BIG TEN ICONS COUNTDOWN:
Finally, the countdown begins.
Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history based solely on their collegiate playing careers.
Today, the network unveiled Big Ten Icons 50 and 49, Iowa’s Tom Brands, the legendary wrestler, and Penn State’s Megan Hodge, who led her volleyball team to three straight national titles, at www.BigTenIcons.com,
Brands, who wrestled for Iowa from 1989-92, was a four-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion in the 134-pound division. He was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the 1992 NCAA Championships. The native of Sheldon, Iowa, led the Hawkeyes to consecutive national titles and posted an individual career record of 158-7-2. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath writes, “Iowa wrestlers are tough, committed, disciplined people. For more than 20 years, Tom Brands has personified those traits for the Iowa Hawkeyes.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Brands, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.
Hodge, a volleyball player at Penn State from 2006-09, was a four-time first-team All-American and helped Penn State to 102 consecutive volleyball wins and three straight national championships. Hodge was a two-time Academic All-American, and the co-winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup in 2009, given to the top collegiate female student-athlete. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, Mike Wolf writes, “There is little doubt that going forward any women’s volleyball team that aspires to be the best will draw comparisons to the Nittany Lions. The same can also be said for any individual hoping to reach the sport's pinnacle, how does she stack up against the triumphs of Penn State’s Megan Hodge?” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Hodge, visit her Big Ten Icons locker at http://www.BigTenIcons.com.
Brands and Hodge represent the first two Icons to be named in the series. Icons 50 through 21 will be unveiled between now and Sept. 16 at www.BigTenIcons.com. The website also will feature essays, video and other key facts about each student-athletes’ career. Viewers can also participate in the “Talk of the Locker Room” contest with a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Weekly winners will take home a 55-inch Phillips HD television.
The television show, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.