University Park, Pa. — Penn State’s four-time AVCA First Team All-American Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) has been named the 2009-10 Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year by the Big Ten. Penn State’s first Honda-Broderick Cup winner, Hodge led the Penn State women’s volleyball team to three straight NCAA National Championships and back-to-back undefeated seasons. Ohio State men’s basketball player Evan Turner was named this year’s Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year.
The Big Ten Network also recognized the women’s volleyball team and head coach Russ Rose in its third annual Big Ten Network Awards. Rose was named the Big Ten Network’s Women’s Coach of the Year, while the Nittany Lion women’s volleyball team was named the Women’s Team of the Year.
Since becoming a member of the Big Ten in 1992, Hodge is Penn State’s sixth winner of the Suzy Favor Award joining Olga Kalinovskaya (fencing, 1996), Lauren Cacciamani (volleyball, 2000), Christie Welsh (soccer, 2002), Kelly Mazzante (basketball, 2004) and Tiffany Weimer (soccer, 2006). Hodge and Cacciamani are two of only three women’s volleyball players on the list of 30 recipients since the award began in 1983. Penn State’s six honorees is the most of any Big Ten institution since joining the conference for the 1992 season and ranks tied for first with Wisconsin for most honorees since the award was first given in 1983.
Since graduating with a degree in business in May, Hodge has competed with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team at the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland. She started all five matches and helped lead the U.S. to a silver medal. Hodge is currently competing with Team USA in the IX Pan American Cup that started June 18 in Mexico.
Before joining the U.S. Women’s National Team, Hodge had accumulated a laundry list of awards during her career at Penn State. Hodge was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, having earned the honor as both a freshman and a senior. She was named the Touchdown Club of Columbus 2009 Female Athlete of the Year and a finalist for the prestigious AAU Sullivan Award. Hodge was Penn State’s fourth four-time AVCA All-American and just the fifth four-time First Team honoree in AVCA history.
Part of the winningest class in program history with a 142-5 career win/loss record, Hodge averaged 4.67 kills per set (560 kills) while leading the Nittany Lions to the 2009 NCAA title. The AVCA Division I National Player of the Year, Hodge aided the Lions to a perfect 38-0 record, a 20-0 record in Big Ten play and the program’s 13th Big Ten title in her senior season. She was named the Big Ten Player of the Week three-times in her final season and was also tabbed the AVCA National Player of the Week on two occasions. In addition, Hodge was part of the 2008 squad that became the only team in NCAA Division I, II or II history to finish the regular season without losing a single set. That run was part of Penn State’s record-breaking 102-match winning streak, which the team aims to extend in 2010.
Hodge was not only a strong presence on the court, but also in the classroom. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Hodge was a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, earning Second Team honors in 2008 and First Team laurels in 2009. She also became the program’s third Academic All-American of the Year.
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 following year, a woman’s award was created. In 1991-92, as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of women’s athletics in the conference, the women’s award was renamed in honor of former Wisconsin track standout and three-time recipient Suzy Favor.
Rose, who enters his 32nd season at the helm of the Penn State program this fall, has guided the Nittany Lions to four NCAA National Titles, including the last three consecutive. With a 3-1 victory against Hawaii in the NCAA National Semifinals, he became just the third coach in Division I women’s volleyball history to accumulate 1,000 career wins. An 11-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Rose owns a career record of 1,001-159 (.863), making him the winningest active Division I coach. Rose has coach 62 All-Americans, 10 Academic All-Americans earning 15 honors and 19 conference players of the year. His team is currently on a 102-match winning streak and has not seen defeat since Sept. 15, 2007.
The Nittany Lions open the 2010 season and aim to extend their winning streak traveling to the Carolina Classic hosted by the University of North Carolina on Aug. 27-28. Penn State opens its home slate on Sept. 3 against Seton Hall in the Nittany Lion Invitational.