Tillman won award in 1997

Updated: June 8, 2004, 8:56 PM ET

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- The Pac-10 has renamed its defensive player of the year award for Pat Tillman, a former standout linebacker at Arizona State who was killed in action in Afghanistan in April while serving his country as a member of the Army Rangers.

The Pac-10 football coaches suggested renaming the award and the change was approved by the conference's director of athletics at league meetings last week.

Tillman himself was the recipient of the Pac-10 defensive player of the year award following his senior year in 1997.

At the time, then Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder said of Tillman: "Pound for pound, he is the best linebacker I've ever coached."