WKU Athletics

WKU has a new leader of its baseball team. The school will introduc John Pawlowski Thursday afternoon as the new head coach of the Hilltopper baseball program.

Pawlowski formally coached at Auburn and the College of Charleston, and has been to 11 NCAA tournaments as either a head coach or assistant coach.

WKU announced last month that Matt Myers wouldn’t be retained following four seasons as the school’s baseball coach.

Here's a look at Pawlowski's coaching career:

Pawlowski’s Coaching Career

2014-15: San Diego State Assistant Coach (2 Years; 2 NCAA Tournaments)

2009-13: Auburn Head Coach (5 Years; 167-126 Record, and 1 NCAA Tournament)

2000-08: College of Charleston Head Coach (9 Years; 338-192 Record)


WKU is suspending its Swimming and Diving program for five years, effective immediately. The university informed the team members and coaching staff of the decision Tuesday morning.

The move comes after investigations by the Bowling Green Police Department and university uncovered evidence of violations of WKU’s Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy, and Title IX Sexual Misconduct/Assault Policy.

In an email sent to school faculty and staff Tuesday, President Ransdell said those violations included hazing and underage alcohol consumption involving team members and recruits. Ransdell said coaches were aware of the “pervasive culture” of abuse with the program and failed to prevent it.

"This University simply will not tolerate indecent, immoral, physical, or mental acts of disrespect or abuse among our students. We must all embrace a culture where every student is as important as any student," Dr. Ransdell said in his email. "When this culture is not embraced, we will act swiftly and firmly to ensure that the dignity and integrity of the institution is sustained. It is our hope that over the next five years, the pervasive culture of misconduct and lack of sufficient oversight in this program will be flushed from our campus life."

The investigations into the Swimming and Diving programs at WKU began when a former swim team member filed a report with city police claiming he was assaulted by teammates and forced to drink alcohol during several hazing incidents.

Current swimming and diving team members will be able to transfer immediately to other schools. Those choosing to remain at WKU will have their scholarships honored through their senior years.

The positions currently held by Head Swimming Coach Bruce Marchionda, Associate Head Coach Brian Thomas, and Head Diving Coach Chelsea Ale will be eliminated June 30.

KFC Yum! Center

Because melting snow and heavy rain have caused flooding around the Louisville waterfront, city officials are urging fans heading to the KFC Yum Center for NCAA Tournament games this week to arrive early.

“There are still a number of parking spaces that are flooded. A number of roadways that are blocked or closed and construction as well,” said Sandra Moran, Yum Center marketing director.

The parking garages underneath the arena and at the Galt House are open for business, she said. And if fans aren’t parking in either of those lots they should try to avoid west Interstate 64’s Third Street ramp, which reopened Tuesday after flooding, because traffic congestion is expected in that area, said Moran.

“Have a plan and look at a couple of different garages that you might try to park at because there will be limited space during the day with the business traffic that’s going to be downtown as well,” she said.

Bowling Green will be the host of the tournaments for the next five years in a partnership announced at the Bowling Green Ball Park Wednesday morning. The city will host eleven tournaments this year and as many as 15 beginning next year.

The conference will also hold at least six league meetings in Bowling Green throughout the year.

The NAIA conference includes Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College and the University of Pikeville as well as schools in five other states. They'll kick off the partnership February 6th and 7th wil the conference bowling tournament at Southern Lanes in Bowling Green

Conference commissioner Eric Ward said they were afraid the championships might fall under the public's radar in a city larger than Bowling Green. He said the conference was looking for a neutral site that was big enough to handle several tournaments back to back or even at the same time at different facilities.

He also said they wanted a site with a variety of things for players and fans to do when their team isn't playing.

Amy Cardwell with the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau estimates each tournament will bring about 250 participants to the city and twice that many family and fans.

WKU Athletics

The WKU Lady Hilltopper basketball team has been playing a prominent role in area elementary and middle schools over the past several weeks. Thursday’s game between the WKU Lady  Toppers and Florida Atlantic is the fourth annual “Spread the Red Education Game”, and will be attended by all third-through-eighth graders in Bowling Green city schools, and seventh grade students from Warren County public schools.

For the past month, teachers have been incorporating statistics and biographical information about the players and teams into math, geography, reading, and history lessons. 

“And  bigger picture, there’s a learning component in terms of the career opportunities, and just the overall experience of being able to come up to the university and hopefully inspire our kids to want to aim high,” said Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton.

Bowling Green Schools Superintendent Joe Tinius embraces any opportunity to get young students on a college campus. He says it will be many students’ first time attending an event at WKU.

Kevin Willis

Six Kentucky high school football champions are being crowned Friday and Saturday in Bowling Green.

Belfry of Pike County beat Louisville Central 14-7 in the class 3A title game. Belfry running back Austin Hatfield carried the ball 30 yards for 235 yards and a touchdown in the first of six championship games to beplayed at Houchens-L.T. Smith stadium.

Here is the rest of the lineup:

2A game between Louisville DeSales and Newport Central Catholic is underway.

5A game at 6:00 p.m.: Pulaski County vs. Graves County 


Murray St. Athletics

A college basketball rivalry dating back to 1932 continues Saturday between two Kentucky programs.

The WKU Hilltoppers travel west to take on the Murray State Racers for the 152nd time.

Both teams enter tomorrow’s game with .500 records. WKU is 3-3 and coming off wins against Bowling Green State and Saint Joseph’s. The Hilltoppers are led in scoring by senior guard T.J. Price, who is averaging 13 points a game, with senior forward George Fant leading the team in rebounding at 7 per contest.

You can read more about WKU’s 2014-15 season here.

Murray State is 4-4, and has been a tough home opponent for WKU in recent years. The Racers have won the last three meetings they’ve hosted against WKU, with the Toppers’ last win in Murray coming in 2004. If WKU is to win Saturday, they’ll likely have to contain the Racer’s star sophomore guard Cameron Payne, who was picked as the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year.

After Saturday’s game in Murray, the Toppers have a week off for finals. Then they travel to Ole Miss Dec. 13, before hosting games against Chicago State Dec. 17, and the Louisville Cardinals Dec. 20.

Abbey Oldham

The nationally-ranked WKU volleyball team is heading to a familiar location for its first-round NCAA tournament match.

The #24 Lady Toppers take on Iowa State Friday in Champaign, Illinois—the fourth time since 2008 that WKU has played an NCAA tournament contest in that town. WKU is 30-5 on the season and won the Conference USA tournament last weekend.

WKU head coach Travis Hudson says Friday’s matchup with Iowa State comes at an extremely exciting—and stressful—time of year for his players, given that finals week begins next Monday at WKU.

The WKU football team is entering its final regular season game with the chance to knock off an unbeaten team.

The Hilltoppers travel to Hungtington, West Virginia, for a Friday game against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is ranked 19th in the nation, and is looking to go 12-0 with a win against WKU.

Hilltopper Head Coach Jeff Brohm says he knows his time is a big underdog this week.

“We’re playing now with some confidence, and we’ve improved a bit every week. We understand that for this game, it’s going to take all three facets of the game to play their best. Our offense is going to have to play very well, obviously our defense is going to have to play very well, our special teams is going to have to not give up the big play and try to make a few big plays on its own.”

KFC Yum! Center

The Lady Hilltopper basketball team is set to play its fourth game in eight days.

And this time, state bragging rights are on the line.

WKU travels to the Louisville Tuesday to take on the #12 Lady Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center.

The Lady Toppers bring a 3-1 record into the game, including two wins in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament. WKU lost the championship game to Mississippi State Sunday.

The game against the Lady Cards is a special one for WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard, who is a native of Louisville and was an assistant coach at U of L before coming to Bowling Green. Clark-Heard says she’s proud to see so many quality women’s basketball teams in the commonwealth.

“That’s the way we want it to be. Kentucky is known for basketball, and we want it to be known for women’s basketball just as much, across the board.”