Who is the longest-tenured coach at his Big Ten school? It’s Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who is entering his 14th season in Iowa City. And as he embarks on another spring practice, he faces a unique set of challenges he never before has encountered. Chief among the challenges is developing chemistry on a coaching staff that long has been a beacon of stability but has been shaken up like never before on Ferentz’s watch. On top of the staff overhaul, Ferentz also has some key personnel issues to deal with this spring. I caught up with the Iowa coach this week to discuss those issues—and others.
Big week in Big Ten football, as the last three schools begin spring practice this week. Penn State kicks off today; Michigan State on Tuesday; Ohio State on Wednesday. If you can believe it, the first spring games will begin on April 14. Clean up your Weber Smokey Joes and mark your calendars.
All eight Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams have been chosen among the 36-team field to compete at NCAA Regionals on April 7, the selection committee announced on Monday. The Big Ten will be represented at five of the six regional sites.
Wisconsin held off Iowa, 5-4, Sunday in the rubber game of this weekend’s Big Ten-opening series. Marissa Mersch went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs to pace the Badgers’ eight-hit attack. Cassandra Darrah (9-5) earned the win for Wisconsin, scattering 10 hits and allowing four earned runs en route to the complete game victory. Iowa’s Katie Kiem blasted a home run and drove in a game-high three runs. Chelsea Lyon (5-10) took the loss, surrendering four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Get all of Sunday’s results.
We’re off to the semifinals of BTN.com’s Big Ten football uniform bracket, and the upsets continue. No. 5 Iowa stunned No. 2 Penn State and Cinderella No. 9 Purdue is one win away from playing for it all after downing No. 10 Illinois. Also, No. 1 Michigan drilled No. 6 Michigan State to advance to the title matchup, by virtue of amassing the most quarterfinal votes.
In its first attempt, Nebraska won the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships title on Saturday night. The Huskers tallied a team score of 197.100, while Ohio State followed in second place (196.225) and Minnesota finished third (195.950). Michigan took fourth place (195.875), followed by Illinois in fifth (195.850), Penn State in sixth (195.700), Iowa in seventh (195.425) and Michigan State in eighth (194.675).
The Big Ten posted 10 top-ten finishes on the final day of the NCAA Championships on Sunday. Michigan paced the Big Ten with a fifth-place finish (271 points), Indiana finished 10th (140) and No. 12 Ohio State (106), No. 17 Purdue (56) and No. 24 Minnesota (37) followed in the standings. Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin also received points. See all the results.