Ohio State’s Young, Wisconsin’s Rettke Named Big Ten Athletes of the Year

Buckeye football defensive end, Badger middle blocker claim 2019-20 honors

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Ohio State junior defensive end Chase Young was honored as the 2019-20 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, and Wisconsin junior middle blocker Dana Rettke was recognized as the 2019-20 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Thursday.

Young is the fourth Ohio State student in the past six years to be selected as the Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year and the first since wrestler Kyle Snyder earned consecutive honors in 2017 and 2018, while this marks the seventh time a Buckeye has received the honor. Young also is the seventh football standout to claim the award and first since Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne in 2000, months after Dayne earned the Heisman Trophy.

A team captain in 2019, Young earned six major individual awards while helping the Buckeyes to their third consecutive Big Ten title and a berth in the College Football Playoff national semifinals at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. He led the nation in quarterback sacks (16.5) and sacks per game (1.38) while finishing second in tackles-for-loss (21.5) and TFLs per game (1.8). The Upper Marlboro, Md., native was named the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, the conference’s Smith-Brown Defensive Linemen of the Year and was the recipient of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award. In addition, Young was just the ninth defensive player out of 159 total finalists since 1982 to be selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

On the national level, Young won both the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, both of which recognize the nation’s outstanding defensive player, and the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end. He was a unanimous All-American and the nucleus of a defense that finished ranked No. 1 in total defense (259.7 yards per game), No. 2 in passing yardage (156.0 yards per game), red zone scores (66 pct.) and pass efficiency (97.50) and No. 4 in scoring (13.7 points per game).

In three years as a Buckeye, Young played in 38 games and earned 23 starts. His career total of 31.0 sacks is second-most in program history, behind only Mike Vrabel (36.0 from 1993-96).

A criminology and criminal justice major, Young announced in January that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Last month, he was the second overall selection by the Washington Redskins.

Rettke is the first Wisconsin student to be named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year since 1997, when track & field standout Kathy Butler shared the honor with Minnesota swimmer Gretchen Hegener. Rettke also is the fourth volleyball student to earn the award and the first since Penn State’s Megan Hodge in 2010.

Rettke helped lead the Badgers to the 2019 NCAA national championship match and earned her third consecutive selection as a first-team All-American (2017, 2018, 2019). The 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year, Rettke was also selected to both the 2019 NCAA Championship All-Tournament team and 2019 NCAA Regional All-Tournament team.

An All-Big Ten selection, she played and started all 32 matches and played in 110 sets. Rettke led the Big Ten with 1.45 blocks per set, in addition to leading the Badgers and ranking third in the Big Ten with a .390 hitting percentage. She also led Wisconsin and ranked fifth in the conference with 3.75 kills per set, setting a single-season school record. Rettke recorded double-figure kills in 26 matches.

Originally from Riverdale, Ill., Rettke competed with the U.S. National Team during the summer of 2019, winning the Volleyball Nations League and qualifying for the 2020 (now 2021) Tokyo Olympics. She also was a finalist for both the 2020 AAU James E. Sullivan Award and 2019 Honda Sports Award.

Rettke is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection who is working towards her marketing degree and a certificate in education studies at Wisconsin.

Young and Rettke were among a field of nominees that included three national champions, 23 All-Americans, 11 Big Ten champions, 11 conference Players of the Year and two who collected a national player of the year accolade.

The Big Ten Conference has recognized a Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year since 1982 and first honored a Female Athlete of the Year in 1983. The Big Ten Athletes of the Year are selected by a panel of conference media members from nominations submitted by each institution.

The complete list of 2019-20 Athlete of the Year nominations, as well as the list of all-time winners for each award, can be found below.



Illinois Ayo Dosunmu, basketball Jacqueline Quade, volleyball
Indiana Jack Maher, soccer Ali Patberg, basketball
Iowa Luka Garza, basketball Katie Birch, field hockey
Maryland Jared Bernhardt, lacrosse Kaila Charles, basketball
Michigan Felix Auböck, swimming Maggie MacNeil, swimming
Michigan State Cassius Winston, basketball Valery Plata, golf
Minnesota Antoine Winfield Jr., football Lexy Ramler, gymnastics
Nebraska George Kusche, cross country/
track & field
Raquel Orozco, bowling
Northwestern Ryan Deakin, wrestling Calypso Sheridan, swimming
Ohio State Chase Young, football Jincy Dunne, ice hockey
Penn State Lamar Stevens, basketball Danae Rivers, cross country/
track & field
Purdue Waseem Williams, track & field Janae’ Moffitt, track & field
Rutgers Christopher Gotterup, golf Amirah Ali, soccer
Wisconsin Jonathan Taylor, football Dana Rettke, volleyball

1982 – Jim Spivey, Indiana, cross country/track & field
1983 – Ed Banach, Iowa, wrestling
1984 – Sunder Nix, Indiana, track & field
1985 – Barry Davis, Iowa, wrestling
1986 – Chuck Long, Iowa, football
1987 – Steve Alford, Indiana, basketball
1988 – Jim Abbott, Michigan, baseball
1989 – Glen Rice, Michigan, basketball
1990 – Anthony Thompson, Indiana, football
1991 – Mike Barrowman, Michigan, swimming
1992 – Desmond Howard, Michigan, football
1993 – John Roethlisberger, Minnesota, gymnastics
1994 – Glenn Robinson, Purdue, basketball
1995 – Tom Dolan, Michigan, swimming
1996 – Eddie George, Ohio State, football
1997 – Blaine Wilson, Ohio State, gymnastics
1998 – Charles Woodson, Michigan, football
1999 – Luke Donald, Northwestern, golf
2000 – Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, football
2001 – Ryan Miller, Michigan State, ice hockey
2002 – Jordan Leopold, Minnesota, ice hockey
2003 – Amer Delic, Illinois, tennis/Matt Lackey, Illinois, wrestling
2004 – Damion Hahn, Minnesota, wrestling
2005 – Luis Vargas, Penn State, gymnastics
2006 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan, swimming
2007 – Cole Konrad, Minnesota, wrestling
2008 – Brent Metcalf, Iowa, wrestling
2009 – Jake Herbert, Northwestern, wrestling
2010 – Evan Turner, Ohio State, basketball
2011 – David Boudia, Purdue, diving
2012 – Draymond Green, Michigan State, basketball
2013 – Derek Drouin, Indiana, track & field
2014 – David Taylor, Penn State, wrestling
2015 – Logan Stieber, Ohio State, wrestling
2016 – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, basketball
2017 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling

2018 – Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, wrestling

2019 – Bo Nickal, Penn State, wrestling

2020 – Chase Young, Ohio State, football

1983 – Judi Brown, Michigan State, track & field
1984 – Lisa Ishikawa, Northwestern, softball
1985 – Cathy Branta, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1986 – Stephanie Herbst, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1987 – Jennifer Averill, Northwestern, field hockey/lacrosse
1988 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1989 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1990 – Suzy Favor, Wisconsin, cross country/track & field
1991 – Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse, Michigan State, diving/Joy Holmes, Purdue, basketball
1992 – MaChelle Joseph, Purdue, basketball
1993 – Lara Hooiveld, Michigan, swimming
1994 – Kristy Gleason, Iowa, field hockey
1995 – Laura Davis, Ohio State, volleyball
1996 – Olga Kalinovskaya, Penn State, fencing
1997 – Kathy Butler, Wisconsin, track & field/Gretchen Hegener, Minnesota, swimming
1998 – Sara Griffin, Michigan, softball
1999 – Stephanie White-McCarty, Purdue, basketball
2000 – Lauren Cacciamani, Penn State, volleyball
2001 – Katie Douglas, Purdue, basketball
2002 – Christie Welsh, Penn State, soccer
2003 – Perdita Felicien, Illinois, track & field
2004 – Kelly Mazzante, Penn State, basketball
2005 – Jennie Ritter, Michigan, softball
2006 – Tiffany Weimer, Penn State, soccer
2007 – Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, basketball
2008 – Hannah Nielsen, Northwestern, lacrosse
2009 – Maria Hernandez, Purdue, golf
2010 – Megan Hodge, Penn State, volleyball
2011 – Shannon Smith, Northwestern, lacrosse
2012 – Christina Manning, Ohio State, track & field
2013 – Amanda Kessel, Minnesota, ice hockey
2014 – Dani Bunch, Purdue, track & field
2015 – Taylor Cummings, Maryland, lacrosse
2016 – Rachel Banham, Minnesota, basketball
2017 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming

2018 – Lilly King, Indiana, swimming

2019 – Megan Gustafson, Iowa, basketball

2020 – Dana Rettke, Wisconsin, volleyball