DI names 2019-20 sports best of the year award winners

The sports section voted in six categories to determine the best of Hawkeye sports this year.


Nichole Harris

Members of the Iowa wrestling team pose for a photo after winning the team title during the final session of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament in Piscataway, NJ, on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Iowa won the team title with 157.5 points.

Robert Read, Sports Editor

The 2019-20 sports year for the University of Iowa — despite being cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic — was a memorable one.

Because winter and spring seasons ended prematurely, the awards that the sports section of *The Daily Iowan* hands out at the end of the academic year have come early. All eight members of the sports section were given a vote in each of the six categories. The goal was to recognize the best of Hawkeye sports this year.

Here are the results.

Full profiles for each of the award winners will be published online at dailyiowan.com throughout the week

 Men’s Team of the Year — Wrestling

 Iowa wrestling was back on top of the Big Ten this season.

The Hawkeyes were ranked No. 1 in the nation for most of the season and proved why at every meet. Iowa finished with an undefeated 13-0 record in the dual season, including five wins over top-15 teams. Iowa also set the points record in a dominating display at the Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30.

The highlight of the regular season was a battle against No. 2 Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes came back from an early deficit to take down the Nittany Lions and cement themselves as the best team in the nation.

At the Big Ten Championships, Iowa won its 36th Big Ten Championship and its first outright since 2010. The Hawkeyes crowned three individual champions and had nine wrestlers finish in the top five of their weight class.

 Women’s Team of the Year — Field Hockey

 The Iowa field hockey team was dominant from the very start of its season. The Hawkeyes took down No. 10 Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten challenge Aug. 30

Iowa carried a top-10 ranking in the country throughout the entire regular season and finished with a 17-5 record, which included nine wins over ranked opponents.

To end the regular season, the Hawkeyes clinched a share of the Big Ten crown — giving the team momentum heading into the conference championship. Nov. 10 against Penn State, Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament title with a 1-0 overtime victory.

In the NCAA Tournament, Iowa avenged a loss earlier in the year to Duke by taking down the No. 8 Blue Devils to reach the Elite Eight. The Hawkeyes lost 2-1 to No. 1 North Carolina to end their stellar season.

 Male Athlete of the Year — Luka Garza

Hannah Kinson
Iowa center Luka Garza shields the ball during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Purdue at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Boilermakers, 77-68.

Garza was a breakout player for the Hawkeyes this season. After being a solid starter for Iowa a year ago, the junior elevated himself to being one of the best players in the country.

The Washington native averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks this season, while shooting 58.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from the 3-point line.

Garza was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for his performance this season and would later become the first player in program history to earn the distinction of national player of the year by a news outlet.

Female Athlete of the Year — Kathleen Doyle

Katina Zentz
Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle drives the ball during the Iowa vs. Ohio State Women’s Big Ten Tournament game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday, March 6, 2020. The Buckeyes defeated the Hawkeyes 87-66.

 Doyle had the tough task of leading a team that had just lost three key seniors, including the legendary Megan Gustafson.

The senior responded by leading an overlooked Hawkeye squad to a 23-7 record overall and a spot in the AP top-25 for most of the year.

Doyle was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and a third-team All-American after averaging 18.1 points and 6.3 assists per game this season.

Coach of the Year — Fran McCaffery

 Expectations were not high for the Iowa men’s basketball heading into the season. That didn’t stop McCaffery’s squad from defying expectations.

Despite losing Jordan Bohannon, Jack Nunge, and Patrick McCaffery for the season and having CJ Fredrick out of the lineup for extended stretches this season, Iowa went 20-11 overall and 11-9 in the tough Big Ten Conference.

McCaffery’s squad saw Garza elevate his game, and freshmen like Fredrick and Joe Toussaint adapted to the college game quickly to make a difference for the Hawkeyes.

 Newcomer of the Year — Tyler Goodson

Katina Zentz
Iowa running back Tyler Goodson scores the first touchdown of the game against Illinois on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 19-10. Goodson rushed a total of 38 yards.

Goodson provided a spark for the Iowa football team, particularly in the second half of the season.

The Suwanee, Georgia, native finished with a team-leading 638 rushing yards for a team that finished 10-3 and won the Holiday Bowl. Goodson averaged 4.8 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns on the ground as a freshman. He also was a danger out of the backfield in the passing game, finishing fifth on the team with 24 receptions.

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