVEN // a successful spring]
Big Ten schools enjoyed considerable success during the spring sport season highlighted by a national team championship in rowing (Ohio State). Conference teams won numerous individual titles, including rowing (Ohio State’s first varsity four and second varsity eight), men’s tennis (Ohio State’s Blaz Rola) and men’s and women’s track & field (Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Illinois’ Ashley Spencer). The spring season also featured runner-up finishes in men’s golf (Illinois), a third-place effort in women’s golf (Purdue), semifinalists in men’s tennis (Ohio State) and women’s lacrosse (Northwestern), a baseball team advancing to the College World Series (Indiana) and two softball squads in the Women’s College World Series (Michigan and Nebraska). Overall during the 2012-13 academic year, six Big Ten schools combined for seven team national championships (Indiana men’s soccer, Michigan men’s gymnastics and men’s swimming & diving, Minnesota women’s ice hockey, Nebraska bowling, Ohio State rowing and Penn State wrestling), along with four runner-up finishes (Illinois men’s golf, Michigan men’s basketball, Penn State women’s soccer and Wisconsin men’s cross country).

[EIGHT // head of the class]
Thirteen Big Ten student-athletes were named this past week to the Capital One Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country Team, with Indiana's Andy Bayer being named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. Four other standouts joined Bayer on the first team, with Michigan's Rebecca Addison, Minnesota's Quentin Mege, Nebraska's Bjorn Barrefors and Wisconsin's Elliot Krause earning recognition. Five schools garnered one first-team All-American, and a complete list can be found by clicking here.

[NINE // husker mentors best in the midwest]
The Nebraska softball coaching staff, led by head coach Rhonda Revelle, was named the 2013 Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday.  It marks the third time Revelle and her staff have been honored with the award, having also earned the distinction in 1998 and 2002. The Huskers advanced to the Women's College World Series in May and finished eighth in the national rankings at season's end and finished the year with a 45-16 mark.

[TEN // softball’s newest boilermaker]
A big Big Ten welcome is in store for Kim Schuette, who led Eastern Illinois to Ohio Valley Conference championships in 2011 and 2013 and was named the third head coach in Purdue softball history this past Monday. Schuette has spent the last eight seasons with the Panthers, compiling a 232-191-1 record, while boasting a 256-219-1 mark in nine overall seasons as a head coach. The 2011 and 2013 OVC Coach of the Year kept Eastern Illinois among the top half of the conference each of her eight years, including spots among the top four seven times, the regular season titles in 2011 and 2013 and a runner-up finish in 2012.

[ELEVEN // nothing small about this feat]
Congratulations to Illinois’ head men’s golf coach Mike Small, who tied for fourth at the PGA Professional National Championship on Wednesday to earn a berth in the 2013 PGA Championship August 8-11 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. The top 20 finishers qualified for the year's final major championship, and Small recorded rounds of 69-70-72-72—283 in the event. It will be Small's ninth appearance in a PGA Championship field and his 12th major championship, as he also has played in three U.S. Opens. He has made the cut at three PGA Championships: 2011, 2007 and 2005, and was the low PGA club professional at the 2011 and 2007 PGA Championships.

[TWELVE // thanks for the memories, tom]
Finally this week, we wish nothing but the best to former Nebraska Athletics Director Tom Osborne, who officially concluded his tenure in Lincoln this past week.  Before he left, Osborne had a chance to sit down and reflect on his lasting legacy in a Q&A posted on huskers.com.  His time in Lincoln, the state of Nebraska, and the entire college sports landscape, has provided us several wonderful memories that will not soon be forgotten.