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Penn State Athletics: Highlights of 23 Years of Big Ten Competition

by on June 04, 2013 12:30 PM

Twenty-three years ago today, the Big Ten Council of Presidents formally admitted Penn State as the conference's 11th member. As a result the university was able to claim its place among some of the nation's most accomplished and profitable athletic programs. Penn State's current share of revenue, at $25.7 million is a far cry from its days as an independent. Penn State is one of only 23 Division I programs to turn a profit in 2012, to the tune of $14 million in profits. 

Here are just a few of the highlights of the past 23 years in conference play.

March, 1991: Penn State wins its second NCAA Fencing Championship, the university's last national title as a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference.

August 30, 1991: The women's volleyball team wins Penn State's first event as a Big Ten member beating Pittsburgh, 3-2.

November, 1992: Women's volleyball gives Penn State its first Big Ten Championship, sharing the 1992 title with Illinois with a 19-1 conference record.

February 9, 1993: Coach Bruce Parkhill's men's basketball squad takes No. 1 Indiana to double overtime before falling, 88-84, in a controversial game on ESPN and in front of a electric Rec Hall crowd.

September 4, 1993: Penn State ends 106 years of football independence with a 38-20 win over Minnesota in its first game as a Big Ten member.

November 7, 1993: In the third season as a member of the conference, Penn State men's soccer wins its first Big Ten Championship by defeating Wisconsin, 1-0.

March, 1994: Kerry McCoy becomes Penn State's first NCAA wrestling champion in the Big Ten era, capturing the heavyweight title. McCoy would go on to win a second national title.

November 12, 1994: Penn State clinches its first Big Ten football title after falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter to Illinois. Penn State would eventually win the game following a 96-yard, 15-play drive late in the fourth quarter to beat Illinois, 35-31, in Champaign.

January 2, 1995: Penn State beats Oregon, 38-20, to win its first Rose Bowl and become the first 12-0 team in the Big Ten's 99th year of existence. The Nittany Lions finish No. 2 to Nebraska in the final polls.

January 11, 1996: The Nittany Lions play their first game in the 15,261-seat Bryce Jordan Center, beating Minnesota, 76-51. Penn State would finish the year in second place in the Big Ten.

May 13, 1996: The baseball team beats Ohio State, 8-7, in the final game of the regular season to clinch its first Big Ten regular season championship. Penn State finishes with a 19-8 conference record and a half game ahead of Indiana.

March 24, 1998: The Lady Lions knock off Baylor on the Bears' home court, 59-56, to win the inaugural WNIT Championship.

November, 1998: Coach Patrick Farmer's women's soccer team wins its first of a decade plus of consecutive Big Ten titles.

March, 1999: Nittany Lion women's gymnast Ellen Casey is named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year.

December 3, 1999: Just five years after the program's inaugural season, Penn State women's soccer becomes the first Big Ten team to compete at the Women's College Cup.

March 9, 2001: The Nittany Lions men's basketball team beats No. 2 Michigan State, 65-63, to advance to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the second straight year.

March 18, 2001: The Nittany Lions stun fifth-ranked and No. 2 seed North Carolina men's basketball team, 82-74, in the Louisiana Superdome to advance to the NCAA East Regional semifinals.

December 4, 2001: Christie Welsh becomes the first player in Big Ten women's soccer history and only second ever Nittany Lion to win the prestigious Hermann Trophy.

November 17, 2002: Penn State men's soccer tops Michigan, 2-1, to capture the program's second Big Ten Championship, gaining the crown at home on Jeffrey Field.

March 28, 2003: Penn State men's gymnastics wins its first Big Ten Championship since joining the league in 1992.

January 18, 2004: Kelly Mazzante scores 24 points in Penn State's 79-64 win over Illinois to break the Big Ten Conference women's basketball all-time scoring record.

Fall, 2005: Penn State becomes the first Big Ten institution to win five conference championships during the fall sports season, earning titles in field hockey, football, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball.

October 28, 2005: Field hockey wraps up its first-ever perfect Big Ten regular season with a 4-3 overtime win vs. No. 9 Indiana, capturing the Big Ten Championship outright.

January 3, 2006: Kevin Kelly kicks the game-winning field goal in the third overtime to lift Penn State to a 26-23 win over Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl. The Big Ten champions finish 11-1 and No. 3 in the polls. Penn State claims a share of the conference title.

April 4, 2008: Penn State men's gymnastics captures its second Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions dominate the field, scoring a 360.450, easily outdistancing second place Illinois (357.300). Penn State's margin of victory was the largest in 14 years at the Big Ten Championships.

February 1, 2009: The Nittany Lion men's basketball team rallies to defeat No. 9 eventual NCAA runner-up Michigan State, 72-68, for the program's first win in East Lansing.

May 19, 2009: Penn State wins its second consecutive Big Ten Outdoor Women's Track title. Shavon Greaves took top honors in the 100 and 200 meters. Beth Alford-Sullivan named Big Ten Women's Outdoor Track Coach of the Year.

March 27, 2010: Brandi Personett is named Big Ten Women's Gymnast of the Year for the second straight year with an all-around victory at the Big Ten Championships. Sharaya Musser is selected the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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