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Big Ten Icons

Big Ten Icons

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.


On the Next Big Ten Icons: Barry Alvarez

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. Who are the other coaches previously featured on Big Ten Icons? We profiled Nebraska’s Tom Osborne, Penn State’s Joe Paterno, Iowa’s Dan Gable and

Icons Features Tom Osborne Tuesday

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. This year’s Big Ten Icons series celebrates 12 of the

Tonight on Big Ten Icons: Dan Gable profile

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. And get this: During his prep and

‘Big Ten Icons’ debuts with Michigan’s Bo Schembechler

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. Beginning this fall, BTN will celebrate these legendary coaches with another 12 installments of the series Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover and hosted by college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson. The series debuts with a special airing of the episode that features  legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler. The program airs Saturday following the Minnesota at Michigan game,

Big Ten Icons: Red Grange

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. Yet Grange was such an electrifying performer as “the Galloping Ghost” during those three Illinois seasons that he helped college football take its

Big Ten Icons: Magic Johnson

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

Big Ten Icons: Jesse Owens

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. A sharecropper’s son and grandson of a slave, James Cleveland Owens was born Oakville, Ala., in 1913 and was known as “J.C.” to his parents and 10 siblings. The family moved to Cleveland when he 9

Big Ten Icons: Archie Griffin

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. The Buckeyes have certainly had bigger backs than Griffin. Some were faster, and quite a few went on to more accomplished professional careers. But in terms of sheer consistency and productivity, no one ever did it better than the 5-foot-8, 182-pound dynamo from Columbus. The

Big Ten Icons: Tom Harmon

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. “Tom Harmon does more things than Red Grange,” Hall of Fame coach Amos Alonzo Stagg

Big Ten Icons: Dick Butkus

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. All-American, All-Pro, Hall of Famer … even the highest accolades don’t really capture the talent and intensity he brought to the game. Thirty-six years after hung up his cleats and limped off the field on his ravaged knees for the last time, the name Dick Butkus remains synonymous with a relentlessly fierce style of