Penn State's David Taylor named Big Ten Male Athlete of Year

By Pat Donghia Penn State University | June 23, 2014, 8:20 p.m. (ET)
Photo of NCAA champion David Taylor of Penn State by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – June 23, 2014 – Nittany Lion wrestler David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) has been named the Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year. Taylor was joined on the women’s side by Purdue’s Dani Bunch, a track and field stand-out for the Boilermakers.

Taylor is only the second Penn Stater to ever to be named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year since the honor’s inception in 1982, joining men’s gymnast Luis Vargas, who won the award in 2005. He is the eighth wrestler to win the award. Six Penn State women have been named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, with the last being Megan Hodge (2010, women’s volleyball).

Taylor became the second straight member of head coach Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lion wrestlers to win Penn State Male Athlete of the Year earlier this month (teammate Ed Ruth won last year’s Penn State honor), putting him on the ballot for the Owens Award. Taylor recently wrapped up one of collegiate wrestling’s most historic careers. He won the 2014 Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top wrestler and was Big Ten Wrestler of the Year for the third time. Taylor became Penn State’s first-ever four-time NCAA finalist and won his second NCAA individual title at 165, leading Penn State to its fourth-straight NCAA Championship in Oklahoma City in March.

Taylor’s 2014 accolades were stunning: Hodge Trophy Award (won twice during his career), NCAA National Champion (for the second time), NCAA Finalist (for the fourth time), NCAA All-American (for the fourth time), Big Ten Wrestler of the Year (for the third time), NCAA Most Dominant Wrestler Award, NCAA Championships Outstanding Wrestler, Big Ten Champion (Penn State’s first four-time Big Ten Champion, joining Ruth with that honor), three-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Week, Academic All-Big Ten (for the fourth time), NWCA First Team All-Academic (for the fourth time), Capital One First Team Academic All-American.

His career numbers are a testament to Taylor’s dominance throughout a landmark collegiate wrestling career. He leaves Penn State as a member of four NCAA Championship teams and four Big Ten Championships teams. Taylor went 34-0 this season to end the year as the nation’s lone unbeaten Division I wrestler and closed out his career with a 134-3 record. His 97.8 career win percentage included an all-time Penn State best 53 pins (ties a school record), 42 technical falls and 30 majors, meaning 125 of his 137 career matches were won by a major or better. Taylor never lost in a dual meet and was a perfect 56-0 all-time against Big Ten competition.

Eight wrestlers have now won this award.

Purdue track and field athlete Dani Bunch was tabbed the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year

Bunch and Taylor were among a field of heralded nominees for the annual conference honors that included nine individual national champions and three team national champions. The field included 22 All-Americans in 2013-14 that claimed a total of 36 All-America honors this season.

The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 when Indiana’s Jim Spivey earned the inaugural award. The conference first honored a Female Athlete of the Year in 1983, with Michigan State’s Judi Brown collecting the initial award. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.

The complete list of 2014 Athlete of the Year nominations, as well as the list of all-time winners for each award, can be found below.

2014 BIG TEN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
School/Male Nominee/Female Nominee

Illinois Jesse Delgado (wrestling) Jannelle Flaws (soccer)
Indiana Joey DeNato (baseball) Brooklynn Snodgrass (swimming & diving)
Iowa Tony Ramos (wrestling) Natalie Cafone (field hockey)
Michigan Connor Jaeger (swimming & diving) Joanna Sampson (gymnastics)
Michigan State Darqueze Dennard (football) Allyssa Ferrell (golf)
Minnesota Ellis Mannon (gymnastics) Lindsay Mable (gymnastics)
Nebraska Miles Ukaoma (track & field) Emily Wong (gymnastics)
Northwestern Jason Tsirtsis (wrestling) Alyssa Leonard (lacrosse)
Ohio State Logan Stieber (wrestling) Catherine Shields (rowing)
Penn State David Taylor (wrestling) Deja McClendon (volleyball)
Purdue Raheem Mostert (track & field/football) Dani Bunch (track & field)
Wisconsin Michael Lihrman (track & field) Alex Rigsby (ice hockey)

BIG TEN JESSE OWENS MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
1982 - Jim Spivey, Indiana, track and field/cross country
1983 - Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 - Sunder Nix, Indiana, track and field
1985 - Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling
1986 - Chuck Long, Iowa, football
1987 - Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball
1988 - Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball
1989 - Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball
1990 - Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football
1991 - Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming
1992 - Desmond Howard, Michigan, football
1993 - John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics
1994 - Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball
1995 - Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming
1996 - Eddie George, Ohio State, football
1997 - Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics
1998 - Charles Woodson, Michigan, football
1999 - Luke Donald, Northwestern, golf
2000 - Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football
2001 - Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 - Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 - Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis (co)
2003 - Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling (co)
2004 - Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling
2005 – Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics
2006 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming
2007 – Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling
2008 – Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling
2009 – Jake Herbert, Northwestern, wrestling
2010 – Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 – David Boudia, Purdue, diving
2012 – Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 – Derek Drouin, Indiana, track and field
2014 – David Taylor, Penn State, wrestling
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