Pepper Gay, D.J. Richardson Named Newcomers of the Year
June 16, 2010
Champaign, Ill. - A pair of NCAA champions have been named the 2009-10 Dike Eddelman Award winners given to the top male and female athletes at the University of Illinois during the school year. The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics named NCAA golf champion Scott Langley and NCAA cross country and indoor 3,000 meter champion Angela Bizzarri as the Eddleman winners from this year. The DIA also named D.J. Richardson from basketball and softball's Pepper Gay as the Newcomers of the Year.
Bizzarri becomes a three-time recipient of the award, joining sprinter and hurdler Perdita Felicien, who claimed the honor from 2001-2003, with that distinction. In fact track & field has had a stranglehold on the award of late, claiming the award nine of the last 10 years and 14 times since 1992. Langley, meanwhile, becomes the first men's golfer to claim the honor in the 70 years of the award. Current Illinois women's coach Renee (Heiken) Slone was the only golfer male or female to garner the accolade, having won it in 1991 and 1992.
Langley became the first Illini ever to win the NCAA golf championship. He fired a 10-under par 206 for 54 holes to win the championship by two strokes at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was named a First Team All-American and earned the Arnold Palmer Award presented by Callaway to the NCAA golf champion. Langley was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Year after posting eight top-10 finishes in 14 tournaments. He set the University of Illinois single-season stroke average with a 71.37 mark this season and is on pace to break Steve Stricker's career scoring record by an Illini. Langley has been named to the United States Palmer Cup team and will begin play Thursday at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Bizzarri won the NCAA cross country title in November at Terre Haute, Ind., with a school-record 6K time of 19:46.8 and was named the Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). In track, she captured her third national title in the 3,000 meters where she edged Iowa State's Lisa Koll down the stretch. In track, Bizzarri, who was named the Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, won four conference titles this year, taking home the 3,000 and 5,000 meters indoors and the 1,500 and 5,000 meters outdoors. Bizzarri is a nine-time All-American and owns seven school records in total. She tied the mark in the mile and reset her own record in the 3,000m and 5,000m during the 2010 indoor season and was part of the school-record distance medley relay in 2008. She also boasts the top spot in the outdoor 1,500m and 5,000m and set the 6K cross country record during the 2009 season.
Richardson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches and to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. His 35 starts were the most by a freshman in school history, and he scored in double figures in 22 of those games. The second-leading freshman scorer in the Big Ten, Richardson averaged 10.5 points per game, while making 69 three-pointers (second most a freshman in UI history). He also averaged 2.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Gay was one of the anchors of the Illinois pitching staff, posting a 16-1 record and a 1.46 ERA with 113 strikeouts. She ranked third in the Big Ten in ERA while opposing batters hit just .217 against her. Gay recorded three of Illinois' five victories while posting a 1.11 ERA en route to helping the Illini to the NFCA Leadoff Classic title in late February and was a big reason the Illini won 16 of their last 17 regular season games. Illinois posted a 45-8 record, placed second in the Big Ten and advanced to its second straight NCAA Tournament.
The University of Illinois Athlete of the Year was first awarded in 1940. The award was given annually until it was discontinued in 1973. Since 1982, the University of Illinois has recognized both a Male and Female Athlete of the Year. In 1993, the awards were named in honor of the 11-time UI letterman and former Olympian, Dwight "Dike" Eddleman. The Newcomer and Spirit Awards have been presented each year since 1990.
The other major awards were named on May 3 at the Scholar-Athlete reception. Bizzarri and football's Jon Asamoah earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Juice Williams from football and Luke Stannard from gymnastics shared the Male Spirit Award with tennis' Megan Fudge earning the Female Spirit Award.
All-Time Illinois Athletes of the Year
1940 William J. Hapac, basketball & baseball 1941 John Drish, basketball & baseball 1942 Andy Phillip, basketball & baseball 1943 Andy Phillip, basketball & baseball 1944 Buddy Young, football & track 1945 Walton "Junior" Kirk, basketball 1946 Herbert McKenley, track 1947 Alex Agase, football & wrestling 1948 Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, football, basketball & track 1949 Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, football, basketball & track 1950 Russell Steger, football & baseball 1951 Don Sunderlage, basketball 1952 Charles Boerio, football 1953 Clive Follmer, basketball & baseball 1954 J.C. Caroline, football 1955 Paul Judson, basketball 1956 Em Lindbeck, football & baseball 1957 Abe Woodson, football & track 1958 Bob Mitchell, football & track 1959 Abe Grossfeld, gymnastics 1960 Bill Burrell, football 1961 Bill Brown, football & track 1962 Doug Mills, football, basketball & baseball 1963 Harold Holmes, gymnastics 1964 Dick Butkus, football 1965 Dick Butkus, football 1966 Jim Grabowski, football 1967 Jim Dawson, basketball 1968 Dave Scholz, basketball 1969 Dave Scholz, basketball 1970 Mike Price, basketball 1971 Lee LaBadie, track/cross country 1972 Rick Gross, track/cross country 1973-81 Award not given 1982 Tony Eason, football 1983 Tony Eason, football Marianne Dickerson, track/cross country 1984 Don Thorp, football Karen Brems, gymnastics 1985 Charles Lake, gymnastics Kelly McNee, track/cross country 1986 David Williams, football Jonelle Polk, basketball 1987 Darrin Fletcher, baseball Mary Eggers, volleyball 1988 Tim Simon, track Mary Eggers, volleyball 1989 David Zeddies, gymnastics Mary Eggers, volleyball 1990 Kendall Gill, basketball Laura Bush, volleyball 1991 Jon Llewellyn, wrestling Sarah Sharp, basketball Renee Heiken, golf 1992 Tim Simpson, football Len Sitko, track/cross country Renee Heiken, golf Tonja Buford, track 1993 Marko Koers, track Tonja Buford, track 1994 Anthony Jones, track Tina Rogers, volleyball 1995 Dana Howard, football Steve Marianetti, wrestling Tonya Williams, track 1996 Kevin Hardy, football Tonya Williams, track 1997 Ernest Benion, wrestling Ashley Berggren, basketball 1998 Eric Siebert, wrestling Ashley Berggren, basketball Yvonne Harrison, track & field 1999 Oliver Freelove, tennis Cristy Chapman, volleyball 2000 Jason Anderson, baseball Jessica Aveyard, swimming 2001 Adam Tirapelle, wrestling Perdita Felicien, track & field 2002 Kurt Kittner, football Perdita Felicien, track & field 2003 Amer Delic, tennis Matt Lackey, wrestling Perdita Felicien, track & field 2004 Justin Spring, gymnastics Leisha Alcia, soccer 2005 Deron Williams, basketball Cassie Hunt, track & field/cross country 2006 Justin Spring, gymnastics Cassie Hunt, track & field/cross country 2007 Kevin Anderson, tennis Yvonne Mensah, track & field 2008 J Leman, football Angela Bizzarri, track & field/cross country 2009 Paul Ruggeri, gymnastics Angela Bizzarri, track & field/cross country 2010 Scott Langley, golf Angela Bizzarri, track & field/cross country
All-Time Illinois Newcomers of the Year
1990 Steve Bridges, track & field/cross country Peggy Pullman, gymnastics 1991 Deon Thomas, basketball Mandy Cunningham, basketball 1992 Marko Koers, track & field Becky Biehl, golf 1993 Simeon Rice, football Kirsten Gleis, volleyball 1994 Jerry Turek, tennis Nicole "Punti" Viernes, gymnastics 1995 Robert Holcombe, football Erin Borske, volleyball 1996 Karl Roesler, wrestling Kim Berres, gymnastics 1997 Chris Jones, track & field Cary Franklin, tennis Tisha Ponder, track & field 1998 Adam Tirapelle, wrestling Aleisha Latimer, track & field 1999 Cory Bradford, basketball Jason Van Swol, track & field Allison Curtin, basketball 2000 Brandon Lloyd, football Shavonna Hunter, basketball 2001 Amer Delic, tennis Phil Stolt, tennis Jennifer McGaffigan, tennis Susanna Kallur, track & field 2002 Drew Davidson, baseball Ashley Williams, gymnastics 2003 Alex Tirapelle, wrestling Rajeev Ram, tennis Rachelle Coriddi, softball 2004 E.B. Halsey, football Cassie Hunt, track & field/cross country 2005 Kevin Anderson, tennis Macall Harkins, tennis 2006 Kyle Hudson, football/baseball Julie Crall, gymnastics 2007 Gakologelwang Masheto, track & field Angela Bizzarri, track & field/cross country 2008 Arrelious Benn, football Allison Buckley, gymnastics 2009 Andrew Riley, track & field Michelle Bartsch, volleyball 2010 D.J. Richardson, basketball Pepper Gay, softball