This Week in the Big Ten

July 11, 2010

[ONE // ready for the hall]
This past week the Big Ten saw several articles published on its three former student-athletes who will be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame, July 16-17.  Iowa’s website offered a look into the career of Larry Station, while did the same regarding Ohio State’s Chris Spielman.  Penn State’s Curt Warner will also represent the conference in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009. Warner set 42 school records as a running back for the Nittany Lions from 1979-82, including the career rushing mark of 3,398 yards which still stands. He helped lead Penn State to its first national championship in 1982 and was a two-time All-American. Station played linebacker for the Hawkeyes from 1982-85 and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time All-American, including earning unanimous honors in 1985. Spielman also manned the linebacker spot for the Buckeyes from 1984-87. He was a three-time All-Big Ten choice and two-time All-American, including unanimous selection in 1987.

[TWO // handful for the u.s. hardwood]
The Big Ten learned Thursday that USA Basketball had named five conference players to the USA Men's Select Team, more than any other conference in the nation. Illinois' Mike Tisdale, Northwestern's John Shurna, Ohio State's William Buford, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer were named to the 20-player roster that will train against the 2010 USA Basketball Men's National Team during its July 19-24 training camp in Las Vegas.

[THREE // golf greats]
Ten Big Ten men’s golfers were named Thursday as Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars, it was announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America.  Illinois’ Scott Langley, Iowa’s Brad Hopfinger and Vince India, Michigan State’s Jack Newman, Northwestern’s Jonathan Bowers and Joshua Depont, Ohio State’s Bo Hoag, Brad Smith and Brad Wright, along with Purdue’s Erich Johnston were among 119 Division I golfers to earn the honor. To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least two full years at the collegiate level, participate in 70-percent of his team’s competitive rounds or compete in the NCAA Championships, have a stroke-average under 76.0, be of high moral character, and be in good standing at his college or university.

[FOUR // scholar golfers]
And just like the men, several women’s golfers were honored this past week for their achievements on and off the golf course.  The National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar Teams were announced Monday with 15 conference golfers earning accolades.  Congratulations to Illinois’ Nora Lucas, Iowa’s Gigi DiGrazia, Michigan State’s Caroline Powers, Lindsey Solberg and Natalie Brehm, Northwestern’s Alexandra Lederhausen, Innapha Tantanavivat, and Kelsey Lindenschmidt, Ohio State’s Amy Meier and Rachel Rohanna, Penn State’s Brianna Malcomson and Katherine Murphy, Purdue’s Thea Hoffmeister and Wisconsin’s Lindsay Danielson.  The criteria for selection to the All-American Scholar Team includes maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 competing in at least 50 percent of the team’s regularly scheduled competitive rounds during the year. 

[FIVE // big ten reps vie for u.s. open]
Five Big Ten women’s golfers competed this past weekend in the 2010 Women’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.  Former Big Ten Athlete of the Year Maria Hernandez of Purdue paced all conference golfers with a 72-hole score of 300 (76-73-75-76) to tie for 41st, while Allison Fouch, a 2004 graduate of Michigan State, finished 54th with at 304 (74-74-80-76).  Failing to make the 36-hole cut was Indiana’s Michele Redman (1988) at 155 (73-82), Purdue’s Numa Gulyanamitta (Current) at 156 (81-75) and Michigan State’s Laura Kueny (2010) at 164 (83-81).

[SIX // stricker sensational]
Staying on the golf links, last week we talked about the success Illinois’ standout Scott Langley and his coach Mike Small had on the golf course.  This week it was all about Illinois alum Steve Stricker, who scored a win on the PGA Tour Sunday at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.  Stricker blazed through the first 54 holes in record-setting fashion and completed the weekend with a two-shot victory at 26-under-par 258 (60-66-62-70).  Following Saturday’s 62, Stricker’s total score of 25-under 188 marked the best 54-hole score in PGA Tour history.  He also had the best three-round score in relation to par and fell just four strokes shy on Sunday of setting the all-time 72-hole mark.  In addition to Stircker’s success on Sunday, it was good news for a pair of former Hoosiers.  Indiana’s Shaun Micheel finished fourth at 19-under 265 (69-66-63-67) and Jeff Overton found out he was added to the field of next week's British Open by virtue of his position in the Official World Golf Ranking.  Overton is 2-for-2 in making the cut at the major, including a magical run at Turnberry in 2009 when he tied for 13th.

[SEVEN // all-star “swish” ready to swing for fence]
Former Ohio State Buckeye and current New York Yankee Nick Swisher won the All-Star Final Vote this past week and is headed to Anaheim for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, Tuesday, July 13. Swisher had the all-time campaigning day in Final Vote history on Wednesday, bar none. Using baseball's most-followed Twitter account (1,220,890 followers) to his advantage, he sought out and got endorsements from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, actress Jessica Alba and "The Apprentice" co-star Ivanka Trump (among others). Then that night he was a triple shy of the cycle in leading the Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Athletics.  Swisher, who is averaging .298 to go along with 14 homers, 48 RBIs and 52 runs, will also compete in Monday’s Home Run Derby.  The American League All-Star Team will be managed by Swisher's current manager and former Northwestern catcher, Joe Girardi.

[EIGHT // speaking of swinging for the fences…]
Former Penn State catcher Ben Heath was invited Monday to the inaugural TD AMERITRADE College Home Run Derby, which took place this past Wednesday at historic Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Heath was unable to participate due to his current professional obligations as the Houston Astros’ fifth-round draft pick is currently playing with the Tri-City ValleyCats, where he is hitting .262 with an OPS of .918 on the strength of three homers and seven RBI. Heath led the Nittany Lions in most every statistical category in 2010: average (.369), home runs (19), RBI (57), runs scored (53), doubles (16), extra-base hits (36), total bases (148) and slugging percentage (.747).

[NINE // american boy]
Congratulation to Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, who was named Wednesday to Baseball America's Freshman All-America team.  Plawecki completed the 2010 season with a .343 average, .384 on-base percentage, .529 slugging percentage with 70 hits, 8 home runs, 53 runs batted in and 36 runs.

[TEN // going the distance]
A fond farewell is in order to University of Michigan men's cross country head coach and men's track and field associate head coach Ron Warhurst, who announced Wednesday that he is retiring after mentoring the Wolverine distance runners for 36 years. He has been with both the cross country and track and field programs since 1974.  Warhust led the Wolverines to consecutive Big Ten Conference championships in his first three years as head coach (1974-76). His teams went on to win additional conference titles in 1980 (tie), 1997 and 1998, and won NCAA District titles in 1997 and 2007 (tie). His 1997 and '98 cross country teams claimed NCAA trophies with fourth-place finishes at the national meet. Twelve of his 36 cross country teams finished among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships with 39 of his runners earning All-America honors along the way. He also coached four Big Ten Cross Country Freshmen of the Year and five Big Ten Cross Country Athletes of the Year.  More recently, Warhurst coached his distance runners to six NCAA titles from 2003-05.

[ELEVEN // officers in charge]
Finally this week, the Big Ten Conference office announced the new officers of the Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) for the 2010-11 academic year, which became effective July 1.  Indiana University President Michael McRobbie will serve as chair of the COP/C. Purdue University President France A. Córdova will serve as First Vice Chair and University of Iowa President Sally Mason will serve as Second Vice Chair. These three individuals also serve as the Executive/Compensation Committee for the Big Ten Conference.  In addition to the three university representatives, Big Ten Conference Commissioner James E. Delany is an officer of the COP/C, along with Associate Commissioner Jen Heppel, who serves as the Council's Secretary, and Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia, who is the Council's Treasurer.