Big Ten Icons Presented by Discover is an original series spotlighting the great coaches in Big Ten history. Last season, we counted down the top 50 competitors in the conference’s rich history. The first 30 were released online and the final 20 names were featured in full episodes hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson.
Next Episode - Saturday 12:30 pm ET
Ohio State's Jesse Owens set three world records and tied a fourth within 45 minutes at a Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor in 1935. Watch this on BTN2Go
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Big Ten Icons
CHICAGO – BTN is dedicating the entire day of programing Friday to The Journey: Big Ten Football 2013 by replaying all 12 episodes.
You may want to call in sick on Friday, or at the very least set your DVR to “record series” as BTN airs a marathon of “Big Ten Icons” shows. Those will also air on BTN2Go, as well, where they are also archived for viewing on demand.
Indiana’s legendary Bob Knight, who led the Hoosiers to 11 Big Ten titles and three NCAA Championships in 29 seasons as the head men’s basketball coach, was profiled Sunday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show included new one-on-one interviews with former Indiana first -team All-Americans Steve Alford and Isiah Thomas; Big Ten coaches Tom Izzo and Bruce Weber; award-winning journalists Jack Ebling and Mike DeCourcy, and others.
Michigan State’s legendary Jud Heathcote, who led the Spartans to 339 wins in 19 seasons as the head men’s basketball coach, was profiled Saturday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show included new one-on-one interviews with Heathcote; Michigan State coach Tom Izzo; award-winning journalists Jack Ebling and Dan Wetzel; former MSU All-American Greg Kelser and others.
Northwestern’s legendary Kelly Amonte Hiller, who is in her 11th season as the head women’s lacrosse coach, is profiled Saturday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show airs at approximately 9:30 PM ET, following the Northwestern-Minnesota men’s basketball game.
Illinois’ legendary Lou Henson, who won 423 games in 21 seasons as the Illini head basketball coach, is profiled Thursday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show airs at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, following the Illinois-Indiana men’s basketball game.
Purdue’s legendary Gene Keady, who won 512 games in 25 seasons as the Boilermakers’ head basketball coach, is profiled Saturday in a new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the show airs at approximately 9 p.m. ET, following the Purdue-Indiana men’s basketball game.
Minnesota’s legendary Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 Olympic hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” after leading the Gophers to three national titles, was profiled Friday in the return of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the first of six new episodes airs at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, following the Minnesota-St. Cloud State hockey game.
Minnesota’s legendary Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 Olympic hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” after leading the Gophers to three national titles, is profiled Friday in the return of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover. Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Keith Jackson, the first of six new episodes airs at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, following the Minnesota-St. Cloud State hockey game.
The Woody Hayes episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, debuts at 11 p.m. ET Friday after the Ohio State-Jackson State basketball game. The series is hosted by Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. The show includes new one-on-one interviews with Archie Griffin, Lou Holtz, Tim May, Jack Park, Jeff Logan, John Bacon, Dave Foley, Gary Moeller, Dave Adolph, Harold “Champ” Henson, Bill Myles, Jim Stillwagon and others.
Barry Alvarez turned the Wisconsin football program into a national power during his program-record 16-year tenure in Madison, Wis. Alvarez compiled a 118-73-4 career record, won Big Ten titles in 1993, 1998 and 1999, and is the only coach to win consecutive Rose Bowls. At 11 p.m. ET Tuesday, catch the debut of Alvarez’s Big Ten Icons that spotlights the current Wisconsin athletic director’s remarkable run with the Badgers. Watch a clip of the show now.
CHICAGO – A brand new episode of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover and hosted by Keith Jackson, airs at 8pm ET Tuesday with a profile of legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne. The show will be followed at 8:30 PM ET by Osborne’s final game as head coach at Nebraska, the 1998 Orange Bowl. In that game, Scott Frost, Ahman Green and the Blackshirts defeated Peyton Manning and Tennessee, 42-17. Nebraska finished the season ranked number one in the coaches’ poll to earn a share of the national championship.
Iowa’s Dan Gable led the Iowa wrestling program from 1977-1997 and to 17 NCAA titles, including nine consecutive championships from 1978 to 1986. He also guided the Hawkeyes to 21 straight Big Ten titles as head coach and posted an amazing 355-21-5 career dual meet record. At 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Gable becomes the latest Big Ten coach to be celebrated in the series Big Ten Icons, hosted by college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. In this video clip, listen to Gable describe how his one loss as a wrestler fueled his coaching career.
Throughout the Big Ten Conference’s illustrious history, many coaches have defined excellence, both on and off the field. Banners, busts and statues commemorate their achievements, and pay tribute to their lasting impact. They are the coaches by which all others are measured.
It’s an exaggeration, but only a slight one, to describe Red Grange as the “Babe Ruth of College Football.” Grange played only three varsity seasons at the University of Illinois, in the nation’s heartland, while Ruth was a larger-than-life presence on New York’s Yankees for nearly two decades. He’s credited with rescuing baseball from the throes of a gambling scandal, and there’s no doubt Ruth transformed how the game was played through his unprecedented and prodigious slugging.
Sometimes it’s right there in front of you. Struggling to find the right word to describe freshman Earvin Johnson’s play in a 36-point, 18-rebound performance for Lansing Everett High School, Lansing State Journal sportswriter Fred Stabley Jr. settled on “Magic.” The choice could not have been more appropriate. Over the next 20 years, Earvin “Magic” Johnson would become one of the most celebrated and accomplished basketball players in the world, first at Michigan State University, then for the Los Angeles Lakers. “Magic” — the one-word handle became as distinctive as “Pele” or “Ali,” applicable to one man only and a metaphor for both an infectious style of play and unfailingly positive results. Magic Johnson had a unique gift for making the players around him better, leaving championships in his wake wherever he competed.
Thousands of athletes have distinguished themselves and earned acclaim for their schools in the storied 114-year history of the Big Ten Conference, but no individual’s accomplishments cast a larger shadow than those of Jesse Owens. In 1936, three years before the world went back to war, his fleet feet and indomitable spirit struck a telling blow against Adolph Hitler’s plans for worldwide Nazi domination.
It stands to reason that running backs would be distinguished citizens at Ohio State University, where “three yards and a cloud of dust” was the unquestioned football mantra through the storied Woody Hayes Era and for at least a few years on either side of it. Archie Griffin is the most distinguished of those citizens.
Tom Harmon transcends the overused term “football hero.” He was a hero in most every sense of the word. Seventy years after he last performed as a single-wing tailback for the University of Michigan, “Old 98” is still remembered as perhaps the most talented player in Wolverines history, a true triple threat on offense and a standout on defense. He was also the punter and the place-kicker. He probably would have taped ankles and passed out the orange slices at halftime had he been asked.
In the history of sport, it’s doubtful there has ever been a more ideal melding of game, player and position than football, Dick Butkus and middle linebacker. It’s as if he were born to play the position, or the position were invented with Butkus in mind.
Truth, we are told, can be stranger than fiction. In Nile Kinnick’s case it was also more impressive. The spellbinding exploits of Frank Merriwell and Jack Armstrong and other fictional sports heroes of the early 20th century had nothing on the real-life accomplishments of Kinnick, who with his fellow Ironmen pretty much rescued University of Iowa football during a magical 1939 season that still stirs the imagination 71 years after it took place. There’s a reason the Hawkeyes’ home field bears Kinnick’s name.
In an era of no Internet, very limited television and no recruiting services to turn teenage athletes into national celebrities, how does a kid from small-town Middle America become the most famous high school basketball player in the nation? By being as talented and as well-rounded as Jerry Lucas. Before there was Bill Bradley, before there was Larry Bird, there was Jerry Lucas.
Sinatra had his voice, Hendrix had his guitar, and Rick Mount had his jump shot. Sinatra’s smooth-as-velvet singing and Hendrix’s pyrotechnic playing likely generated more worldwide fame and fortune, but it’s doubtful either man had more mastery of his instrument than Mount did any time he had a basketball in his hands, anywhere in a gym. He averaged 32.3 points per game and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor over his three varsity seasons at Purdue from 1967-70. If there was a layup among his 910 career buckets, no one readily remembers. And this was before the advent of the three-point line.
Isiah Thomas was one of the most heavily recruited basketball players the Chicago area has ever produced. Bob Knight landed him by winning over the person who exerted the strongest influence in Thomas’ life: his mother. Mary Thomas was an incredibly strong-willed woman who raised her own nine children and helped with scores of neighborhood kids in the notoriously tough “K-Town” area of the city’s West Side. Once she decided Indiana was the best place for her youngest, the battle was over.
Mark Spitz swam as if something was chasing him. In a sense, something was, even and perhaps most notably during a four-year period of world domination. Just 18 when he qualified for the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, Spitz was already one of swimming’s most accomplished performers, his resume packed with age-group world records, AAU titles and Pan-American and Maccabiah Games medals. He was perceived as a bit boastful, but not totally unrealistic when he suggested he just might leave Mexico with six gold medals.