Karras Named Big Ten Icon

Sept. 10, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Big Ten Network has named Iowa’s Alex Karras and Michigan’s Desmond Howard as Big Ten Icons numbers 33 and 34, respectively. Karras joins Hawkeyes Tom Brands (No. 50) and Chuck Long (No. 43), already on the list.

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.

Karras, a two-time All-American defensive tackle at Iowa from 1955-57, was the anchor of a Hawkeye defense that shut out its final two opponents to earn the school’s first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl. As a senior, Karras won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. He also finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting in 1957.

Karras, Iowa’s first two-time football All-American honoree, was named to the school’s all-time football team and member of the inaugural class of the Iowa Lettermen’s Club Hall of Fame. He was also a two-time member of the first all-Big Ten team.

Karras would eventually become known as a Renaissance man, becoming an actor, writer, broadcaster and film producer later in life. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Dan McGrath writes, “He liked to say that football was only a small part of his life, which may have been true. But he was awfully good at it.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Karras, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.

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 at 8 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)
No. 42 Curt Warner, Penn State football (1979-82)
No. 41 Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern football (1993-96)
No. 40 Bobby Bell, Minnesota football (1960-62)
No. 39 Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, Ohio State football (1953-55)
No. 38 Calbert Cheaney, Indiana basketball (1989-93)
No. 37 Leroy Keyes, Purdue football (1966-68)
No. 36 Jim Abbott, Michigan baseball (1985-88)
No. 35 Glenn Robinson, Purdue basketball (1992-94)
No. 34 Desmond Howard, Michigan football (1989-91)
No. 33 Alex Karras, Iowa football (1955-57)