Aug. 12, 2013
[ONE // on the road again]
The BTN fall bus tour is on the road again, hitting Big Ten Country to preview the upcoming football season. This past Monday, the BTN bus rolled in to Bloomington to check out Indiana, and then hit the road the next two days to get a look at Ohio State and Penn State. The fall tour brought the BTN to the state of Michigan at the end of the week, putting the spotlight on Michigan and Michigan State. The bus continues on to Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota this upcoming week, and then concludes the trip at Nebraska and Iowa on Aug. 19-20. Catch up with the BTN for a full recap, tweets, and pictures from each campus by clicking here.
[TWO // a commissioner’s welcome]
A new addition to the Big Ten football preview this year is the presence of Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who has been attending each campus to meet school officials and get an up-close look at the conference’s football squads. At Indiana, Commissioner Delany was given a customized No. 25 jersey and helmet to celebrate his 25th year as the league's commissioner, as was the case at Illinois as well. On Friday, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio presented Delany a game ball commemorating his 25 B1G years. Delany also traveled to Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State this past week, and his stops have been chronicled on Twitter via the hashtag #B1GDelanyOnCampus and here on BigTen.org.
[THREE // big ten pair on hendricks watch list]
Two Big Ten football 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. The list of conference players on the Hendricks Award watch list includes Michigan State's Marcus Rush and Northwestern's Tyler Scott. 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. For the complete watch list, click here.
[FOUR // big ten represented at pga championship]
Former Illinois Fighting Illini golfer Steve Stricker led a host of Big Ten representatives this past week at the PGA Championship – golf’s final major of the season. Stricker (68-67-70-73—278) finished tied for 12th overall, followed by fellow Illini alum D.A. Points (73-70-72-69—284), who tied for 40th with Tiger Woods. Illinois’ Luke Guthrie (71-71-69-74—285) placed one shot back. Northwestern great Luke Donald (71-74—145), Illinois head coach Mike Small (76-76—152), and Indiana alum and past PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel (76-76—152) struggled in the event and missed the cut.
[FIVE // eleven soccer standouts named among nation’s top 100]
Eleven Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the Top Drawer Soccer Women's National Top 100, which was unveiled on topdrawersoccer.com from Aug. 1-5. The top-ranked individual student-athlete was Illinois midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, who was tabbed the nation's No. 3 player. DiBernardo was named to the All-Big Ten first team during her junior campaign in 2012. Penn State, the Big Ten's defending regular season champion, had a conference-high five players earn top-100 recognition. For a complete look at where all 11 Big Ten players ranked, click here.
[SIX // a new leader for penn state baseball]
Rob Cooper was selected this past Friday to guide the Penn State baseball team as head coach, it was announced by Penn State Director of Athletics Dr. David Joyner. Cooper, who comes to Penn State after spending the last nine seasons as the Wright State head coach, is the 14th coach in the 125-year history of the Nittany Lion baseball program. After taking over a team that had six losing seasons in a seven-year span, Cooper built Wright State into a perennial contender in the Horizon League with seven 30-win seasons, two Horizon League regular-season titles, three Horizon League Tournament crowns and six Horizon League Championship game appearances.
[SEVEN // former baseball hoosier making news]
The 2010 Big Ten Baseball Player of the Year has now been named the Eastern League’s Player of the Month, it was announced by baseball’s minor league this past week. Former Indiana University star Alex Dickerson batted .413 (43-for-104) with 10 doubles, six home runs, 27 RBI and 23 runs scored in 26 games with the Altoona Curve, the Double-AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was named the Eastern League Player of the Week two times during the month of July as well.
[EIGHT // a no-no for a former wildcat pitcher]
Speaking of former Big Ten standouts turning in impressive outings in the minor leagues, hats off to former Northwestern hurler Eric Jokisch, who threw his first career no-hitter as he halted the lengthy 11-game winning streak of the Jacksonville Suns. Now a member of the Tennessee Smokies, the Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. He threw 108 pitches and struck out eight Suns to earn his ninth victory of the season. In April, the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year was named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month. He currently leads the Southern League with 114 strikeouts and ranks third with 128.2 innings pitched this season. To catch a glimpse at the no-no, follow this link to NUsports.com.
[NINE // super day of hoops to precede super bowl in nyc]
Much will soon be made about “New York” hosting the first-ever outdoor Super Bowl in a winter climate next February, but credit the New York sports world for adding to an already impressive sports weekend. On Feb. 1, the eve of Super Bowl, Michigan State will take part in a basketball tripleheader at historic Madison Square Garden. USA Today reported this past Thursday that the Spartans will play Georgetown in the second of three solid basketball games, which includes St. John’s hosting Marquette in the morning and the NBA’s New York Knicks welcoming reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat. According to USA Today, the basketball extravaganza is being dubbed "Super Saturday Hoops" and is set to be televised on Fox Sports 1. Official times have not been announced yet.
[TEN // michigan men reach milestone]
The University of Michigan athletic department announced this past week the retirement of two longtime Michigan men, who both spent their entire careers behind the scenes. Bruce Madej, the longest serving Sports Information Director in the history of U-M (1982-2010) and now the school’s Associate Athletic Director for Special Projects, announced Wednesday his retirement effective June 30, 2014. At that time, Madej will complete 34 years of service to Michigan Athletics. The following day, Frank Beckmann, the legendary voice of University of Michigan football and a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, announced his retirement effective the conclusion of the 2013 football season. Beckmann began calling play-by-play for the Wolverines in 1981. He is only the second person to handle play-by-play duties for the flagship network broadcast of Michigan football in the past 65 years.
[ELEVEN // diving into retirement]
Speaking of retirements, there was a significant one announced at Michigan rival Ohio State this past week as well. Vince Panzano announced his retirement as head coach of the Ohio State diving team last Monday. Panzano, who coached 12 NCAA champions, 23 U.S. national champions and 59 Big Ten champions since taking over the program in 1978, was the longest tenured coach with 35 years of service at Ohio State. In his 40 years as a Division I coach, Panzano has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 23 U.S. diving champions, 13 NCAA champions, 17 NCAA runners-up, 59 Big Ten champions and 92 All-Americans. Panzano also has coached Ohio State and McDonald's Diving to six national team titles. He has had divers on six of the last seven Olympic teams.
[TWELVE // a goodbye to gene the dean]
Finally this week, in a week where we welcomed a new Penn State head coach and said goodbye to other legends in Big Ten athletics, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the recent passing of Gene Wettstone. The former Penn State men's gymnastics coach, who holds the NCAA record for most team championships in that sport, passed away last week at the age of 100. During his 36 seasons at Penn State, Wettstone's gymnasts won 35 individual national titles and three Nissen-Emery Awards as the nation’s top gymnast. Often considered the "Dean of Collegiate Gymnastics," Wettstone was also known as the “Nittany Lion” on campus as he was credited for reviving the school’s mascot in 1939. According to the Associated Press, Wettstone attended college at Iowa, where he won a Big Ten title on the pommel horse and high bar, and in the all-around as a senior in 1937.