Men's Golf Postseason Honors Announced

Ohio State's Colin Biles and David Vallina recognized by league coaches

May 2, 2007

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PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Two days after two teams - Michigan State and Minnesota - became the first in conference history to tie for the Big Ten Men's Golf Championships, the 11 coaches have selected 12 student-athletes for All-Conference honors, with two individuals and one coach earning special recognition. Michigan State senior Matt Harmon was named the conference's unanimous Player of the Year, while his mentor Mark Hankins was recognized by his peers as Coach of the Year. Penn State's Kevin Foley was honored by the coaches as Freshman of the Year. In addition, 11 honorees were also chosen for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Fresh off his second career third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, Harmon became the second Spartan to earn Player of the Year honors and the first since Heath Fell in 1993. To date, Harmon has recorded two individual wins and six top-five finishes to go along with a 73.28 stroke average. He captured back-to-back victories prior to the Big Ten Championships, winning at the Kepler Invitational and tying for first with teammate Jack Newman at the Fossum/Spartan Invitational. He twice received Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors for his efforts. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native finished the season rated first in the Golfweek/Sagarin Big Ten Player Ratings, having recorded an overall head-to-head record of 253-26-9 against conference golfers he competed against this season and a mark of 16-5-1 versus the Big Ten's top six players.

The same season Michigan State earned its first Player of the Year, Penn State saw Dirk Ayers become its first Freshman of the Year in school history. Fourteen years later, the Nittany Lions have their second in Foley. The Somerville, N.J., native finished the season rated 12th in the Big Ten by Golfweek/Sagarin, having compiled a 159-62-6 record against his conference peers. He finished his first Big Ten Championships in 24th place at 306 (73-81-76-76) and carded five top-10 finishes throughout the year. His best result came at the Marshall Intercollegiate where he tied for second at 138 (68-70). In fact, that tournament was the third-straight event he finished among the top seven, as he was fourth at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate and seventh at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate. Foley, a second-team All-Big Ten selection, currently ranks second on the team with a 73.10 scoring average, trailing 2007 first-team All-Conference honoree Robert Rohanna.


For Hankins, the MSU mentor earns his second Coach of the Year accolade as he was first honored after the Spartan's Big Ten Championship in 2005. Hankins is the only Michigan State coach to earn the honor since the award was first given in 1988. This year's conference title was the school's third and the second under Hankins. The victory was also the second-consecutive tournament title and third overall this season for the Spartans. Hankins coached the Green and White to wins at the Boilermaker Invitational and the Fossum/Spartan Invitational, which was played on MSU's home course. This season marks just the third time in school history and first since 1979 that an MSU team won three events in a season.

The six-man All-Big Ten first team is highlighted by the lone unanimous selection in Harmon and Minnesota's Bronson La'Cassie - the conference's first four-time first-team selection since Northwestern's Luke Donald was honored from 1998-2001. Overall, La'Cassie is just the ninth golfer to earn four All-Big Ten accolades in conference history joining Donald and Wildcat Scott Rowe (1994-97), Illinois' Steve Stricker (1986-89), Ohio State's Rick Borg (1977-80), Greg Ladehoff (1981-84), Clark Burroughs (1982-85) and Chris Smith (1988-91) and Purdue's Lenny Hartlage (1984-87). La'Cassie was also named the conference's Freshman of the Year in 2004 and the 2006 Les Bolstad Award winner. Purdue's Pariya Junhasavasdikul, the 2007 Big Ten Champion and Les Bolstad Award winner, earned his second first-team All-Big Ten accolade along with last year's Freshman of the Year, Indiana's Jorge Campillo. Joining Harmon as first-time honorees were Minnesota's Niall Turner and Penn State's Rohanna.

All-Conference second-team members include Illinois' Patrick Nagle, Michigan State's Ryan Brehm, Northwestern's David Merkow, Ohio State's Colin Biles, Penn State's Foley and Purdue's Peter Richardson.

The conference office also announced today honorees from each of the league's 11 men's golf squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for men's golf are Illinois' Kyle Hosick, Indiana's Santiago Quirarte, Iowa's Dan Holterhaus, Michigan's Kevin Dore, Michigan State's Jack Newman, Minnesota's Ben Pisani, Northwestern's Chris Wilson, Ohio State's David Vallina, Penn State's Foley, Purdue's Junhasavasdikul and Wisconsin's Pat Duffy. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.

A complete listing of the 2007 All-Big Ten Teams and individual honors follows.

Jorge Campillo, IndianaPatrick Nagle, Illinois
Matt Harmon, Michigan State (*Unanimous)Ryan Brehm, Michigan State
Bronson La'Cassie, MinnesotaDavid Merkow, Northwestern
Niall Turner, MinnesotaColin Biles, Ohio State
Robert Rohanna, Penn StateKevin Foley, Penn State
Pariya Junhasavasdikul, PurduePeter Richardson, Purdue

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Matt Harmon, Michigan State (*Unanimous)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mark Hankins, Michigan State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Kevin Foley, Penn State

Kyle Hosick, Illinois
Santiago Quirarte, Indiana
Dan Holterhaus, Iowa
Kevin Dore, Michigan
Jack Newman, Michigan State
Ben Pisani, Minnesota
Chris Wilson, Northwestern
David Vallina, Ohio State
Kevin Foley, Penn State
Pariya Junhasavasdikul, Purdue
Pat Duffy, Wisconsin

Colin Biles was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.