Brown and Spaeth honored by Big Ten for work on and off the field

Former Gophers center Phil Kessel earns award from NHL; U gymnast recruits excel while competing in J.O. National Championships.

Mark Remme

Two University graduates earned Big Ten honors last week relating to their success on the field and in the classroom.

Emily Brown and Matt Spaeth were selected as Minnesota’s recipients of the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Both were All-America selections last season while also earning bachelor’s degrees in their respective fields of study.

Brown, a track and cross country standout, earned three All-America honors during her stint with the Gophers. She was also an Academic All-America award finalist this year and earned a degree in nutrition in May.

Spaeth earned a degree in marketing while also capturing the 2006 John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.

He was an Associated Press first team All-America selection, and in April he was selected in the third round by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Big Ten Medal of Honor is the conference’s oldest award. First given in 1914, the award honored one student in the graduating class at each university that excelled both athletically and academically.

In 1982, the format was changed to include one female athlete alone with one male. Since its inception, more than 1,150 student athletes have earned the award.

Hoeppner remembered

Indiana football coach Terry Hoeppner died Tuesday due to complications from a brain tumor, according to Indiana University. He was 59.

Hoeppner, who was hired by Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi while Maturi was athletic director at Miami (Ohio) in 1999, coached just two seasons with the Hoosiers.

“Obviously, I am deeply saddened by the passing of coach Hoeppner,” Maturi said. “Terry was a true leader, and Indiana has lost not only a great coach, but more importantly, a great husband, father and friend.”

It is the second straight offseason that the Big Ten conference suffered a loss of such kind. Northwestern football coach Randy Walker died last July at the age of 52.

U gymnast recruits excel

Three future Minnesota gymnasts turned in impressive showings in the Junior Olympics National Championships.

Kristin Furukawa, Kendra Elm and Yuri Nagai competed in the events on May 19 and 20 in Mason, Ohio. The trio is slated to join the Gophers in the fall.

Furukawa posted four top-10 finishes in the event, including fourth in the all around, third on bars, eighth on floor and 10th on beam. It was her second time competing in the J.O. National Championships.

Elm qualified for the event for the second time, but due to injury it was her first time competing. She tied for 10th place in the bars.

Nagai, a native of Japan, also competed for the first time in the event.

Though she qualified in past seasons, she could not participate because she was not a U.S. citizen. Due to a petition to allow noncitizens to compete, she was able to take part this year.

Nagai suffered an elbow injury early in the season but was able to compete at J.O. nationals and had a high score of 9.275 on the bars.

Kessel honored

Former Gophers center Phil Kessel received the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Thursday for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey at the 2007 NHL Awards Show in Toronto.

Kessel, 19, who spent one season with the Gophers before joining the Boston Bruins, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December. He missed 12 games while recovering from surgery before rejoining the team.

A native of Madison, Wis., Kessel was the 2005-06 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year while tallying 18 goals and 33 assists in his one year with the Gophers.

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy was initiated in 1968 to honor Masterton, a member of the Minnesota North Stars, who died due to an injury suffered in a hockey game.

Moseley joins staff

Marisa Moseley is set to join the women’s basketball coaching staff for the 2007-08 season.

Moseley, who previously was an assistant coach at the University of Denver, replaced Danielle O’Banion, who accepted a high school head coaching position in Virginia.

Moseley is set to work with the Gophers’ post players as she did while helping the Pioneers to a 20-11 record last season.

A 2004 Boston University graduate, Moseley finished her four-year playing career as the Terriers’ leading shot blocker with 114. She helped lead Boston University to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2003 and was voted defensive player of the year by her teammates.