This Week in the Big Ten

Ohio State promoted Ty Tucker to Director of Tennis this past week, while Melissa Schaub was elevated to interim head women's tennis coach.

Aug. 5, 2012

[ONE // big ten well represented in london]
The Big Ten Conference has been well represented at the 2012 Olympics in London this past week, as conference representatives at one point were involved in 25 percent of the United States’ 31 medals.  Team USA has nearly doubled that total since, finishing the first week with a total of 60 medals.  Over the weekend, the Big Ten saw Indiana’s Derek Drouin qualify for Tuesday’s finals in the high jump, while former Hoosier Christina Loukas finished eighth on the 3-meter springboard on Sunday.  Michigan’s Nick Willis qualified for the 1,500-meter finals and Ann Arbor native Betsey Armstrong made 13 saves to push the U.S. to the water polo semifinals.  In volleyball, Penn State’s Megan Hodge and Christa Harmotto joined former Minnesota standout Lindsey Berg and future Gopher and current United States head coach Hugh McCutcheon to help Team USA finish undefeated in pool play.  Among other notables, Wisconsin’s Evan Jager scored a sixth-place finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday, which was the highest by a UW men’s track athlete since Lloyd LaBeach won bronze in the 100 meters at the 1948 Olympics, the last time the Games were held in London.  For continued coverage of the Big Ten’s participation in the Olympics, follow the Big Ten Olympics Blog by clicking here.  

[TWO // get on the bus]
For the sixth straight year, the Big Ten Football Preview Tour is set to hit the road.  The Big Ten Network’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will zigzag across Big Ten country to bring fans a 60-minute, on-site preview show from every Big Ten campus on the Big Ten Football Preview Tour, presented by Culligan. The BTN crew will travel over 3,000 miles, across the conference’s nine states, in a customized chartered bus branded with the BTN logo.  The first preview show will air at 10 p.m. ET on Aug. 9 with Iowa.  For a complete schedule of the Big Ten Football Preview Tour, click here.

[THREE // four teams in the first football poll]
The Big Ten was one of two conferences with four or more teams ranked among the top 16 in the USA Today coaches preseason poll. Michigan led the way for the Big Ten at No. 8 overall after finishing last year at No. 9 following a victory in the Sugar Bowl. Two-time defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin was rated No. 12 overall, followed by reigning Legends Division champion Michigan State at No. 13 and Nebraska at No. 16.

[FOUR // six to watch for horning]
Six Big Ten standouts were named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list, it was announced this past Thursday. The Hornung Award has been given annually to the nation's most versatile player since 2010.  The list of Big Ten players on the Hornung Award watch list include Illinois’ Tommy Davis and Terry Hawthorne, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Ohio State’s Jordan Hall, and Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis.

[FIVE // hendricks names five big ten players to watch list]
Five Big Ten players were named to the Hendricks Award watch list, it was announced this past Monday.  Since 2002, the Hendricks Award has been presented annually to the nation's premier defensive end. Big Ten players have claimed two Hendricks Awards, most recently with 2011 recipient Whitney Mercilus of Illinois. Michigan's LaMarr Woodley took home the honor in 2006.  The list of Big Ten players on the Hendricks Award watch list includes Illinois’ Michael Buchanan, Michigan’s Craig Roh, Michigan State’s William Gholston, Nebraska’s Cameron Meredith, and Ohio State’s John Simon.

[SIX // tune in for big ten volleyball]
Big Ten volleyball will be televised more than ever before this season, with at least 50 matches set to air on BTN and ESPN2. Each BTN broadcast will also be available at BTN2Go.  The first live BTN broadcast takes place on Saturday, Aug. 25, when defending national champion UCLA travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take on defending Big Ten Champion Nebraska at 7 p.m. ET. Starting Wednesday, Sept. 19, with Nebraska at Penn State, BTN’s fall lineup will feature a match every Wednesday and Friday evening through the beginning of November. Also built into the schedule are at least two wildcard dates in November, allowing BTN to select the most appealing matchups as teams vie for the Big Ten title.  Additionally, ESPN2 will televise three live contests this season. The first ESPN2 telecast will be on Sunday, Oct. 14, with Minnesota visiting Nebraska.  Click here for the schedule of live matches that will air on BTN, BTN2Go and ESPN2. Additional matches will be scheduled during the season for delayed broadcast as part BTN’s Student U initiative.

[SEVEN // success in the classroom for golfers]
Five Big Ten men’s golf teams were honored by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) this past week for success in the classroom over the course of the 2011-12 season.  Congratulations to Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue for being among the 125 teams that submitted GPAs of 3.00 or higher to earn All-Academic Team recognition.

[EIGHT // ty to the top]
Ty Tucker, head coach of the Ohio State men's tennis team, has been named director of tennis, Chris Schneider, OSU associate athletics director for sports administration, announced this past Wednesday. Tucker, the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Coach of the Year, will maintain his position as head coach of the men's team, while also providing oversight and assistance to the women's program.  Melissa Schaub, who was hired as the Ohio State women's tennis assistant coach in August 2011, will serve as the Buckeye interim head coach. Schaub is filling the position previously held by Chuck Merzbacher who was hired as the head coach of the Minnesota women's tennis team in July. Schaub will report to the director of tennis and is responsible for all aspects of the women's program. A search for an assistant women's tennis coach will begin immediately.

[NINE // stewart going the distance with illini]
University of Illinois men's track and field head coach Mike Turk announced this past Tuesday the hiring of Jake Stewart as cross country and assistant track coach. Stewart comes to Illinois after coaching a year on Purdue's men's and women's cross country/track and field staff. At Illinois, Stewart will take on the role of cross country coach for the fall season and lead the distance crew on the track in the winter and spring.  During his time at Purdue, he had success on the cross country course and on the track. In the fall, he led the men's cross country team to its best finish since the 2008 season.

[TEN // gophers 2 battle 4 atlantis]
The University of Minnesota men's basketball team will open the second annual Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Duke, tournament directors announced last Thursday. The Gophers and Blue Devils matchup is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. CT on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, from the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.  The Missouri Tigers and Stanford Cardinal will open tournament play at Noon, followed by Minnesota/Duke, Memphis vs. VCU at 6:00 p.m. and Louisville vs. Northern Iowa 8:30 p.m. All times are Central.  The entire Battle 4 Atlantis tournament will be televised live on AXS TV, formally HDNet, and NBC Sports Network. The Minnesota/Duke matchup is schedule to appear on AXS TV.  Minnesota and Duke will be meeting for the third time in each school's history, but the first time since the Gophers lost to the Blue Devils, 87-70, in the 1989 Sweet 16. Minnesota won the other matchup, 79-73, in the non-conference portion of the 1954-55 season.

[ELEVEN // chairing the committee]
The NCAA Executive Committee elected Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon as its next chair, it was announced Wednesday.  In her new post, which is effective immediately, Simon replaces Oregon State President Ed Ray, whose term on the Executive Committee expired at the end of the group's meeting on Wednesday. Simon's term as chair lasts through August 2014.  Simon was appointed to the Executive Committee in 2010. She has served as a member of the Division I Board of Directors since 2010 as well. Her terms on both the Board and Executive Committee expire in August 2014.  The 20-member NCAA Executive Committee is the Association's overarching governing body.  Simon was appointed the 20th president of Michigan State in January 2005. A Michigan State graduate, she began her career at MSU as the assistant director of the Office of Institutional Research (now Office of Planning and Budgets) after earning her Ph.D. in 1974. From there, she moved into a variety of administrative roles, including assistant provost for general academic administration, associate provost, and provost and vice president for academic affairs. She served as interim president in 2003.

[TWELVE // a sneak peek at the big ten’s new home?]
Finally this week, the Big Ten has been finalizing plans to move its headquarters from Park Ridge, Ill., to nearby Rosemont, located just a few miles away.  In an article posted Friday on the (Des Plaines) Journal Online, fans caught a sneak peek at what the new headquarters might look like.  As mentioned in the article, the Big Ten is currently working with Rosemont officials to secure exterior branding and signage for its new building.