Brands Named Big Ten Icon

Sept. 2, 2010

Chicago, Ill. – University of Iowa Head Wrestling Coach Tom Brands was named one of 50 Big Ten Icons by the Big Ten Network earlier today.

Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history based solely on their collegiate playing careers. The countdown of the 50 student-athletes began with Brands, who is No. 50, and Penn State volleyball star Megan Hodge, who was No. 49. Icons 50 through 21 will be unveiled between now and Sept. 16 at The website also will feature essays, video and other key facts about each student-athletes’ career. Viewers can also participate in the “Talk of the Locker Room” contest with a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Weekly winners will take home a 55-inch Phillips HD television.

Brands, who wrestled for Iowa from 1989-92, was a four-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion in the 134-pound division. He was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the 1992 NCAA Championships. The native of Sheldon, Iowa, led the Hawkeyes to consecutive national titles and posted an individual career record of 158-7-2.

“It is an honor to be selected as part of such an exclusive and competitive group of athletes,” said Brands. “The Big Ten Conference has a strong tradition and that is something we are working on continuing with the Iowa wrestling program.”

A three-time Big Ten Wrestling Coach of the Year honoree, Brands is in his fifth season at the helm for the Hawkeyes. A 1996 Olympic gold medalist and member of wrestling’s Hall of Fame, Brands is only the eighth wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. He has an 82-6 overall and 29-3 Big Ten coaching record at Iowa, and a 99-26 career mark. Iowa has won the last three NCAA and Big Ten team titles, posting a 68-1 dual record. The Hawkeyes have also won the last three Big Ten dual meet regular season titles, sporting perfect 8-0 conference dual marks each year.

In an essay for, former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath writes, “Iowa wrestlers are tough, committed, disciplined people. For more than 20 years, Tom Brands has personified those traits for the Iowa Hawkeyes.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Brands, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at

Hawkeye fans will have to tune in to where quarterback Chuck Long ranks in the Big Ten Icon list. The life-size bobblehead of Long, which was created as part of a promotion that kicked off the 2010 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament in March, will be on display at FRYfest Friday, and inside the Krause Family Plaza at Kinnick Stadium before Iowa kicks off the season against Eastern Illinois Saturday. Long played quarterback for the Hawkeyes from 1981-85 and still holds school records for passing attempts in a career (1,203), completions in a career (782), consecutive pass completions (22), completion percentage in a season (67.1) and career (65.0), passing yards in a career (10,461), touchdown passes in a season (27) and career (74) and total offense for a career (10,254).

The television show, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 8 p.m. (CT) every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.

About the Big Ten Network: A joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Networks, the Big Ten Network is the first internationally distributed network dedicated to covering one of the premier collegiate conferences in the country. With approximately 350 live sporting events, and nearly all of them in HD, the network is the ultimate destination for Big Ten fans and alumni across the country, allowing them to see their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. The network operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, showcasing a wide array of classic-to-current sports and televising more Olympic sporting events and women’s sports than has ever been aired on any other network. Original programming highlights activities and accomplishments of some of the nation’s finest universities. Each year, the network offers between 35 and 40 football games, 105 regular season men’s basketball games; 55 women’s basketball games; dozens of Big Ten Championship events; studio shows; coaches’ shows; and classic games. The network is available to more than 75 million homes across the United States and Canada, and currently has agreements with more than 300 affiliates, including AT&T U-Verse, Atlantic Broadband, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox (Cleveland, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Omaha), DirecTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Rogers Cable (Canada), Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct (Canada), Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS. For updated information on the Big Ten Network, go to