Leopold second Gopher named Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year

The Big Ten Conference has named Jordan Leopold its 2002 Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year. He is only the second Gopher to receive the honor in the 21st year of the award.

Leopold led the Gopher hockey team to the NCAA Championship in April and racked up numerous individual awards along the way. He became the school’s fourth Hobey Baker Award winner and two-time All-American. Leopold finished his career as the all-time leading goal scorer among defenseman in school history. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. National Team which competed at the World Championships this past May in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Leopold joins Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller as the only college hockey players to receive the award. Miller earned the honor last season. Gymnast John Roethlisberger is the only other Gopher (1993) to receive the award.

Frye joins women’s hoops

Brian Frye was hired as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Gophers women’s basketball program. Frye, formerly the head girls basketball coach at Burnsville High School (MN) for the past two years, begins his position immediately.

Frye, a Burnsville, Minn., native, served as the Director of the Minnesota Summitt Girls AAU Basketball Program in 2000 and founded the Minnesota Summitt Showcase for College Coaches to assist in the promotion of Minnesota talent to collegiate recruiters. He also coached the Summitt 17 and under girls basketball team to a ninth-place finish in the National AAU Tournament in 2000.

Stokes hired by sofball

Jennifer Stokes has been hired as the assistant softball coach at the University of Minnesota and begins her duties July 1.

Stokes was a volunteer coach at Florida A&M in the 2002 season. While a volunteer coach, FAMU went 30-30 and played in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship title game in 2002.

Obleman joins soccer staff

Former Gopher soccer player Ellen Obleman has been hired as a assistant women’s soccer coach. Obleman, formerly Ellen Peterfeso, played for the Gophers in 1993 and 1994 seasons and was a volunteer coach this spring before being named to the full-time position. Obleman will assume her post immediately.

Obleman spent the 2000 season at Georgia, working as the Bulldogs’ assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under former Gopher coach Sue (Montagne) Patberg. During the 1998 and 1999 seasons, Obleman served as an assistant at Kansas. She broke into the coaching ranks in 1996, when she was an assistant coach at Kentucky.

U takes 7th in Sears Cup

Behind the strength of three national championships, the University of Minnesota placed seventh in the 2001-02 Sears Directors’ Cup standings. The Gophers’ seventh-place showing is their highest in the nine- year history of the award, presented annually by Sears Roebuck and Co., USA Today and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country.

Stanford captured the Sears Directors’ Cup for the eighth consecutive year. The Cardinal scored points in the maximum 20 sports, 10 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports, to tally 1,499 points. Texas was a distant runner-up with 1,110.5 points, while Florida (1,078), North Carolina (1065.5) and UCLA (1,026) rounded out the top five. Michigan edged Minnesota for Big Ten Conference honors, as the Wolverines accumulated 917 points to 886.5 for the Gophers.

The Gophers used national titles in the sports of men’s hockey, men’s golf and wrestling to pace the way to their highest Sears Cup ranking. Minnesota earned points in 18 sports.