Sept. 16, 2010
CHICAGO, Ill. -- University of Michigan football legend and 1997 Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson (1995-97) will kick off the television debut of "Big Ten Icons" on the Big Ten Network, airing Saturday (Sept. 18) at 4 p.m. following the early edition of "Big Ten Football Wrap-Up."
The 30-minute show spotlights Woodson as Big Ten Icon No. 20, chronicling his first experience as a college wide receiver and his knack for big plays.
"One spring game, they split me out wide. They threw a quick, look pass, and I shook the (defensive back) and ran it up the sideline. They said, 'hey, we're on to something here.'"
Woodson starred from 1995-97, winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior and becoming the first primarily defensive player to ever win college football's top individual prize. In leading U-M to a national title in his final collegiate season, Woodson was a consensus All-American and repeated as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Fremont, Ohio, native was second in the nation with eight interceptions.
The 20-episode series, hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, continues at 9 p.m. 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. Big Ten Icons 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. Icons 50 through 21, listed below, were revealed at BigTenIcons.com.
Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said the series will engage and spark conversation among sports fans everywhere. "What will make Big Ten Icons stand out is the depth of the storytelling," he said. "The rankings themselves are sure to generate quite a bit of discussion."
Keith Jackson's long association with the Big Ten and college sports includes play-by-play duties on ABC for Big Ten basketball games, football games and bowl games during his 50-plus year Hall of Fame broadcasting career. Jackson was the play-by-play announcer for 15 Rose Bowl games and is credited with coining the nicknames, "the Grandaddy of them All," for the Rose Bowl and the "Big House" for Michigan Stadium.
Fans can visit www.BigTenIcons.com to see a complete roster of Big Ten Icons, which also features essays, video and other key facts about each icon's 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 Philips HD television.
BIG TEN ICONS COUNTDOWN
No. 50 -- Tom Brands, Iowa wrestling (1989-92)
No. 49 -- Megan Hodge, Penn State volleyball (2006-09)
No. 48 -- Drew Brees, Purdue football (1997-2000)
No. 47 -- Chris Spielman, Ohio State football (1984-87)
No. 46 -- LaVar Arrington, Penn State football (1997-99)
No. 45 -- Rod Woodson, Purdue football (1983-86)
No. 44 -- George Halas, Illinois football (1916-18)
No. 43 -- Chuck Long, Iowa football (1981-85)
No. 42 -- Curt Warner, Penn State football (1979-82)
No. 41 -- Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern football (1993-96)
No. 40 -- Bobby Bell, Minnesota football (1960-62)
No. 39 -- Howard "Hopalong" Cassady, Ohio State football (1953-55)
No. 38 -- Calbert Cheaney, Indiana basketball (1989-93)
No. 37 -- Leroy Keyes, Purdue football (1966-68)
No. 36 -- Jim Abbott, Michigan baseball (1985-88)
No. 35 -- Glenn Robinson, Purdue basketball (1992-94)
No. 34 -- Desmond Howard, Michigan football (1989-91)
No. 33 -- Alex Karras, Iowa football (1955-57)
No. 32 -- Scott May, Indiana basketball (1973-76)
No. 31 -- Neal Broten, Minnesota hockey (1979-81)
No. 30 -- Alan Ameche, Wisconsin football (1951-54)
No. 29 -- Cazzie Russell, Michigan basketball (1964-66)
No. 28 -- Quinn Buckner, Indiana basketball (1972-76)
No. 27 -- Glen Rice, Michigan basketball (1986-89)
No. 26 -- Bubba Smith, Michigan State football (1964-66)
No. 25 -- Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch, Michigan and Wisconsin football (1942-46)
No. 24 -- Anthony Carter, Michigan football (1979-82)
No. 23 -- Bob Griese, Purdue football (1964-66)
No. 22 -- Jack Ham, Penn State football (1968-70)
No. 21 -- Bronko Nagurski, Minnesota football (1927-29)
No. 20 -- Charles Woodson, Michigan football (1995-97)
No. 19 -- Announced Saturday at the conclusion of "Big Ten Icons" No. 20 episode
Contact: Dave Ablauf (734) 763-4423