Daniels, Fiscus Earn Michigan State's Big Ten Medal of Honor

June 26, 2018

 Men’s soccer senior Jimmy Fiscus and women’s track and field redshirt senior Katelyn Daniels were named Michigan State's recipients for the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor. The Big Ten Conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." 

Katelyn Daniels has had one of the most decorated careers in Michigan State track and field history. The senior has been a force both on the field and in the classroom. She completed her MSU career as the school record holder in both the discus (60.54m) and the shot put (16.40m).

“It is a humongous honor to receive an award of this caliber, especially considering how much the Big Ten and Michigan State specifically has meant to me. It is amazing to win an award based on academics and athletics because it shows how important they both are,” Daniels said. “I would like to thank my parents for all of their support throughout the years. I’d also like to thank my coaches, my teammates, the athletic training staff, academic staff and my friends, because without the people that I am surrounded by, my experience wouldn’t have meant as much. I wouldn’t have been successful without all the people who were invested in me.”

The native of Lewis Center, Ohio, earned a pair of All-America honors in 2018 to close out her Spartan career. She captured first team honors after finishing eighth in the discus with a throw of 53.84m. For the first time in her career, she garnered honorable mention All-America accolades in the shot put, finishing 20th at the NCAA Championships.

She will leave MSU as a five-time All-American. She is the most decorated Spartan women’s track athlete since Leah O’Connor who was a six-time All-American, including both indoor and outdoor. Daniels also earned All-Big Ten honors for four straight seasons.

Daniels started her MSU career with a bang, as the Spartans captured the 2015 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field title during her freshman campaign. She went on to capture the Big Ten title in discus with a then-meet record heave of 59.06m. Daniels was the first MSU track & field athlete to win the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award since Beth Rohl in 2009.

The pharmacology and toxicology graduate was just as successful in the classroom. Daniels also captured USTFCCCA All-Academic and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors all four years with a 4.0 GPA. Daniels also was a three-time Big Ten Academic-Conference honoree.

“I think that there is a great culture here that the athletes embrace,” MSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said. “I think that track & field is one of those sports where you just put your head down and go to work everyday that translates to the classroom as well as the field. The kids embrace the idea that they want to be exceptional students. Katelyn is leading the charge. She is deciding if she wants to go to medical school or graduate school. She came here to win Big Ten Championships, but she also came here to be an exceptional student. None of this success happens in a vacuum. We have an exceptional support system. The SASS folks are here to help us and I think all the infrastructure is really important.”

Daniels is the fifth recipient of the Conference Medal of Honor from the cross country/track & field program and the second in as many years, joining Alexis Wiersma (2017), Michelle Carson (2004), Laura Bell (1995 & 1994), Misty Allison (1992) and Anne Pewe (1984).

Jimmy Fiscus finished his multi-faceted career as a highly decorated player and an extremely dependable leader. Both on the field and off, Fiscus showed what it truly meant to be a Spartan.

The durable defender played in 75 games during his Michigan State career, starting 73. In four seasons, he scored four goals with four assists for 12 points with three game-winning goals. As a defender, Fiscus was part of 38 shutouts during his stellar four-year career. His on-the-field presence helped MSU register a 46-22-14 record during his tenure, advancing to the Elite Eight in both 2014 and 2017.

“I am completely honored to have been nominated and for winning this award,” said Fiscus. “I don’t play and do all this for awards, but it is a complete honor. I am just happy that the University saw me as a potential candidate. It is such an honor to be joining big names like Kirk Cousins who has received the same award. It is great to be doing things that help the team and the community. First and foremost, I want to thank my family for helping me out with everything and getting me where I am today. Also, I want to thank the coaches at MSU for believing in me and also my teammates, because without them I wouldn’t have been in this spot either.”

Fiscus was a two-year captain for the Spartans, showing his leadership skills on the pitch. During his stellar senior campaign, he picked up First Team All-Big Ten honors, as well as NSCAA All-Midwest Region honors. In 2017, the senior started all 20 games and played over 1,800 minutes for the Green and White, en route to earning United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-America honors. During his senior season, Fiscus scored two goals with one assist for five points. He was very timely with his scoring, as both goals were game-winning goals.

The Novi, Michigan, native was also recognized throughout his career for his work off the field. Since 2015, he has worked with PACT (Putting Athletes and Community Together), which is a mentoring program for middle and high school student-athletes. The program is designed to help them enhance their appreciation for athletics, community, and leadership. Fiscus and the entire MSU men’s soccer team has also worked with the Miracle League of Mid-Michigan the last two years, working with kids with special needs in the East Lansing area.

A graduate with a degree in supply chain management, Fiscus was also stellar in the classroom as well, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors from 2015-17. In 2017, Fiscus earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. He completed the season with United Soccer Coaches First-Team Scholar All-American.

“This is a very deserving award for Jimmy and his family. Jimmy excelled on the field and in the classroom for four years. He had an incredible competitive spirit. Most importantly, Jimmy always put the team first, so it’s great to see him receive recognition for his efforts. He truly is a great Spartan,” said MSU head soccer coach Damon Rensing.

Fiscus is the third soccer player at MSU to win the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor, joining Doug DeMartin (2009) and Tyler Robinson (2003).