Dec. 13, 2010
Jim Abbott, Michigan (1986-1988)
Baseball - Pitcher
One of the most decorated student-athletes in Michigan history, Jim Abbott spent three seasons with the Wolverine baseball team from 1986-1988. Born without a right hand, Abbott went on to see success at the collegiate and professional levels as a left-handed pitcher. Despite being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school, the Flint, Mich., native chose to play on the collegiate level, leading Michigan to Big Ten titles in 1986 and 1988. The two-time All-American reeled in numerous awards during his Wolverine career, including the Golden Spikes Award in 1987 and the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year award and the Big Ten Player of the Year awards in 1988. Abbott has been inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He also played for multiple national teams, including Team USA's gold medal-winning squad at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Drafted by the California Angels in 1988, Abbott went on to play 10 seasons for four teams, highlighted by a no-hitter while playing for the New York Yankees in 1993. After retiring in 1999, he spearheaded the PITCH (Proving Individuals with Talent Can Help) campaign, working with the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities.
Drew Brees, Purdue (1997-2000)
Football - Quarterback
Drew Brees was named 2010 Super Bowl MVP after leading the New Orleans Saints to a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Additionally, he finished the season with a completion percentage of 70.62, establishing a new NFL record. In Brees' five years as quarterback with the San Diego Chargers and four years with the New Orleans Saints, he has been elected to four Pro Bowls. He also was named the 2004 Comeback Player of the Year, 2006 All-Pro team honoree, 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and 2008 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. He established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003, and since then has raised and/or committed over $5 million to help advance cancer research, care for cancer patients and help rebuild schools, parks, playgrounds and athletic fields in New Orleans, San Diego and Purdue/West Lafayette, Ind., communities. Last season, Brees and his wife, Brittany, donated over $100,000 to help restore the athletic fields at Lusher Charter School, the largest public high school in New Orleans. The school is still trying to recover from damage sustained by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At Purdue, Brees was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and won the 2000 Maxwell Award. He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree and led the Boilermakers to their first Big Ten Championship and first Rose Bowl Game appearance since 1967.
Tony Dungy, Minnesota (1973-1976)
Football - Quarterback/Coach
Tony Dungy is a former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl, earning a victory in Super Bowl XLI. In December 2008, after securing his tenth straight playoff appearance, Dungy set a new NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances by a head coach. Dungy joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. He has also held assistant coaching positions with the University of Minnesota, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings. Before becoming a coach, Dungy played three seasons in the NFL. A quarterback at Minnesota, Dungy finished as the school's career leader in pass attempts, completions, touchdown passes and passing yards while earning the team's Most Valuable Player award twice. Dungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Prison Crusade Ministry and All Pro Dad. He also works with Basket of Hope, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana and the American Diabetes Association. Since his retirement from coaching, Dungy has served as a prominent analyst on NBC's Sunday night studio show. Dungy is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Quiet Strength and Uncommon.
Joe Girardi, Northwestern (1983-1986)
Baseball - Catcher
Joe Girardi is the current manager of the New York Yankees and a former Major League Baseball catcher. In 2009, his second year as manager, he led the Yankees to their 40th American League pennant and 27th World Series title. It marked Girardi's first World Series title as manager and the Yankees' first since 2000. As a player, he made his Major League Baseball debut in 1989 and caught for 15 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees. Girardi was a member of three World Series Championship squads in New York and, while playing for the Cubs, was named to the 2000 All-Star team. He retired as a catcher in 2004 and went on to manage the Florida Marlins in 2006, where he was named National League Manager of the Year. While at Northwestern, Girardi was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a three-time Academic All-American, earning induction into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2007. He earned first-team All-Big Ten status twice and was an All-American in 1985. In December 2010, he was named a recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.
Air Force Staff Seargant
Matt Hangen, a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, is originally from Greenville, Ohio. He joined the military in December 2002, where he was stationed in Italy for two years and Shaw Air Force Base (South Carolina) for over five years. Hangen graduated from Greenville High School and will soon earn his Community College of the Air Force Associates degree. Hangen is a life-long Buckeye fan and had a dream come true this year, when Coach Tressel asked him to be a part of team festivities for the Purdue game on Oct. 23.
Mannie Jackson, Illinois (1957-1960)
Mannie Jackson was a standout player for the Harlem Globetrotters and later became the first African-American to own a major international sports/entertainment organization when he purchased the Globetrotters in 1993. Jackson achieved a dramatic corporate turnaround, reviving the near-bankrupt organization and restoring its status around the world, while increasing revenue five-fold and rebuilding the fan base to near record levels. During Jackson's regime, the Globetrotters' charitable contributions totaled more than $11 million. In Sept 2005, Jackson sold 80 percent of the Globetrotters to Shamrock Capital Growth Fund and stepped away from the day-to-day operations. Jackson remains the Globetrotters' Chairman of the Board. Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2002 and most recently served as Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. Jackson was a three-year letterwinner at Illinois, and along with teammate Govoner Vaughn, was the first African-American starter and letterwinner on the school's men's basketball team. He scored 922 points in his collegiate career, earning All-Big Ten status twice and All-America recognition in 1960.
Tom Osborne, Nebraska (1973-Present)
Football - Coach/Administrator
Tom Osborne was a legendary football coach at the University of Nebraska and is the school's current athletic director. As coach, he led the Huskers to a 255-49-3 record and a winning percentage of .836. The 255 victories in Osborne's 25 years of coaching are the sixth-most all-time among major college football coaches. After capturing back-to-back perfect National Championship seasons in 1994 and 1995, earning 13 conference crowns and playing in 25 bowl games, Osborne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998. Osborne's teams were also successful in the classroom. During his tenure, the Husker football program totaled 65 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards. Ten years after he finished coaching, Osborne returned to Lincoln as Nebraska's athletic director. In the community, Osborne was known for his leadership, integrity and compassion. Tom and his wife, Nancy, built a mentoring program called TeamMates, which provides support and encouragement to school-aged youth with the goal of seeing children graduate from high school and pursue a post-secondary education.
Joe and Sue Paterno, Penn State
Football - Coach/Wife
Joe and Sue Paterno met at Penn State University and have been married for 48 years with five children. Between serving as a mentor to players, a counselor to parents and a fundraiser for the university, Sue's influence at Penn State extends beyond athletics. During Joe's coaching career, the Paternos have donated more than $4 million to the university, including $3.5 million to endow faculty positions and scholarships and to support two building projects. A Penn State campus library has been named after the Paterno family, and a Catholic diocese has been named a student center in honor of Sue. Since the family's children have left home, Sue has been invested herself in charitable causes, including an active involvement in organizing the annual Pennsylvania Special Olympics on the Penn State campus.
Sarah Pergine, Iowa
Sarah Pergine started 53 games during her four years as a member of the Iowa field hockey team. During her senior year, the midfielder tallied five points, recording one goal and three assists. Pergine was named to the 2010 Midwest High Performance Tournament Team at the USA National Championships. She also was a member of the 1998 Iowa squad that closed out its season in the national semifinals, tallying an 18-5 overall record. In 2010, she was named the chair of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The Collegeville, Pa., native is double majoring in communication studies and sociology. Pergine plans to attend graduate school and eventually become a higher education or academic counselor.
John Shinsky, Michigan State (1970-1973)
Football - Defensive Tackle
John Shinsky played three seasons at defensive tackle for Michigan State in 1970 and 1972-73, earning Academic All-America and second-team All-Big Ten status in 1973. After graduating in 1974, Shinsky spent 30 years as a teacher and administrator in Lansing, Mich., before moving on to become an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Grand Valley State University. Shinsky became aware of an orphanage in Matamoros, Mexico, badly in need of financial help in 2002. Having spent a portion of his childhood as an orphan and foster child, Shinsky set a goal of building a new orphanage in Matamoros. In 2005, he and his wife Cindy founded the City of the Children of Matamoros A.C., a non-profit organization designed to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged children, after receiving a donation of 17 acres from a local Mexican businessman. Despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Shinsky continues to hold fundraisers for the foundation, donating 100 percent of the proceeds toward the cause.
Keith Smart, Indiana (1987-1988)
Basketball - Guard
Keith Smart played two seasons for Indiana from 1987 to 1988, highlighted by his game-winning shot in the final seconds of the 1987 NCAA Championship game, which gave the Hoosiers their fifth national title. For his efforts, Smart was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1987 tournament. After being selected in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Smart played seven seasons of professional basketball before retiring in 1995. He then entered the coaching ranks, earning his first head coaching job with the Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association. Smart joined the staff of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2000 as an assistant coach before being named the team's interim head coach during the 2002-03 season. The Baton Rouge, La., native joined Golden State's staff after the 2002-03 season, where he would spend seven seasons as an assistant coach before being named head coach prior to the 2010-11 season.
Judith Sweet, Wisconsin (1966-1969)
Judith Sweet is a distinguished leader in intercollegiate athletics. Sweet was elected to a two-year term as president of the NCAA in January 1991 and was secretary-treasurer of the NCAA from 1989 to 1991, becoming the first woman to serve in each of those positions. She most recently served as NCAA Senior Vice President for Championships and Education Services, retiring in 2006. During her tenure as NCAA Senior Vice President, Sweet's responsibilities included oversight for 84 NCAA Championships and serving as a primary contact for Title IX and Gender Equity Initiatives. Sweet has received many national awards, including the NACWAA Administrator of the Year and the NACDA James J. Corbett Award. In conjunction with the NCAA's Centennial Celebration in 2006, she was named one of the 100 most influential student-athletes and in 2007 was named by the Institute for International Sports as one of The 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Sweet graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she earned a letter in badminton, majored in physical education and mathematics and served as president of the Women's Recreation Association and national president of the Athletic and Recreation Federation of College Women.