WKU Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers
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WKU Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and 
UniversityWestern Kentucky University
ConferenceConference USA
NCAADivision I FBS
Athletic directorTodd Stewart
LocationBowling Green, Kentucky
Varsity teams17
Football stadiumHouchens Industries -
L. T. Smith Stadium
Basketball arenaE. A. Diddle Arena
Baseball stadiumNick Denes Field
Softball stadiumWKU Softball Complex
MascotBig Red
NicknameHilltoppers and Lady Toppers
Fight songStand Up and Cheer
ColorsRed and White[1]

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers are the athletic teams that represent Western Kentucky University (WKU). The men's teams uses the name Hilltoppers; however, the women's teams use the name Lady Toppers. The university's athletic program fields 17 varsity teams in 11 different sports. WKU participates in the Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes as a member of Conference USA.

On March 12, 2010, Ross Bjork, who was the senior associate athletic director for Development and External Relations for the UCLA Bruins, replaced Dr. Wood Selig, as WKU's athletic director.[2] But in March 2012, Bjork accepted the job as athletic director at Ole Miss.[3] Todd Stewart, who had served as Senior Associate Athletic Director since 2010, was named interim athletic director until May when he was officially named athletic director.[4]

On April 1, 2013, it was announced Western Kentucky would depart the Sun Belt Conference for Conference USA, effective July 1, 2014.[5]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Cross country Golf
Football Soccer
Golf Softball
Swimming and diving? Swimming and diving?
Track and field+ Tennis
Track and field+
+ - Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor
? - program suspended for at least five years
Conference USA logo in WKU's colors

A member of Conference USA, Western Kentucky sponsors teams in seven men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports. On April 14, 2015, WKU announced that it would suspend its men's and women's swimming and diving teams for at least 5 years, effective immediately. This followed a police investigation into claims of assault and hazing by a former men's team member which in turn found multiple violations of university policies on harassment and sexual misconduct.[6]


The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers basketball program is nationally recognized, and one of the winningest programs in NCAA history. Rick Stansbury is the current head coach of the Hilltoppers. The program has over 1,600 victories, forty 20-win seasons, 38 Postseason Tournament Appearances and 28 All-Americans.

During the 1980s, Coach Paul Sanderford built Western Kentucky Lady Toppers basketball into a national power, appearing in 3 NCAA Final Fours. In recent years, the Lady Toppers have had a continued record of success; under head coach Michelle Clark-Heard, the Lady Toppers won the Conference USA title in 2015, advancing to the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship tournament in 2014 and 2015, and receiving invitations to the Women's National Invitation Tournament in 2013 and 2016. Following the completion of the 2018-2019 season, Michelle Clark-Heard accepted the head coaching position at the University of Cincinnati. The current head coach of the Western Kentucky University Lady Toppers is Greg Collins.[7]


Western Kentucky Hilltoppers football is currently a member of Conference USA. Previously, the school was a member of the Gateway Conference through the 2006 football season and then began its 2-year transition into becoming a full Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) member. As a member of Division I-AA, now Division I FCS, the Hilltoppers won a Division 1-AA Football Championship in 2002.[8] In 2008, the Hilltoppers were among the Division I-A Independents, along with the Army Black Knights, Navy Midshipmen and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In 2009, the Hilltoppers completed the transition and joined the Sun Belt Conference. In 2015, the Hilltoppers clinched the Conference USA championship, won the Miami Beach Bowl and finished ranked 24th in the final Associated Press college football poll.

Following Jeff Brohm's departure to Purdue after back to back Conference USA Titles in 2015 & 2016, Mike Sanford Jr. was hired as his replacement. In his first season, Sanford posted a 6-7 record. His second season saw Western Kentucky finish 3-9, its worst finish since 2010. Shortly following the end of the season, Sanford was relieved of his duties as head coach.[9]

The current head coach is Tyson Helton who came to Western Kentucky after serving one season as the offensive coordinator under Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt


WKU baseball competes at Nick Denes Field. The team won the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2009, their first Sun Belt title.

First Year: 1910 All-Time Record:1736-1448-17 (.545) Conference Championships: 3 (1952, 80, 2009) Tournament Championships: 2 (2004, 08) NCAA Tournaments:4 (1980, 2004, 08, 09) Postseason Record:6-8 (.429) Best Record (1980): 47-13-1 (.779) Best in NCAA's (2009):.3-2 (.600) Players Drafted:54 (last, Danny Hudzina)

Men's golf

The men's golf team has won 10 conference championships:[10]


  1. ^ WKU Colors (PDF). WKU Communication & Branding Manual. August 21, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ Jon Gold, Ross Bjork named Western Kentucky University A.D., Los Angeles Daily News, March 12, 2010
  3. ^ WKU Herald, [Walking Away: Bjork introduced as Ole Miss AD], "WKU Herald," March 22, 2012
  4. ^ WKU Herald, [Stewart named AD, will be announced Thursday], "WKU Herald," May 9, 2012
  5. ^ ESPN [1], "ESPN," March 30, 2013
  6. ^ "WKU Suspends Swimming and Diving Program for 5 Years". WKU Athletics. April 14, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ http://wkusports.com/coaches.aspx?rc=321
  8. ^ http://www.college-sports-journal.com/index.php/csj-classic-archives/archives/160-western-kentucky-tops-mcneese-state-for-ncaa-championship
  9. ^ https://www.bgdailynews.com/sports/wku/hilltopper-coach-sanford-fired-after---season/article_36ec6862-45a3-5fff-97c3-932c1cc48832.html
  10. ^ "2012-13 WKU Olympic Sports Record Book" (PDF). Retrieved 2013.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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