EAST LANSING, Mich. - Fresh on the heels of the Michigan State men's golf team's third Big Ten Championship in school history, the conference' coaches unanimously selected senior Matt Harmon as the Big Ten Player of the Year and Mark Hankins earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year award. Junior Ryan Brehm was also selected to the All-Big Ten Second Team and freshman Jack Newman was named MSU's Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
"It definitely was a goal of Matt's to finish his collegiate career strong," Hankins said. "I was looking at the statistics and he was clearly in my opinion the Player of the Year. I am very proud of his effort and his ability to continue to concentrate on his college responsibilities and leading his teammates."
Harmon is just the second MSU golfer to earn Big Ten Player of the Year in the conference's history, joining Heath Fell, who won the honor in 1993. Harmon has posted an impressive 73.28 stroke average and recently won back-to-back tournaments, including the Fossum/Spartan Invitational on April 21-22 and the Kepler Invitational on April 14-15. He has finished in the top five in six of his nine tournaments this season, helping him wrap up his career with 12 top-5 finishes and 24 top-20 finishes. A 2005 PING All-Midwest Region selection, Harmon is a three-time All-Big Ten selection, earning first team honors in 2004 and second team honors in 2005.
"It is kind of surreal right now," Harmon said. "You expect it to happen because you set your goals to do that but you don't exactly expect it to happen. It is pretty cool that what I have done over the past four year, coaches respect me enough to give me a vote my senior year for what I've done. It is a great honor to be unanimously selected."
Hankins earned his second Coach of the Year award after leading the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten title at the league's championships on Sunday. The 1993 Iowa State graduate led the Spartans to three tournament victories and six top-five finishes, helping the team to a ranking of 26th in the nation. He also won the award in 2005 after leading MSU to their first Big Ten Championship since 1969. The eighth-year head coach has tutored 10 All-Big Ten performers in his career and helped Michigan State to 10 tournament titles.
Brehm earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors, the third time in his career he has been honored. The 2005 Big Ten Freshman of the Year has posted a 74.48 scoring average as a junior to go along with a tournament title at the Boilermaker Invitational. Brehm earned Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors for his medalist performance. He has posted three top-five finishes and come in the top-20 five times. The junior earned First Team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore and was a member of the second team as a sophomore.
"You start off the season with those types of individual goals," Brehm said. "Being a part of such an elite class of players in the Big Ten is a special feeling for me. It feels good to be able to classify myself as one of the premier golfers in the Big Ten because there are many of them."
Newman earned the Sportsmanship Award after posting nine starts as a true freshman. He posted a 76.58 scoring average and won a share of his first tournament title when he tied Harmon for the title at the Fossum/Spartan Invitational. He posted a 10-under-par 206 at the event before finishing 12th at the Big Ten Championships.
The Spartans will next hit the links on May 12 for the first of the two-day Maxwell in Ardmore, Okla., before the team heads to the NCAA Regionals in Sugar Grove, Ill., on May 17-19.