Michigan State Athlete of the Year 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 women's 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 Ron Scott, hockey  
1983 Ron Scott, hockey #Judi Brown, track
1984 Carl Banks, football Deanne Moore, softball
1985 Sam Vincent, basketball Kelly Becker, volleyball
1986 Lorenzo White, football, Scott Skiles, basketball, Mike Donnelly, hockey Mary Schoenle, swimming
1987 Don McSween, hockey Odessa Smalls, track
1988 Todd Krumm, football and basketball Michelle Ingalls, gymnastics
1989 Bobby Reynolds, ice hockey Julie Farrell, diving
1990 Kip Miller, ice hockey, Percy Snow, football Julie Farrell, diving
1991 Steve Smith, basketball #Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, diving
1992 Anthony Hamm, cross country/track Misty Allison, cross country/track
1993 Bryan Smolinski, ice hockey Jodi Blotcher, gymnastics
1994 Emilio Collins, wrestling Susan Francis, track and field
1995 Shawn Respert, basketball Karen Winslow, soccer
1996 David Morgan, wrestling Val Sterk, volleyball
1997 Reid Friederichs, soccer Sevatheda Fynes, track and field
1998 Chad Alban, hockey Jill Lusher, field hockey
1999 Mateen Cleaves, basketball, Mike York, hockey Carrie Carpenter, softball
2000 Mateen Cleaves, basketball Emily Bastel, golf
2001 *Ryan Miller, Ice Hockey Summer Mitchell, diving
2002 Paul Terek, track & field Emily Bastel, golf
2003 Charles Rogers, football Michelle Carson, cross country
Jamie Krzyminski, cross country/track & field
2004 Jeff Smoker, football Jamie Krzyminski, cross country/track
2005 Nick Simmons, wrestling Kristin Haynie, basketball
2006 Brad Gebauer, track & field Liz Shimek, basketball
2007 Jeff Lerg, ice hockey Sara Brown, golf
2008 Jeff Lerg, ice hockey Sara Brown, golf
* Big Ten Jesse Owens Athlete of the Year
# Big Ten Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year