Illinois Athlete of the Year Award Finalists

Big Ten Directors of Athletics approved a recommendation of the sports information directors to establish a Big Ten Athlete of the Year named for Jesse Owens, Big Ten - Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year Award beginning in 1982. Indiana track performer Jim Spivey was the initial award winner.

In 1983, the Directors of Athletics approved a separate athlete of the year award for women's athletics. In 1991-92, the womens award was renamed the Big Ten - Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year award as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of women's athletics in the Conference.

1982 Tony Eason, football  
1983 Tony Eason, football Marianne Dickerson, track/cross country
1984 Don Thorp, football Karen Brems, gymnastics
1985 Charles Lakes, gymnastics Kelly McNee, track/cross country
1986 David Williams, football Jonelle Polk, baseball
1987 Darrin Fletcher, baseball Mary Eggers, volleyball
1988 Tim Simon, track Mary Eggers, volleyball
1989 David Zeddies, gymnastics Mary Eggers, volleyball
1990 Kendall Gill, basketball Laura Bush, volleyball
1991 Jon Llewellyn, wrestling Renee Heiken, golf
1992 Tim Simpson, football, Len Sitko, cross country/track Renee Heiken, golf, Tonja Buford, track and field
1993 Marko Koers, track/cross country Tonja Buford, track and field
1994 Anthony Jones, track and field Tina Rogers, volleyball
1995 Dana Howard, football, Steve Marianetti, wresting Tonya Williams, track and field
1996 Kevin Hardy, football Tonya Williams, track and field
1997 Ernest Benion, Jr., wrestling Ashley Berggren, basketball
1998 Eric Siebet, wrestling Ashley Berggren, basketball, Yvonne Harrison, track and field
1999 Oliver Freelove, tennis Cristy Chapman, volleyball
2000 Jason Anderson, baseball Jessica Aveyard, swimming
2001 Adam Tirapelle, wrestling Perdita Felicien, track & field
2002 Kurt Kittner, football Perdita Felicien, track & field
2003 *Amer Delic, tennis
*Matt Lackey, wrestling
#Perdita Felicien, track & field
2004 Justin Spring, gymnastics Leisha Alcia, soccer
2005 Deron Williams, basketball Cassie Hunt, cross country/track
2006 Justin Spring, gymnastics Cassie Hunt, cross country/track
2007 Kevin Anderson, tennis Yvonne Mensah, track
2008 J Leman, football Angela Bizzarri, cross country/track

* Big Ten Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year
# Big Ten Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year