Long Named To Big Ten Icons List

Sept. 5, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Big Ten Network has named Iowa’s Chuck Long and Illinois’ George Halas as Big Ten Icons numbers 43 and 44, respectively. 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 on www.BigTenIcons.com based solely on their collegiate playing careers.

Long was lightly recruited out of Wheaton, Ill., but went on to greatness as Iowa’s quarterback from 1981-85. He led the Hawkeyes to a memorable No. 1 vs. No. 2 victory against Michigan as a senior, and took Iowa to the Rose Bowl that year. Long was the 1985 Heisman Trophy runner-up to Bo Jackson, and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He was the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in a career. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath writes “Long was at the forefront of big-armed quarterbacks who brought the passing game to the Big Ten and performed a total makeover on its stodgy, ground-oriented image.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Long, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.

Long was a two-time (1983-85) MVP for the Hawkeyes and was a consensus all-America choice in 1985. He was named the league’s MVP that same year and won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback. Long threw a bowl game record six touchdown passes against Texas in the 1984 Freedom Bowl. He is believed to be the only player in college history to play in five bowl games. He was named to the Gannett News Services all-time Iowa football team in 2000.

Long’s name, 25-years later, is still a common site in the Iowa records book. He is tops in career total offense (10,254 yards), touchdown passes (74), completion percentage (65%), pass attempts, (1,203) and completions (782), along with a record 22 straight completions in a game. He is currently an assistant coach at Kansas University.

Former Iowa Coach Hayden Fry, a Hall of Famer himself, said coaching Long was easy and enjoyable.

“Charlie had that unique combination of being very gifted and coachable at the same time,” said Fry. “When those two traits are put together, it’s a real treat to work with a player. He’s certainly deserves to be ranked up there with the top Big Ten quarterbacks of all time.”

Long is the second Iowa athlete named to the Big Ten Icons list. Wrestler (and current Iowa coach) Tom Brands was the first person named to the list at the number 50 spot.

Halas is considered one of the founding fathers of professional football, but the Chicago native got his start as a two-way end for Illinois from 1916-18. Halas was a force on Illinois’ 1918 Big Ten championship defense, a unit that surrendered only two points per game and shut out five of its seven opponents.

Icons 50 through 21 are being unveiled through Sept. 16 at www.BigTenIcons.com. The website also features 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.

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 at8 PM 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.

No. 50 – Tom Brands, Iowa wrestling (1989-92)
No. 49 – Megan Hodge, Penn State women’s volleyball (2006-09)
No. 48 – Drew Brees, Purdue football (1997-2000)
No. 47 – Chris Spielman, Ohio State football (1984-87)
No. 46 – LaVar Arrington, Penn State football (1997-99)
No. 45 – Rod Woodson, Purdue football (1983-86)
No. 44 – George Halas, Illinois football (1916-18)
No. 43 – Chuck Long, Iowa football (1981-85)