Big Ten Network to feature coaches on next 'Icons' (with poll)

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The Big Ten Network's next original series will focus on the league's iconic coaches in multiple sports, Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said today.

Starting this fall, the Big Ten Network plans to air 12 episodes of coaching icons, representing one coaching giant from each school. The network is working out the final details and later will announce the names. Longtime ABC college football announcer Keith Jackson once again will narrate the series.

"I think right now we’re going to do six football coaches in football season and six other coaches probably more toward January-February," Silverman said. "We’re just really trying to find those iconic coaches from whatever program they may be.

"This isn’t a close-ended series. The coaches aren’t being ranked. This is something we just envisioned to continually do more and more of as we go forward, whether they’re players or coaches."

"Big Ten Icons" was an original series that debuted last fall that featured the top 50 competitors among the league's 11 members. The upcoming coaches series will include the league's newest member, Nebraska.

"It's a series that our fans have responded to, and we wanted to get something going this year and our thought was to pick one from each school," Silverman said. "If they’re football, great. If they’re not football, that’s great too."

Some of the choices seem fairly easy for the new series. Here's a guess of what coaches will be highlighted:

  • Ohio State: Woody Hayes, football
  • Michigan: Bo Schembechler, football
  • Penn State: Joe Paterno, football
  • Nebraska: Tom Osborne, football
  • Wisconsin: Barry Alvarez, football
  • Indiana: Bob Knight, basketball
  • Purdue: Gene Keady, basketball
  • Michigan State: Tom Izzo, basketball (maybe Duffy Daugherty, football)

The others aren't as easy to predict. Is Northwestern's representative current women's lacrosse coach Kelly Amonte Hiller or short-term football coaches Gary Barnett, Ara Parseghian or current leader Pat Fitzgerald? Will Illinois go with football's Robert Zuppke or basketball's Lou Henson? Minnesota's football legend Murray Warmath or hockey legend Herb Brooks?

Iowa may have the toughest choice of all. Do you select Hayden Fry, who resurrected the football program to 14 bowl games after 20 consecutive losing seasons? Or do you pick Dan Gable, widely regarded as the greatest wrestling coach of all-time?

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