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|WKU Hilltoppers football|
|Head coach||Bobby Petrino|
|Home stadium||Houchens Industries – L. T. Smith Stadium|
|Location||Bowling Green, Kentucky|
|League||NCAA Division I (FBS)|
|Postseason bowl record||2–1|
|Claimed national titles||1 (FCS)|
|Conference titles||11 (7 Division II, 4 FCS)|
|Colors||Red and White|
|Fight song||Stand Up and Cheer!|
|Marching band||Big Red Marching Band|
|Website||WKU Official Athletic Site|
The WKU Hilltoppers football program is a college football team that represents Western Kentucky University (WKU). The team is currently a member of the Sun Belt Conference, which is a Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The program has 1 national championship (FCS/I-AA), 11 conference championships (1 SIAA, 9 OVC and 1 Gateway) and 5 Consensus All-Americans. The team is currently coached by Bobby Petrino. The Hilltoppers play their home games at Houchens Industries – L. T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
- 1 Recent history
- 2 All-time Sun Belt records
- 3 NCAA affiliations
- 4 Conference affiliations
- 5 National championships
- 6 Conference championships
- 7 Bowl Games
- 8 NCAA Playoff Appearances
- 9 Hilltoppers in the polls
- 10 Notable Hilltoppers in the NFL
- 11 Notable Hilltopper players
- 12 Notable Hilltopper coaches
- 13 Retired jerseys
- 14 Individual award winners
- 15 All-Americans
- 16 Middle Tennessee State Rivalry
- 17 Future non-conference opponents
- 18 References
In 2007, led by then-head coach David Elson, WKU's football program began the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision. As part of the transition, they played defending national champion Florida.
In 2008, WKU began play as a Division I FBS football team. Although they were ineligible for a bowl game, they played in a newly expanded L.T. Smith Stadium. Teams played included #11 Alabama, #20 VA Tech, #25 Ball State, Indiana and UK.
On December 8, 2012, Taggart accepted the head coaching job at South Florida. WKU Defensive Coordinator Lance Guidry was named interim head coach for the Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl. Guidry is 1-0 in bowl games, also serving as interim head coach at Miami (Ohio) for the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl. The RedHawks defeated MTSU 35-21.
On December 26, 2012, The Guidry-led Hilltoppers fell to Central Michigan in the Little Caesers Pizza Bowl 24-21. Running back Antonio Andrews surpassed Bobby Rainey as the all-time season rushing yards leader in WKU history. Andrews also fell short of breaking Barry Sanders all-purpose yeardage in a season record.
All-time Sun Belt records
- Statistics correct as of the end of the 2011-12 college football season
This table includes all Sun Belt games from 2009, the year the Hilltoppers joined the Sun Belt Conference. It includes only games that were Sun Belt conference games, and does not include postseason games.
|Opponent||Games||Win||Loss||Pct.||PF||PA||First Meeting||Last Meeting||Streak||Most recent win|
|Arkansas State||4||2||2||.500||104||98||2009||2012||1 win||2012, 26-13|
|Florida Atlantic||3||1||2||.333||59||46||2009||2011||1 win||2011, 20-0|
|Florida International||3||1||2||.333||51||74||2009||2011||1 win||2011, 10-9|
|Louisiana–Lafayette||3||2||1||.667||118||74||2009||2011||2 win||2011, 42-23|
|Louisiana–Monroe||3||1||2||.333||80||84||2009||2011||1 win||2011, 31-28 (OT)|
|Middle Tennessee||3||1||2||.333||86||122||2009||2011||1 win||2011, 36-33 (2OT)|
|North Texas||3||1||2||.333||86||122||2009||2011||1 win||2011, 31-21|
|Troy||4||2||2||.500||106||112||2009||2012||2 win||2012, 31-26|
1937-1973: Member, NCAA College Division
1973-1978: Member, NCAA Division II
1978-2008: Member, NCAA Division I - Football Championship Subdivision
2008–present: Member, NCAA Division I - Football Bowl Subdivision
1913-1926: NCAA Independent
1927-1942: Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1942-1945: NCAA College Division Independent
1946-1947: Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
1948-1981: Ohio Valley Conference
1982-1998: Football Championship Subdivision Independent
1999-2000: Ohio Valley Conference
2001-2006: Gateway Football Conference
2007: Football Championship Subdivision Independent
2008: Football Bowl Subdivision Independent
2009–present: Sun Belt Conference
|2002||NCAA Division I-AA||Jack Harbaugh||12-3-0|
|1932||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association||7-1-0|
|1952||Ohio Valley Conference||9-1-0 (co-champions)|
|1963||Ohio Valley Conference||10-0-1|
|1970||Ohio Valley Conference||8-1-1|
|1971||Ohio Valley Conference||8-2-0|
|1973||Ohio Valley Conference||12-1-0|
|1975||Ohio Valley Conference||11-2-0 (co-champions)|
|1978||Ohio Valley Conference||8-2-0|
|1980||Ohio Valley Conference||9-1-0|
|2000||Ohio Valley Conference||11-2|
|2002||Gateway Football Conference||12-3 (co-champions)|
WKU competed in two "College Division" bowl games prior to the NCAA instituting playoffs for lower division teams in 1973. In 2009 WKU completed its transition from Division I-AA/FCS to Division I-A/FBS. All bowl games since then were at the NCAA Division I FBS level.
|1952||December 7||Jack Clayton||Refrigerator Bowl||W 34–19||Arkansas State|
|1963||December 28||Nick Denes||Tangerine Bowl||W 27–0||Coast Guard|
|2012||December 26||Lance Guidry||Little Caesars Pizza Bowl||L 21–24||Central Michigan|
NCAA Playoff Appearances
The NCAA began Division II National Football Championship in 1973. WKU made NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 1973 and 1975. NCAA Division I-AA was formed for football in 1978, and WKU moved up from Division II to Division 1-AA at that time, and all playoff appearances since then were at the Division 1-AA level. In 2006 the name of Division 1-AA was changed to NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). In 2007, WKU initiated the transition to NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and became ineligible for any further playoff appearances.
|1973||12-1||Jimmy Feix||Lehigh W 25-16; Grambling W 28-20; Louisiana Tech L 0-34 (NCAA Runners-up)|
|1975||11-2||Jimmy Feix||N. Iowa W 14-12; New Hampshire W 14- 3; N. Michigan L 14-16 (NCAA Runners-up)|
|1987||7-4||Dave Roberts||Eastern Kentucky L 17-40|
|1988||9-4||Dave Roberts||Western Illinois W 35-32; Eastern Kentucky L 24-41|
|1997||10-2||Jack Harbaugh||Eastern Kentucky W 42-14; Eastern Washington L 21-38|
|2000||11-2||Jack Harbaugh||Florida A&M W 27-0; Appalachian State L 14-17|
|2001||8-4||Jack Harbaugh||Furman L 20-24|
|2002||12-3||Jack Harbaugh||Murray St W 59-20; W. Illinois W 31-28; GA Southern W 31-28; McNeese St W 34-14 (NCAA Champions)|
|2003||9-4||David Elson||Jacksonville State W 45-7; Wofford L 17-34|
|2004||9-3||David Elson||Sam Houston State L 24-54|
Hilltoppers in the polls
From 1978 until 2007, WKU competed in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, and as such was eligible for the post-season FCS coaches poll and the Sports Network poll, started in 1993. They have appeared in the final rankings 12 seasons.
Notable Hilltoppers in the NFL
RB Bobby Rainey - Baltimore (2012–present)
Carl Brazley - former DB for San Diego (1987).
David Carter - former C for Houston (1977–1983) and New Orleans (1984–1985).
Darryl Drake - former WR for Washington (1979) and Cincinnati (1983).
Curtis Hamilton - former Wr for Chicago (2008), New Orleans (2009)
Clarence "Jazz" Jackson, Jr. - former RB for New York Jets (1974–1976).
Joseph Jefferson - former CB for Indianapolis (2002–2005).
Jeremi Johnson - former FB for Cincinnati (2003-2009) Free Agent (2009-present)
Dale Lindsey - former LB for Cleveland (1965–1972) and New Orleans (1973).
Virgil Livers - former DB for Chicago (1975–1979).
Anthony Oakley - former G for Cleveland (2004) and Chicago (2005–2007)
Rod Smart AKA "He Hate Me" - Former RB for San Diego (2000), Philadelphia (2001), Carolina (2002–2005) and Oakland (2006).
A total of 26 Hilltoppers have been drafted in the NFL.
Notable Hilltopper players
Romeo Crennel - Former Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs
Joe Bugel - Former Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders
Willie Taggart - Current University South Florida Bulls Head Coach, former WKU Head Coach from 2010-2012, and played QB from 1995-1998
Jimmy Feix - Former WKU Hilltoppers Head Coach, 1952 Little All-American Quarterback
Eagle "Buddy" Keys - Former Head Coach in the CFL, Grey Cup Champion, member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame
KC Armstrong - Former associate producer of The Howard Stern Show
Chris Baker - Legendary Florida high school football coach
Notable Hilltopper coaches
L.T. Smith (1920–1921, Head Coach) - Namesake of L.T. Smith Stadium
E.A. Diddle (1922–1928, Head Coach) - Former WKU Hilltoppers basketball Head Coach
Jimmy Feix (1968–1983, Head Coach; 1957-1967, Assistant Coach; 1986-1991, Athletic Director) - Winningest coach in WKU history; 1973, 1978, and 1980 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year; 1973 and 1975 NCAA Division II National Runners-up
Jack Harbaugh (1989–2002, Head Coach) - Former Head Coach at Western Michigan, 2000 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, 2002 AFCA Coach of the Year (FCS), 2002 FCS National Champion
Bobby Petrino (2013–Present)
Jerry Glanville (1967, DC) - Former Head Coach of the Houston Oilers and the Atlanta Falcons
Jim Harbaugh (1994–2001, Assistant Coach) - Current NFL Head Coach for the San Francisco 49ers, was an unpaid assistant under his father while playing in the NFL
Don Martindale - (2001–03, LB Coach, Defensive Coordinator) Linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens Tommy Prothro (1942, Assistant Coach) - Former Head Coach at Oregon State and UCLA, Former Head Coach of the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers, member of the College Football Hall of Fame
Individual award winners
- Gateway Football Conference Freshman of the Year
- Justin Haddix - 2003
- Division I-AA AFCA Coach of the Year
- Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year
Middle Tennessee State Rivalry
WKU has a rivalry with fellow Sun-Belt team Middle Tennessee State that stems from their basketball rivalry.
Future non-conference opponents
|vs Kentucky (in Nashville)||vs Bowling Green||at Indiana||at Southern Miss||vs Marshall||at Hawaii|
|at Tennessee||at Navy||at Army||at LSU||at Marshall|
|vs Morgan State||vs Army||vs Army|
- "Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa/sun-belt/western-kentucky-hilltoppers.php. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
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