Michigan State Announces Major Athletic Award Winners

Posted at 8:23 AM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 08:24:33-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Seven Michigan State University student-athletes have been recognized for excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom, earning the school's highest athletic awards for 2018-19.

The awards include the George Alderton Male and Female Athletes of the Year, Big Ten Conference Medals of Honor, Chester Brewer Leadership Award and Dr. James Feurig Achievement and Service Award. A panel of administrators and coaches selected the winners.

Men’s basketball junior Cassius Winston (Detroit, Michigan) was named the George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year, while junior golfer Ally Geer-Park (Brighton, Michigan) and senior track and field athlete Asya Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio) shared George Alderton Female Co-Athletes of the Year honors.

Winston was a consensus Second Team All-American, including earning first-team honors from The Sporting News and Associated Press, and was named Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player and NCAA Tournament East Regional Most Outstanding Player as MSU captured the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the Final Four.

Geer-Park was named First Team All-Big Ten, captured two individual titles, and qualified as an individual for the NCAA Championships. Reynolds won a Big Ten Championship in the heptathlon during the outdoor season, and went on to earn Second Team All-America honors.

Football senior Khari Willis (Jackson, Michigan) and gymnastics senior Jessica Ling (Wixom, Michigan) were named Michigan State's recipients for the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor. The Big Ten Conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work."

Willis and men’s soccer senior DeJuan Jones (Lansing, Michigan) shared the Chester Brewer Leadership Award.

Field hockey senior Bailey Higgins (Louisville, Kentucky) was named the Dr. James Feurig Achievement and Service Award recipient.


George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year – Cassius Winston (basketball)
George Alderton Female Co-Athletes of the Year – Ally Geer-Park (golf)/Asya Reynolds (track & field)
Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor (Male) – Khari Willis (football)
Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor (Female) – Jessica Ling (gymnastics)
Chester Brewer Leadership Award – DeJuan Jones (soccer)/Khari Willis (football)
Dr. James Feurig Achievement and Service Award – Bailey Higgins (field hockey)


(Presented to top male athlete of 2018-19)

WINNER: Cassius Winston (basketball)

Cassius Winston earned consensus All-America honors and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year as he helped lead the Spartans to the 2019 NCAA Final Four, the Big Ten Tournament Championship, a share of the Big Ten regular season title and a 32-7 record in one of the most memorable seasons in program history.

‘This is a tremendous honor and it’s something that means a lot to me,” Winston said. “We had a great season and I couldn’t have accomplished what I did without my teammates, my brothers. Everyone dreams about getting to the Final Four and we made memories as a team that we will never forget.

“To be recognized with some of the great athletes at Michigan State and to receive this award is very special for me and my family.”

The junior guard was a consensus second-team All-American, earning first-team honors from The Sporting News and the Associated Press. He averaged a team-best 18.8 points per game and set a Big Ten single-season record with 291 assists. He was named Most Outstanding Player of both the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament East Regional.

Winston was just the second player in Michigan State history, joining Morris Peterson in 2000, to win Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Regional Most Outstanding Player and earn first-team All-America honors in the same season.

The junior guard was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten Tournament after the Spartans topped Michigan, 65-60, in the championship game. In three games, he averaged 17.7 points, 7.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds.

He was one of only two players in the country to average at least 18.0 points per game, 7.0 assists per game and connect on at least 39.0 percent of his 3-point attempts last season.

Since 1992-93, Winston was one of only 18 Division I college basketball players to average at least 18.0 points and 7.0 assists per game, including one of three players last year (Ja Morant of Murray State and Colbey Ross of Pepperdine). Among that group of 18 players, Winston is one of just six from a Power Six Conference.

Winston was named the Big Ten Player of the Week a school record five times this season (Nov. 26, Dec. 31, Jan. 21, Jan. 28 and Feb. 25). He was also named the Most Valuable Player at the Las Vegas Invitational, averaging 19.5 points, 8.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in wins over UCLA and Texas.

"We wouldn't have accomplished all that we did last season without Cassius Winston, there's no question about it," MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. "He is a very deserving candidate for this award. Cassius has impressed me in so many ways, both on the floor and off. He made commitments to himself and to the program over the last three years and it has been great to see his growth.

“I’ve been fortunate to coach so many great players and to be recognized as the best at Michigan State is a great honor for Cassius among so many talented individuals here.”

Bridges becomes the ninth different Spartan basketball player (10 total honors) to be named the George Alderton Male Athlete of the Year.


2018-Miles Bridges (basketball) and Tim Ehrhardt (track & field); 2017-Tim Ehrhardt (track & field); 2016-Denzel Valentine (basketball); 2015-Jake Hildebrand (hockey); 2014-Darqueze Dennard (football); 2013-Le'Veon Bell (football); 2012-Draymond Green (basketball); 2011-Greg Jones (football); 2010-Greg Jones (football); 2009-Franklin Gomez (wrestling); 2008-Jeff Lerg (hockey); 2007-Jeff Lerg (hockey); 2006-Brad Gebauer (track & field); 2005-Nick Simmons (wrestling); 2004-Jeff Smoker (football); 2003-Charles Rogers (football); 2002-Paul Terek (track & field); 2001-Ryan Miller (hockey); 2000-Mateen Cleaves (basketball); 1999-Mateen Cleaves (basketball) and Mike York (hockey); 1998-Chad Alban (hockey); 1997-Reid Friedrichs (soccer); 1996-David Morgan (wrestling); 1995-Shawn Respert (basketball); 1994-Emilio Collins (wrestling); 1993-Bryan Smolinski (hockey); 1992-Anthony Hamm (cross country/track & field); 1991-Steve Smith (basketball); 1990-Kip Miller (hockey) and Percy Snow (football); 1989-Bobby Reynolds (hockey); 1988-Todd Krumm (football/baseball); 1987-Don McSween (hockey); 1986-Mike Donnelly (hockey), Lorenzo White (football), Scott Skiles (basketball); 1985-Sam Vincent (basketball); 1984-Carl Banks (football); 1983-Ron Scott (hockey); 1982-Ron Scott (hockey).


(Presented to top female athlete of 2018-19)

CO-WINNER: Ally Geer-Park (golf)

Ally Geer-Park is the third consecutive Spartan golfer to win the Alderton Award. The junior led MSU with a 73.24 scoring average, which ranked as the sixth-best single-season average in program history. Geer-Park now owns two of the six best single-season averages in program history, while her 72.9 career average is currently the best of any player.

For the first time in her career this past season, Geer-Park won a pair of tournaments. In the season-opening Mary Fossum Invitational, she tied a tournament record at 9-under-par 207 to share the tournament title. In March, she helped the Spartans to the Briar’s Creek Invitational title by claiming medalist honors in record fashion as her 13-under-par 203 was the lowest 54-hole score in school history. She carded three rounds in the 60s, including a pair of 67s, which tied a career best.

Geer-Park shot an even-par 72 on the final day of the NCAA East Lansing Regional at Forest Akers West to move up the leaderboard and earn a bid to the NCAA Championships. It marked the second time in her three seasons the Brighton native competed at the NCAA Championships.

Geer-Park finished the year ranked 60th in the nation among NCAA golfers. She led MSU in total birdies (85) and rounds under par (9).

One of Geer-Park’s most significant achievements from the past season came in early April when she was one of 72 of the best amateur players from around the world selected to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

“This award is obviously a great honor for Ally,” MSU head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said. “Looking back at the year she had, one of the biggest accomplishments that stands out was getting selected to play in the inaugural tournament at Augusta National. To have one of our Spartans selected as one of the world’s best to play in such a meaningful event was a great honor.”

It's the third straight year and seventh time in the last nine years a Spartan women’s golfer has won the Alderton Award. Overall, it’s the 11th time in program history a women’s golfer has claimed the award.

CO-WINNER: Asya Reynolds (track and field)

Succeeding in combined events requires overcoming many obstacles, redshirt-junior Asya Reynolds added battling injury to an already difficult season. Despite a myriad of hurdles, Reynolds earned first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors, becoming the first Michigan State woman to earn All-American accolades in the heptathlon.
Succeeding in combined events requires overcoming many obstacles, redshirt-junior Asya Reynolds added battling injury to an already difficult season. Despite a myriad of hurdles, Reynolds earned first-team All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors, becoming the first Michigan State woman to earn All-American accolades in the heptathlon.
“I just want to thank God for allowing me to be here, and my family and coaches for supporting me,” Reynolds said. “I especially want to thank Coach (Ceith) Creekmur for being by my side all season. Seeing all of my time, effort, and hard work come together at the top of the Big Ten podium is a blessing. I also would like to thank the NCAA for allowing me to compete for such an elite group of athletes here at Michigan State.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Reynolds had a breakthrough outdoor season, earning All-American honors in the heptathlon at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Despite brutal heat and a nagging injury, Reynolds earned second-team All-American honors, finishing 16th with 5,487 points. Reynolds earned personal bests on the final two events in the javelin and the 800m. In the final event of the heptathlon, Reynolds shaved nearly three seconds off her 800m time, crossing the line in 2:19.27.

Reynolds won her first-ever Big Ten title at the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City this year with a personal best score of 5,520 points. After ending the first day of action in third place, she vaulted herself into the lead with a first-place finish in the heptathlon long jump with a best mark of 18-11 1/4 (5.77m). Leading by 75 points heading into the final event, Reynolds ran a 2:22.49 in the 800m to defeat Iowa’s Jenny Kimbro by a 19-point margin, 5,520-5,501.

“Her growth this season has been immense in a lot respects, for her struggling indoors and having it go the way it went,” MSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said. “She really had an opportunity to examine some things, and take ownership for how things were going. I thought that she did a fantastic job of that. She showed a lot of personal growth, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally, and understanding her events. She learned to be even keeled in a high-level competition when things aren’t going well. She is really just getting started as far as I can tell. I also think it is important to recognize Coach Creekmur in her progress. He has done a masterful job of keeping her going and having her ready at important times in the year.”

She now holds the Michigan State record for the pentathlon during indoor season, as well as the heptathlon record during outdoor. She set the school record in the pentathlon at the Akron Invitational with 3,885 points in 2017. Reynolds also went on to break the MSU record in the heptathlon this season at the Big Ten Championships with her 5,520 points.

Reynolds is the 10th different track & field athlete to be named the George Alderton Female Athlete of the Year, joining Leah O’Connor (2015), Beth Rohl (2013), Jamie Krzyminski (2004 and 2003), Sevatheda Fynes (1997), Misty Allison (1992), Odessa Smalls (1987), Judi Brown (1983) and Molly Brennan (1982).

“Michigan State going a long ways back has had high level women in the track and field program,” Drenth said. “The program has had people at the national level since its inception. We have been a leader in women’s sports in some respects, and I think that it is a sign of the strength of the program and the expectations of the coaching staff and the athletes that have chosen to come to Michigan State.”


2018-Sarah Burnham (golf); 2017-Sarah Burnham (golf) and Tori Jankoska (basketball); 2016-Aerial Powers (basketball); 2015-Leah O'Connor (cross country/track & field); 2014-Allyssa Ferrell (golf); 2013-Caroline Powers (golf) and Beth Rohl (track & field); 2012-Laura Heyboer (soccer) and Caroline Powers (golf); 2011-Emily MacLeod (cross country/track & field) and Caroline Powers (golf); 2010-Floor Rijpma (field hockey); 2009-Nicole Bush (cross country/track & field); 2008-Sara Brown (golf); 2007-Sara Brown (golf); 2006-Liz Shimek (basketball); 2005-Kristin Haynie (basketball); 2004-Jamie Krzyminski (cross country/track & field); 2003-Michelle Carson (cross country) and Jamie Krzyminski (cross country/track & field); 2002-Emily Bastel (golf); 2001-Summer Mitchell (swimming & diving); 2000-Emily Bastel (golf); 1999-Carrie Carpenter (softball); 1998-Jill Lusher (field hockey); 1997-Sevatheda Fynes (track & field); 1996-Val Sterk (volleyball); 1995-Karen Winslow (soccer); 1994-Susan Francis (track & field); 1993-Jodi Blotcher (gymnastics); 1992-Misty Allison (cross country/track & field); 1991-Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse (swimming & diving); 1990-Julie Farrell (swimming & diving); 1989-Julie Farrell (swimming & diving); 1988-Michelle Ingalls (gymnastics); 1987-Odessa Smalls (track & field); 1986-Mary Schoenle (swimming & diving); 1985-Kelly Becker (volleyball); 1984-Deanne Moore (softball); 1983-Judi Brown (track & field); 1982-Molly Brennan (track & field).


(Presented to a male and female student-athlete at each conference institution for outstanding athletic and academic achievement)

MALE WINNER: Khari Willis (football)

Khari Willis had a career year on and off the field in 2018.

A native of Jackson, Michigan, Willis was a four-year letterwinner (2015-18) for the Spartans who played in 46 career games, including 30 starting assignments at safety. He ended his career with 26 straight starts at safety in 2017 and 2018 and was voted a team captain as a senior. Willis recorded 196 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, along with four interceptions and 16 pass break-ups in his career.

A second-team All-Big Ten selection by Pro Football Focus and third-team pick by the media and Athlon Sports, he recorded a career-high 84 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and two interceptions for the Spartans as a senior, including a career-high 15 stops against Ohio State. He ranked tied for seventh in the Big Ten with his 10 pass break-ups. After getting invited to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, he was selected in the fourth round (No. 109 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

Willis was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Spartans with nine tackles, including seven solo stops, in MSU's 21-17 win at No. 8 Penn State on Oct. 13. He also forced a fumble on PSU quarterback Trace McSorley in the first quarter as MSU held Penn State to then-season lows in points (17) and first downs (14).

A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Willis graduated with a bachelor's degree in December 2018 as an interdisciplinary studies in social science major, with an emphasis on community governance and advocacy. He was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded annually by the National Football Foundation to the nation's top scholar-athlete. The award is widely known as the "Academic Heisman."

Willis also was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins won the award in 2011.

Willis took the national stage last summer, serving as the keynote player speaker at the 2018 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago, and delivered an inspirational speech calling on his fellow Big Ten players to make a difference in their communities. He received a standing ovation and video of his speech went viral across social media (274,000 views on Twitter; nearly 100,000 views on Facebook; 16,000 on YouTube). He was selected a candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy, presented annually to the player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement, and was MSU's nominee for the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team.

“To say it’s an honor to receive these awards is an understatement, simply because what I learned at Michigan State and the person I was able to become has helped propel me into the position that I’m in today,” Willis said. “It’s definitely an honor, and I’m very grateful and excited to be mentioned with some of the same names as some of the guys I looked up to who won before.”

Willis was quick to credit other leaders prior to him who showed him the way by the time he was a voted a captain in 2018.

“I think Riley Bullough was a big one for me to look up to, just his leadership and his work ethic,” Willis remarked. “Watching him every day was huge for me. Darqueze Dennard and the relationship we’ve built over the years, he taught me so much, even before I stepped on campus. And guys like Isaiah Lewis, who played the same position, they helped me with pretty much everything. And having Coach (Harlon) Barnett and Coach (Paul) Haynes there, they are two phenomenal DB coaches, and they always continued to push me and urge me to be a leader. They taught me new ways to lead as well. I contribute a lot of what I learned to them.”

"Khari really did it all for us,” MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said. “He started games for us all four years and played a lot on special teams. He's not only tough and competitive, but has a lot of football intelligence and has proven himself as a great leader.

“Khari is everything you want as a person and as a leader on your football team. He’s as good of a leader as we’ve had here in 12 years. He’s not just a guy that’s going to lead to lead; he’s going to listen first and then lead, and I think that’s a very strong attribute."

Willis becomes the 24th football player at MSU to win the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor and the sixth under Dantonio (Blair White, 2010; Cousins, 2012; Mike Sadler, 2015; Jack Allen, 2016; Josiah Price, 2017). He is the 19th football player to win the Brewer Award and the third under Dantonio (Cousins, 2012; Allen, 2016).

Willis is also just the fifth athlete at Michigan State to earn the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor and the Chester Brewer Leadership Award in the same year, joining Everett Grandelius (football, 1951), Brandon Eckerle (baseball, 2011), Cousins (2012) and Allen (2016).


2018-Jimmy Fiscus (soccer); 2017-Josiah Price (football); 2016-Jack Allen (football); 2015-Mike Sadler (football); 2014-Greg Wolfe (hockey); 2013-Jacob Jarzen (swimming and diving); 2012-Kirk Cousins (football); 2011-Brandon Eckerle (baseball); 2010-Blair White (football); 2009-Doug DeMartin (soccer); 2008-Drew Neitzel (basketball); 2007-Drew Stanton (football); 2006-Drew Stanton (football); 2005-Chris Hill (basketball); 2004-Steve Manz (track & field); 2003-Tyler Robinson (soccer); 2002-Josh Thornhill (football); 2001-Shaun Mason (football); 2000-Shawn Horcoff (hockey); 1999-Steve Schell (cross country/track & field); 1998-Tyler Harlton (hockey); 1997-Tyler Harlton (hockey); 1996-Brian Picklo (wrestling); 1995-Emilio Collins (wrestling); 1994-Steve Wasylk (football); 1993-Dave Smith (cross country/track & field); 1992-Stuart Hirschman (baseball); 1991-Walt Bartels (hockey); 1990-Walt Bartels (hockey); 1989-Danton Cole (hockey); 1988-Michael Davidson (baseball); 1987-Dean Altobelli (football); 1986-Don McSween (hockey); 1985-Carlton Evans (lacrosse); 1984-Kelly Miller (hockey); 1983-Michael Brown (swimming & diving); 1982-Morten Andersen (football); 1981-Jay Vincent (basketball); 1980-Mark Brammer (football); 1979-Gregory Kelser (basketball); 1978-Larry Bethea (football); 1977-Tyrone Willingham (football/baseball); 1976-Pat Milkovich (wrestling); 1975-Dennis Olmstead (hockey); 1974-Robert Cassleman (track & field); 1973-Kenneth Popejoy (track & field); 1972-Herb Washington (track & field); 1971-Thomas Muir (wrestling); 1970-Richard Saul (football); 1969-Allen Brenner (football); 1968-Dale Anderson (wrestling); 1967-Eugene Washington (football, track & field); 1966-Steve Juday (football); 1965-David Price (gymnastics); 1964-George (Pete) Gent (basketball); 1963-Richard Schloemer (fencing); 1962-Edward Ryan (football); 1961-William Reynolds (track & field/cross country); 1960-Stan Tarshis (gymnastics); 1959-Robert Anderegg (basketball); 1958-Robert Jasson (hockey); 1957-Selwyn Jones (track & field); 1956-Carl Nystrom (football); 1955-Kevan Gosper (track & field); 1954-Robert Hoke (wrestling); 1953-John Wilson (football); 1952-Orris Bender (wrestling); 1951-Everett Grandelius (football).


(Presented to a male and female student-athlete at each conference institution for outstanding athletic and academic achievement)

FEMALE WINNER: Jessica Ling (gymnastics)

Jessica Ling’s passion and dedication to the sport of gymnastics is unparalleled as she overcame not just one or two, but three knee injuries, and completed her career on her terms and by the only way she knew how, by competing.

She overcame not just three injuries, but also five surgeries to repair the ACL in her left knee, and bounced back to have a stellar senior season.

Ling, a native of Wixom, Michigan, finished her Spartan career after qualifying for the NCAA Regionals in 2019. She was also named to the Big Ten All-Championships Team for her performance at the Big Ten Championships, posting a career-best 9.900 on bars to tie for first in the afternoon session at the Big Ten Championships, finishing tied for seventh overall. Ling registered a 9.800 or higher in 10 of her 13 outings this season. She also won or shared the event title twice, with a 9.850 vs. Rutgers on Feb. 16 for a solo win and shared the top score honor with a 9.850 on Senior Day in a quad meet on March 17. Ling also had four other podium finishes this season.

Despite the well-decorated career, Ling was caught off guard by this latest award.

“I was shocked when Coach Rowe told me the news. I had seen these awards in the past, but I’m just really shocked to receive this award and be included with these other outstanding Spartan student-athletes,” Ling said. “I’m just extremely honored to represent this great University the past four years, and to be recognized with this award; it’s just very rewarding and humbling. I couldn’t have done all the things I’ve done without the support of my family, the University, my coaches and teammates. I was just so shocked.”

In the classroom, Ling logged a 4.0 GPA this semester, graduating with honors this past spring with a 3.79 cumulative GPA, earning her degree in kinesiology with a minor in health promotion. She was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten and is in line to be a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Ling earned WCGA Scholar All-American accolades last year and is also expected to earn similar honors this year.

Ling will be attending Wayne State’s doctorate of physical therapy program starting in August. She has career aspirations of being a physical therapist specializing in orthopedics after she passes the boards, and one day earn her own practice.

“We are thrilled with the announcement of Jessica receiving this year’s Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor,” MSU gymnastics head coach Mike Rowe said. “It’s not a surprise, but truly a well-deserved accolade for someone as accomplished, dedicated, responsible and well-rounded as a student-athlete can be. We are so excited to see what Jessica’s future has in store for her and proud that she has been the true definition of what a Spartan should be.”

Ling is the fifth recipient of the Conference Medal of Honor from the gymnastics program and the second in four years, joining Lisa Burt (2016), as well as Kristen Coleman (2007), Ruth Aguayo (1993) and Kim Hartwick (1988).

“I think not only personally, but for our program, this is really cool to see how being a part of Michigan State gymnastics pays off with all of the opportunities it gives you and the things that Michigan State teaches us. With everything that this University and the gymnastics program has helped us develop since we set foot on campus has just been an amazing experience,” Ling said. “I’m just extremely grateful for the coaches and all the support staff, the athletic training staff and the academic services staff, for all of their support.”


2018-Katelyn Daniels (track & field); 2017-Alexis Wiersma (cross country/track & field); 2016-Lisa Burt (gymnastics); 2015-Abby Barker (field hockey); 2014-Kristen Henn (field hockey); 2013-Caroline Powers (golf); 2012-Jenilee Rathje (volleyball); 2011-Aimee Neff (golf); 2010-Allyssa DeHaan (basketball); 2009-Sara Schmidt (rowing); 2008-Kate Burdick (rowing); 2007-Kristen Coleman (gymnastics); 2006-Liz Shimek (basketball); 2005-Veerle Goudswaard (field hockey); 2004-Michelle Carson (cross country/track & field); 2003-Stephanie Anisko (swimming & diving); 2002-Carly Weiden (swimming & diving) and Krista Buzzell (crew); 2001-Carly Weiden (swimming & diving); 2000-Carly Weiden (swimming & diving); 1999-Carrie Carpenter (softball); 1998-Melissa Pryor (field hockey); 1997-Val Sterk (volleyball); 1996-Patti Raduenz (softball); 1995-Laura Bell (cross country/track & field); 1994-Laura Bell (cross country/track & field); 1993-Ruth Aguayo (gymnastics); 1992-Misty Allison (cross country/track & field); 1991-Emily Coatney (soccer); 1990-Eileen Shea (basketball); 1989-Mary Schoenle (swimming & diving); 1988-Kim Hartwick (gymnastics); 1987-Lisa Marino (golf); 1986-Julie Polakowski (basketball); 1985-Kelly Belanger (basketball); 1984-Anne Pewe (cross country/track & field); 1983-Karen Wells (basketball); 1982-Lisa Speaker (golf).


(Presented to a graduating senior in his or her last year of eligibility for distinguished performance in athletics and scholarship and for possessing a high degree of leadership qualities and skill.)

CO-WINNER: DeJuan Jones (soccer)
East Lansing native DeJuan Jones made the most of his four years at Michigan State. Aside from reaching elite status on the field at MSU, he also was a leader in the community and on campus, earning him the 2019 Chester Brewer Leadership Award.

From the first time he set foot on the pitch at DeMartin Stadium, Jones has been emersed in the culture of MSU soccer in all aspects of being a student-athlete. In the community and in the classroom, the team captain was committed to Michigan State. Jones earned Academic All-Big Ten honors from 2016-18, and will graduate with a degree in education.

“It is an incredible honor to receive the Chester Brewer Leadership Award. There are many outstanding athletes at Michigan State who also embody leadership qualities, so I am grateful for this recognition,” Jones said. “During my time at Michigan State, I strived to be the best I could be in all aspects of my life, whether on the field, in the classroom, or in the community. I am hopeful that others will be inspired to adopt a similar outlook on life during their time at State. Go Green!”

Jones, who started 76 games during his Spartan career, was a strong leader as either a starter or coming of the bench. He finished his career strong, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors in both 2017 and 2018. As a senior, he helped guide Michigan State to its first NCAA College Cup appearance in 50 years. He was third on the team in scoring with five goals and five assists for 15 points.

“The MSU soccer family and I are really happy for and proud of DeJuan. What I think is great about DeJuan receiving the Brewer Award is it highlights more than just his soccer career; it highlights DeJuan the person and student as well,” Rensing said. “Most people knew that DeJuan, while at MSU, was an exceptional soccer player. Hopefully more people understand that he was a great student, wonderful person and leader. Congrats again to DeJuan and his family!”

The miraculous season continued as Jones was the 11th overall pick in the Major League Soccer draft by the New England Revolution. For the first time in MSU history, the Spartans had two drafted in the first round as Ryan Sierakowski joined Jones as a first-round pick.

Jones becomes just the second men’s soccer player to receive the Chester Brewer Leadership Award, joining Payton Fuller (1966).

CO-WINNER: Khari Willis (football)

(See above for Big Ten Medal of Honor)


2018-Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr. (basketball); 2017-Dan Durkin (baseball); 2016-Jack Allen (football); 2015-Kori Moster (volleyball); 2014-Kristen Kelsay (volleyball); 2013-Caroline Powers (golf); 2012-Kirk Cousins (football); 2011-Brandon Eckerle (baseball); 2010-Kelly Moffitt (gymnastics); 2009-Jeff Lerg (hockey); 2008-Ryan Brehm (golf); 2007-Taren James (track & field); 2006-R.J. Boudro (wrestling); 2005-Kristin Haynie (basketball); 2004-Allison Fouch (golf); 2003-Sandy Lewis (softball); 2002-Adam Hall (hockey); 2001-Ann Cieszkowski (soccer); 2000-Leah Nilsson (cross country/track & field); 1999-Melissa Pryor (field hockey); 1998-Kyle Baker (cross country); 1997-Dana Cooke (volleyball) and Tamika Matlock (basketball); 1996-Courtney DeBolt (volleyball); 1995-Eric Snow (basketball); 1994-Rob Fredrickson (football); 1993-Steve Johnson (baseball); 1992-Mike Gilmore (hockey); 1991-Becky Belanger (volleyball) and Eileen Shea (basketball); 1990-Chris Willertz (football); 1989-Sheila Ovenhouse (softball); 1988-Pat Shurmur (football); 1987-Shane Bullough (football); 1986-Anthony Bell (football); 1985-Kelly Miller (hockey); 1984-Michael Brown (swimming & diving); 1983-Eliot Tabron (track & field); 1982-Shawn White (wrestling); 1981-Ray Stachowicz (football); 1980-Terry Donnelly (basketball); 1979-Rodger Bastien (baseball); 1978-Jeff Rudolph (gymnastics); 1977-Gary Domagalski (golf); 1976-Thomas Ross (hockey); 1975-No Award Presented; 1974-Val Washington (lacrosse); 1973-Jerry Sackmann (baseball); 1972-Greg Johnson (wrestling); 1971-Kim Hartman (cross country/track & field); 1970-Ronald Saul (football); 1969-Toby Towson (gymnastics); 1968-John Bailey (basketball/golf); 1967-Gary Dilley (swimming); 1966-Payton Fuller (soccer), James Curzi (gymnastics); 1965-Douglas Roberts (hockey/football); 1964-Sherman Lewis (track & field/football); 1963-George Azar (football/baseball); 1962-Stephen Johnson (gymnastics); 1961-William Steuart (swimming); 1960-Crawford "Forddy" Kennedy (cross country/track & field); 1959-Sam Williams (football); 1958-Dave Lean (cross country/track & field); 1957-Pat Wilson (football/basketball); 1956-Earl Morrall (football/baseball); 1955-John Matsock (football/baseball); 1954-Tom Yewcic (football/baseball); 1953-Bert McLachlan (swimming); 1952-Robert Carey (football/track & field/basketball); 1951-Everett Grandelius (football).


(Presented to a male or female graduating senior involved in athletics as a competitor or in a supporting role. The recipient should carry a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or better, and in addition to athletic and academic success, demonstrate involvement in school/campus and community activities.)

WINNER: Bailey Higgins (Field Hockey)

Bailey Higgins, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, was a four-year letterwinner (2015-2018) for the Spartans and appeared in 76 career games alongside 65 starts on the Spartan backline. Named a captain prior to the 2018 season, Higgins scored the first goal of her career against the University of Louisville on October 7, 2018. Higgins was named to the 2018 Zag Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Academic Squad following her senior campaign.

"Bailey has been a leader in representing not only the field hockey program but the entire athletic department, on and off the field," Michigan State field hockey head coach Helen Knull said. "She inspired many teammates and fellow student-athletes to make a difference in other people’s lives by committing time, love, energy and compassion to individuals and groups in need."

Over the course of her career, Higgins has been a true humanitarian and leader at Michigan State by impacting communities in East Lansing and beyond. Through her positions as the Field Hockey Team Captain, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President, MSU Athletic Council Member, Athletic Director Leadership Group Member, and Big Ten SAAC Representative, Higgins has been a voice for student-athletes at every level.

Higgins' passion to serve others is evident through her active involvement and leadership in the community. She serves as lead organizer for the St. Baldrick's Fundraiser for Children's Cancer, student-coordinator of the Be the Match Bone Marrow Registration Drive, campus ambassador for Love Your Melon, and participates in numerous outreach activities including volunteering in the Pediatric Ward at Sparrow Hospital, March is Reading Month, and spearheading the Student Athlete Food Drive and Teams for Toys initiative.

At the 2018-19 Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) Academic Excellence Gala, Higgins earned the Gwendolyn Norrell Community Service and Leadership Award for her commitment to helping others. The Gwendolyn Norrell Award is presented to the student-athlete who demonstrates the highest level of commitment to impacting areas of leadership and community service. Additionally, Higgins was named as one of 28 honorees of the Big Ten's Outstanding Sportsmanship Award for the 2018-19 season.


2018- Lea Foerster (softball) and Jasper Koenen (tennis): 2017-Allyssah Fitterer (volleyball); 2016-Sarah Kovan (soccer); 2015-Ryan Keener (soccer); 2014-Kristen Kelsay (volleyball); 2013-Kevin Jackson (track & field); 2012-Jenilee Rathje (volleyball); 2011-Jenilee Rathje (volleyball); 2010-Ross Weaver (football); 2009-Katlyn Roggensack (gymnastics); 2008-Matthew McNichols (swimming & diving); 2007-John Masters (football); 2006-Taren James (track & field); 2005-Erin Carlson (soccer); 2004-Joe Tate (football); 2003-Brad Fast (hockey); 2002-Adam Hall (hockey); 2001-Deb White (field hockey); 2000-Jennifer Hanink (soccer); 1999-Melissa Pryor (field hockey); 1998-Dave Mudge (football); 1997-Stephanie Dueringer (cross country/track & field); 1996-Susan Gibson (soccer); 1995-Angela Howard (gymnastics); 1994-Mill Coleman (football); 1993-Molly West (tennis) and Chris Brown (track & field); 1992-Matt Steigenga (basketball); 1991-Jason Muzzatti (hockey); 1990-Dawna Wilson (gymnastics) and Todd Mercer (swimming & diving); 1989-Kelly Collister (volleyball); 1988-Keiko Timmerman (gymnastics); 1987-Kristen Nelson (swimming & diving) and Barry Fordham (basketball); 1986-John Wojciehowski (football); 1985-Bob Fossum (golf) and Riney Wilke (lacrosse); 1984-Michael Brown (swimming & diving); 1983-Syd Wells (golf); 1982-Molly Brennan (track & field); 1981-Ivan Merritt (gymnastics); 1980-Michael Longaker (basketball); 1979-Kevin Willitts (lacrosse); 1978-Joan Garety (golf); 1977-Herb Lindsay (track & field/cross country).

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