WKU has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Head coach Jeff Brohm has selected Cincinnati’s Tyson Helton to fill the role that Brohm himself held last season. Helton spent one year as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had a 9-4 season and appeared in the Belk Bowl against North Carolina.
Helton has 13 years of coaching experience, including six at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Brohm and Helton were on the same staff at UAB in 2012.
Helton, 36, played football and earned his bachelor’s degree from Houston. He and his wife April have two daughters, ages 10 and 8 and twin 5-year-old boys.
WKU has been awarded a $150,000 grant to support early childhood education.
The funding from the PNC Foundation will be used to produce videos that will expose children to the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. The videos will be distributed to places such as libraries, housing authorities, and preschools in Kentucky and Tennessee.
"The hardest thing about changing the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in Kentucky relates to the fact that unless you stimulate interest early and students are really prepared to be successful when they go to college in those areas, then it's not going to happen," said Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU.
Kentucky will need to fill 74,000 STEM jobs by 2018, yet only 12 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the state are in STEM fields.
With the largest collegiate athletic conferences pushing to allow extra financial benefits for players, smaller schools like WKU are wondering how such changes would impact their bottom lines.
The issue of increasing compensation for college athletes is being discussed this week at an NCAA summit in San Diego. A group of high-profile conferences wants the ability to grant stipends that would pay for costs not covered by athletic scholarships.
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said he believes such a stipend plan will soon become a reality.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart says nothing is set in stone yet about how such stipends would be used.
WKU football is heading into a new conference with its third head coach in as many seasons.
At a news conference Friday afternoon on campus, Jeff Brohm was introduced as the new Hilltopper head coach. Brohm served last season as WKU’s offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, who left this week after 13 months on the Hill to become the coach at Louisville.
Brohm was asked whether he considered going to U of L with Petrino.
“Well, that was obviously always in the discussion, and Coach (Petrino) knew what I wanted," said Brohm, a Louisville native and former star University of Louisville quarterback. "There were some things that came up before this, some opportunities that I had a chance to do."
"We sat down and talked and Coach told me I had a great opportunity to be the (WKU) head football coach if I do things right.”
Multiple media outlets are reporting that WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm has been chosen to lead the Hilltopper's football team following the departure this week of coach Bobby Petrino for Louisville.
Brohm's promotion is expected to be made public as early as Friday morning.
The 42-year-old Brohm will become head coach for the first time in his football career. Last season, as an assistant under Petrino, WKU set a school record with eight wins in a Football Bowl Subdivision season and offensive yards with 5,502.
Petrino said Thursday that he believes Brohm is ready to become a head coach. He added that grooming Brohm for the higher position was one of the main recruiting points used to get Brohm to come to WKU in the first place.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart comments Thursday about Bobby Petrino's departure
Despite reports that WKU could be close to naming a new football coach, the school's athletic director is refusing to address such speculation.
In a phone conference with reporters Thursday afternoon, WKU's Todd Stewart said he wanted to focus on former coach Bobby Petrino, who was introduced as the new coach at the University of Louisville Thursday morning.
Stewart was asked if he tried to keep Petrino from leaving WKU after only one season.
"Certainly the Louisville job, with where their program is, with what they've achieved in recent years, and with them heading into the ACC--that's a big-time job. I don't think there's anything that we could have done here that we weren't already doing that would have persuaded him to turn that down and stay here," Stewart said.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Stewart has met with WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm about the Hilltopper head coaching job.
WKU President Gary Ransdell told the Courier-Journal he considered Brohm the leading candidate for the job and planned to interview the former U of L quarterback Thursday.
Bobby Petrino has been introduced as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals at a press conference Thursday morning. Moments before, WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart released this statement:
“President Ramsey, Tom Jurich and the University of Louisville have made a tremendous hire, and I wish Bobby, Becky and the Petrino family much success and happiness in Louisville," said Stewart.
"Coach Petrino displayed a tireless work ethic throughout his 13 months as our head coach and was completely devoted to WKU football from the day he was hired. Our program benefited greatly from his presence, knowledge and leadership. He will do a terrific job leading the Louisville football program as they move into the Atlantic Coast Conference, and I am also confident he will take an already outstanding program to even loftier heights.”
WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart has issued a statement regarding football coach Bobby Petrino's decision to leave the school for the University of Louisville head coaching position.
Petrino was officially introduced Thursday morning as the new Cardinals head coach, his second stint at U of L. Petrino led the Cardinals from 2003-2006 and gained a reputation as one of the nation's most creative offensive innovators.
Here is the statement released Thursday by WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart: