Aug. 24, 2008
by Jeff Smith
[ONE // big ten impresses in olympic competition]
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games have come and gone and the Big Ten turned in quite a performance over the two-week span. Several current and former conference standouts represented a number of different countries and sports in Beijing. This past week, the Big Ten saw medal-winning performances by Illinois' Deron Williams, Indiana's David Neville, Michigan's Betsey Armstrong and Nick Willis, Minnesota's Lindsey Berg and Ohio State's Michael Redd to name a few. Williams and Redd both helped guide the USA men's basketball team back to the gold medal, while Smith did the same on the women's side. Neville captured the gold medal as a part of the USA's 4x400-meter relay team after earning a bronze in the 400 meters. To learn more about the other Big Ten medal winners, click on the corresponding dates from last week's Big Ten Daily Olympic Recaps: August 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24.
[TWO // big ten wrestler honored in beijing]
This past Friday in Beijing, former Wisconsin wrestler Lee Kemp was formally inducted into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame. The three--time World freestyle champion was in Beijing serving as an Olympic coach for the U.S. men's freestyle wrestling team. The former Badger enjoyed his first Olympic experience as his first Olympic bid would have come in 1980 as a participant, but the U.S. boycotted the Games instead. Officials from USA Wrestling were on hand to support Kemp's induction, which will proudly be displayed at National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Okla., and at the FILA Headquarters in Switzerland. Last February Kemp was profiled on bigten.org as one of Wisconsin's representatives for the conference's Black History Month campaign.
[THREE // let the 2008-09 season begin]
This past weekend marked the official start of the 2008-09 Big Ten sports schedule as 10 conference women's soccer teams played in their respective season openers. Several Big Ten programs had impressive 2007 campaigns as 10 of the 11 schools posted a record of .500 or better prior to conference play, and five teams advanced to the NCAA Championship, which tied for third-most in Big Ten history. Conference squads starting the season off on the right foot included Illinois (def. No. 22 Missouri, 2-1 OT), Iowa (def. Drake, 4-0), Michigan State (def. Oakland, 5-1), Minnesota (def. Northern Iowa, 5-0), Northwestern (def. Nebraska, 4-3) and Penn State (def. William & Mary, 3-1). Indiana (Dayton, 4-1), Michigan (No. 5 Notre Dame, 7-0), Purdue (Kansas, 3-0) and Wisconsin (UW-Milwaukee, 3-0) all fell in their respective 2008 openers.
[FOUR // penn state sits atop national volleyball poll]
Defending NCAA Champion Penn State leads a large contingent of Big Ten volleyball squads in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll. The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced last Tuesday that seven conference teams were ranked or receiving votes in the preseason poll, led by the top-ranked Nittany Lions. The top honor marks the first time since 1999 and the third time overall that Penn State has opened a season ranked first in the country. Wisconsin ranks 13th overall, followed by No. 16 Minnesota and No. 25 Purdue. Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State are each receiving votes outside the top 25.
[FIVE // honors continue for ncaa champion wildcats]
Congratulations to head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller and the Northwestern women's lacrosse team, as they continue to reap benefits stemming from their fourth straight national championship. Two weeks after being recognized for their accomplishments at a Chicago White Sox game, the Wildcats were honored this past Tuesday on the north side of Chicago at Wrigley Field. Prior to the Chicago Cubs' game against Cincinnati, Amonte Hiller threw out the ceremonial first pitch and then joined Wildcat players Christy Finch and Hannah Nielsen in the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.
[SIX // pair of women's hoops stars named to wade watch]
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced this past Tuesday that Michigan State junior center Alyssa DeHaan and Ohio State sophomore center Jantel Lavender are two of 25 women's basketball players on the preseason Wade Watch List for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year award. Last season Lavender became the first freshman in conference history to win not only the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award, but Player of the Year honors as well. She ended her first season as the Big Ten rebounding champ with 9.7 boards per contest, making her the first freshman ever to lead the conference in that category and the first Buckeye since Tracey Hall and Nikita Lowry in 1987-88. DeHaan has been the focus of the Spartans' offense since she arrived in East Lansing. The 6-9 shot blocker has set school, conference and NCAA records for blocks in her two years on campus, including the Big Ten's single-season blocks mark of 150 last season. The 2009 State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be announced at the WBCA National Convention held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four in St. Louis, Mo., April 3-7, 2009.
[SEVEN // former conference golfers making headlines on pga tour]
Former Illinois golfer Steve Stricker and Indiana's Jeff Overton made headlines this past week at The Barclays PGA Tour event in Paramus, N.J. In the first tournament of the 2008 FedEx Cup Playoffs, Stricker grabbed the lead after the second round in the 72-hole contest. The four-time All-Conference honoree from 1986-89 fired a 7-under-par 64 on Friday to take the lead into the weekend at 10-under. Stricker finished tied for 19th overall at 4-under 280 (68-64-77-71). Overton, a two-time All-American and former Big Ten Golfer of the Year, entered the final round tied for 11th, but a 3-over 74 put him tied for 38th overall at 283 (74-67-68-74).
[EIGHT // sports illustrated honors nittany lion football]
In last week's recap we helped spread the word to Michigan football fans that Sports Illustrated had made available a historic 80-page special edition magazine that highlighted just about everything in Wolverine football history. This week we learned that SI will also be publishing a magazine for Penn State football. "Penn State - A Celebration of Nittany Lions Football," which is available on newsstands now, breaks down the Top 20 Greatest Moments in Penn State football history, features a 2008 season preview, and profiles several former PSU All-Americans, such as Shane Conlan and Matt Millen. Wordsmith Rick Reilly also contributes to the magazine with an in-depth look at head coach Joe Paterno when the Hall of Fame coach was selected SI's Sportsman of the Year in 1986.
[NINE // cradle welcomes back pair of late big ten football coaches]
Speaking of Big Ten football coaches being honored, two former conference coaches will be enshrined in early October by the school that helped them get to the conference. Indiana's Terry Hoeppner and Northwestern's Randy Walker, both of whom were head coaches at Miami (Ohio) and have since passed away within the last two years, will be inducted into the Miami University Cradle of Coaches Association during the RedHawks' football game against Temple on Oct. 4, 2008. Walker and Hoeppner will be represented by their widows Tammy and Jane, respectively. Walker coached Miami from 1990-98 and was Miami's all-time winningest coach with a 59-35-5 record. He left in 1999 and led Northwestern to a 37-46 record and three straight bowl games before his untimely death in 2006. Hoeppner replaced Walker as Miami's coach and led the RedHawks to a 48-25 mark until the Hoosiers lured him away in 2004. During his second season in Bloomington, Hoeppner fell ill due to complications of a brain tumor, which ultimately took his life in June of 2007. Walker and Hoeppner will now join the infamous "Cradle" coaching fraternity that includes Big Ten names such as John Pont (Indiana, Northwestern), Bill Mallory (Indiana), Ron Zook (Illinois), Woody Hayes (Ohio State) and Bo Schembechler (Michigan).
[TEN // several big ten players and coaches set to talk football on btn]
The Big Ten Network announced Thursday its 2008 on-air football talent team, which is highlighted by several conference representatives. Returning for their second season on Big Ten Football Saturday is the lead studio team of Northwestern graduate Dave Revsine, former Indiana coach Gerry DiNardo and former Illinois running back and two-time Super Bowl champion Howard Griffith. The BTN also returns its top broadcast team, led by play-by-play man Thom Brennaman, analyst Charles Davis and sideline reporter Charissa Thompson. Joining veteran play-by-play announcers Wayne Larrivee, Mark Neely and Matt Devlin will be several analysts with Big Ten ties. Former Northwestern defensive back Chris Martin and former Minnesota head coach Glen Mason return and joining the BTN family this season will be former Purdue offensive lineman Ian Allen, former Iowa defensive lineman Anthony Herron, legendary Penn State wide receiver Kenny Jackson, and former Michigan tight end Tony McGee.
[ELEVEN // try the cookies coach]
Finally this week we end with a rather humorous football commercial put together by the Big Ten Network. We all know how important those recruiting trips are and especially the ones when our Big Ten coaches are sitting on the family room sofa looking that potential Heisman Trophy winner in the eye. We also know how important passing is to Purdue's Joe Tiller and how Illinois' Ron Zook is a fan or roses. But who knew Indiana's Bill Lynch and Michigan's Rich Rodriguez loved cookies? And who knew just how much JoePa really wants that star recruit. See it all for yourself by clicking here!