From the Big Ten Network:
CHICAGO – Steve Alford has been named Big Ten Icon No. 17. The Big Ten Icons countdown, presented by Discover, continues at 9 PM ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5, with a profile of the sharpshooting Indiana guard. The episode includes new, exclusive interviews with Alford, his father, Sam, Steve Lavin, Gene Keady, Bob Hammel, Don Fischer and others.
New episodes of the 20-episode series, hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, debut at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring.
Alford helped lead Indiana to the 1987 National Championship, was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was named Indiana’s team MVP four straight years. He finished his collegiate career as the Hoosiers’ all-time leading scorer. The native of New Castle, Ind., also won a gold medal on the Bob Knight-coached 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team.
In the episode, Alford talks about how he worked on his shooting touch in the third grade. “I can remember my mom going to the store and buying Pringles cans. She’d come home and I’d dump out all the chips on the table. The rest of the family could eat all the chips, but that was a hoop for me. And I’d use ping pong balls and I learned touch.”
Alford also recalls his recruiting process. “I was waiting on one phone call. I knew where I wanted to go. I knew where my dream was, where my goal was. Every workout I did at New Castle in the summer was two-fold: That was to be the best high school player I can be, help my team win as many games as we could. And in the back of my mind was to be good enough to play at Indiana, to be good enough to play for Coach Knight.”
In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com <http://www.BigTenIcons.com> , former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath wrote, “Steve Alford may well have been the quintessential Indiana basketball player.” To read the full essay and to watch a video feature on Alford, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com <http://www.bigtenicons.com/openlocker.cfm?id=18&name=JACK-NICKLAUS> .
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.
Fans can visit www.BigTenIcons.com <http://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 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.”
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 Suzy Favor Hamilton, Wisconsin track and field (1987-91)
No. 18 Jack Nicklaus, Ohio State golf (1959-61)
No. 17 Steve Alford, Indiana basketball (1983-87)
No. 16 Announced Tuesday at the conclusion of Big Ten Icons No. 17 episode