WKU kicks off its 2013 football season Saturday night against Kentucky.
While the contest is technically a home game for WKU, it's being played at LP Field in Nashville. The game marks the debut for both WKU coach Bobby Petrino and UK head coach Mark Stoops.
Petrino says season-openers are always a major challenge for the coaching staff.
"We have to do a good job on the sidelines making sure we're coaching our guys in between series, and really understanding what Kentucky is trying to do to us, and making sure our players stay into it mentally," said Petrino.
Petrino has 75 career wins as a head coach, and his teams have made seven bowl appearances. The UK game marks Petrino's return to coaching following his 2012 firing as head coach of Arkansas. Petrino was let go by the SEC school after he lied to Arkansas officials about a motorcycle accident involving his mistress.
As college football season approaches, student-athletes are having to brush up on the rules regarding autographs and eligibility.
The reverberations of the NCAA’s inquiry into whether Texas A&M quarterback and Hesiman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel signed autographs for memorabilia dealers will be felt in Kentucky this weekend. In Louisville, the athletic department has advised the Cardinals football team not to sign autographs at this weekend’s fan event.
But that will not be the case at WKU’s Football Fan Fest On Saturday.
“They’ll all be available for autographs throughout the event,” said Michael Schroeder, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at WKU.
For the first time in school history, a football team from the SEC will visit Bowling Green to take on the Hilltoppers. WKU announced a three-game series with Vanderbilt University on Wednesday.
The first game will take place in 2015 in Nashville, with the Commodores coming to the WKU Campus in 2016.
“It’s a great compliment that Vanderbilt wanted to schedule that game with us – two games at their place and one at ours as a part of that three-game series. We're certainly looking forward to that starting in a few years,” said Michael Schroeder, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at WKU.
The WKU men’s basketball team will burn the midnight oil during their season opener. The school announced Monday that the Hilltoppers will take on Wichita State at midnight on November 12, as part of ESPN 2’s Tip-Off Marathon.
ESPN is airing more than a dozen games in over 24 hours of basketball to kick off the new season.
Both WKU and Wichita State are coming off of NCAA tournament appearances, with the Shockers making last season’s Final Four. The Hilltoppers went 20-and-16, and won the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
You can see the 2013-14 WKU men's basketball schedule here.
A Western Kentucky University running back is free on $300 bond after being charged with disorderly conduct over the weekend.
Police in Bowling Green took sophomore Leon Allen into custody at about 2:35 a.m. CDT Sunday. He was released from the Warren County jail at about noon Sunday.
WKU spokesman Kyle Neaves told the Daily News the university is aware of the arrest and is gathering information about it.
Details of the incident were not available Monday morning.
Allen is a 6-foot, 235-pound graduate of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla. He was second on the team in rushing in 2012 with 317 yards on 56 carries, scoring twice and averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
Kevin's interview with WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart
WKU’s athletic director is predicting there will be changes coming to the organization that governs collegiate athletics. But Todd Stewart doesn’t think the country’s most powerful conferences will break away from the NCAA and form their own organization, as some have suggested.
Stewart will attend a summit in January called by NCAA President Mark Emmert in response to pressure by big-revenue generating schools who want more say in how the NCAA is run. Some large schools want to increase compensation for collegiate athletes beyond what is currently allowed—something opposed by many smaller schools who say they couldn’t afford it.
Stewart came to the WKU Public Radio studio Wednesday to discuss the upcoming NCAA football summit, the future of college football, and his approach to putting together future WKU football schedules.
WKU Public Radio: WKU has been invited along with all the other Division I football schools to attend a Jan. 16-17 summit in San Diego that coincides with the NCAA’s annual convention. From what you understand so far, what’s going to be discussed?
Todd Stewart: A lot of things are being discussed right now, and I think what President Emmert wanted to do was get everybody in the room and hopefully come out with some form of solidarity. Because you have what people refer to as the “power five” conferences—the SEC, ACC, the Big 10, the PAC 12, and the Big 12—and there are some reforms they would really want to see.
The WKU Board of Regents has approved a $37 million bond issue to fund a new international center and Honors College building, as well as the next phase of the ongoing renovation of the Downing University Center.
While the motion passed, three regents voted against the proposal.
Faculty Regent Patty Minter joined Student Regent Keyana Boka and Staff Regent James Kennedy in dissent. Dr. Minter says while she fully supports the WKU Honors College and the school's efforts to grow its international student population, she questions the need to issue bonds and build a brand new facility.
“There were a lot of better ideas that were not explored," said the WKU History Professor. "For example, having a floor in the replacement building for the Gordon Ford College of Business—what a great place that would be. And it would also integrate that group and the international student services into the entire student population, as opposed to segregating them out.”
The WKU men’s basketball team opens its upcoming season on the road in Wichita.
The 2013-14 Hilltopper schedule was released Friday, and WKU begins its quest for a third straight NCAA tournament appearance November 11 at Wichita State.
Other highlights include a December 14 road game against the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals. That’s followed by home games against Southern Mississippi, Murray State, and Ole Miss.
WKU opens Sun Belt Conference play at South Alabama on January 2.
The Hilltoppers won the Sun Belt Conference tournament last season, winning four games in four days. In their NCAA tournament opening round game against #1 seed Kansas, WKU led at the half before losing by seven points.
You can find a link to the entire WKU men’s basketball schedule here.
The latest WKU men's basketball player will add some international flair to the roster.
Ben Lawson, a 6’11’’ forward, will have four years of eligibility at WKU beginning this fall. Lawson is a native of Hitchen, England and was a member of the England 18 and under national team.
Over 31 games for Oaklands College in Great Britain last season, Lawson averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly five blocked shots a game. The big man can also shoot it from outside, hitting 40 percent of his three-point attempts last season at Oaklands.
Lawson is the fifth new addition to the WKU roster who will be eligible for the upcoming season.
Lawson joins Aaron Adeoye (6-7, forward, Marion, Ill.), Chris Harrison-Docks (6-0, guard, Okemos, Mich.), Payton Hulsey (6-5, guard, Memphis, Tenn.), Trency Jackson (6-2, guard, Jackson, Miss.) and Daouda Soumaoro (6-9, center, Mali) as newcomers to the Hilltopper roster in 2013-14.