UW Health Sports Medicine 

Ahmed and Byrne honored as Big Ten's best

ON WISCONSIN <b>Junior Mohammed Ahmed is UW's second-consecutive Big Ten Athlete of the Year honoree.</b>
Junior Mohammed Ahmed is UW's second-consecutive Big Ten Athlete of the Year honoree.

Nov. 1, 2011

MADISON, Wis. -- Mick Byrne has a conference coach-of-the-year trophy to add to his collection, just as he has for each of the last 21 years.

For the fourth time in as many seasons as head coach of the Wisconsin men’s cross country program, Byrne was named Big Ten Coach of the Year as the league announced its postseason award winners Tuesday.

Also honored was junior Mohammed Ahmed, who was voted the league’s Athlete of the Year after claiming the individual Big Ten title Sunday in a meet-record time of 23 minutes, 18 seconds.

In addition, sophomore Michael Brice was named the Badgers’ recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Byrne was recognized after guiding the Badgers to a dominant performance that saw UW place five runners in the top six at last weekend’s conference championship meet. The showing allowed Wisconsin to claim a record 13th-consecutive Big Ten team title, including its fourth in as many seasons under Byrne’s direction.

Added to the 17 consecutive Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year awards he claimed as mentor at Iona College, Byrne has been named the top coach in his league for each of the last 21 seasons.

That streak matches Byrne’s run of 21 straight conference championships, which began with his first crown as Iona’s coach in 1990.

UW coaches have claimed 11 consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, with Jerry Schumacher claiming seven straight awards prior to Byrne’s arrival, from 2001 to 2007. All told, Badgers coaches have claimed 18 of the 25 Big Ten coaching awards presented since the honor debuted in 1987.

Ahmed led the way for a near sweep by the Badgers and joined teammates Maverick Darling and Elliot Krause in earning first-team All-Big Ten honors for the third-consecutive year. Prior to Sunday, only five athletes in UW’s decorated distance running history had been named to the All-Big Ten first team in three consecutive seasons.

Ahmed becomes the eighth Badgers runner to be named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, and the second in as many seasons after 2010 Big Ten champion Landon Peacock earned the award last year.

All told, Wisconsin has claimed 10 of the last 14 Big Ten Athlete of the Year awards.

The Badgers now focus on defending their nine consecutive regional championships as they head to the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Big Ten Athlete of the Year
1991 Donovan Bergstrom
1998 Matt Downin
1999 Matt Downin
2000 Jason Vanderhoof
2002 Matt Tegenkamp
2003 Simon Bairu
2004 Simon Bairu
2005 Simon Bairu
2007 Matt Withrow
2010 Landon Peacock
2011 Mohammed Ahmed
Big Ten Coach of the Year
1989 Martin Smith
1991 Martin Smith
1922 Martin Smith
1994 Martin Smith
1995 Martin Smith
1996 Martin Smith
1999 Jerry Schumacher
2001 Jerry Schumacher
2002 Jerry Schumacher
2003 Jerry Schumacher
2004 Jerry Schumacher
2005 Jerry Schumacher
2006 Jerry Schumacher
2007 Jerry Schumacher
2008 Mick Byrne
2009 Mick Byrne
2010 Mick Byrne
2011 Mick Byrne
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