WKU Athletics Facilities
E.A. Diddle Arena
Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium
Nick Denes Field
WKU Softball Complex
WKU Soccer Complex
Bill Powell Natatorium
Charles M. Rueter Track and Field Complex
E.A. Diddle Arena Practice Facility
WKU Home Golf Courses
Student Athlete Success Center
Team Host Guide
2014 Football Visiting Team Guide
Home of WKU Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball and Volleyball
One of the finest on-campus facilities in the country, WKU's E.A. Diddle Arena serves as the home of Hilltopper and Lady Topper basketball, and Lady Topper volleyball.
The building, named for legendary Hilltopper coach E.A. Diddle, was officially dedicated in December 1963, and underwent a $32 million renovation in 2002. The renovation has been the focal point of WKU's extensive athletic complex makeover which has also included numerous enhancements to baseball's Nick Denes Field, the construction of the softball and soccer complex on Creason Drive and the expansion to football's Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The facility celebrated its 50th year of operation during the 2012-13 school year.
Included in the Diddle Arena renovation were a new playing floor, all-new seating, two "Pepsi Vision" video boards and 16 luxury suites. But those were just the changes made to the playing arena. An addition was added to the back side of the facility which houses new training and weight rooms, as well as a 30,000-square foot auxiliary gym complex containing two regulation basketball courts with a firewall divider. New locker rooms and office facilities were also added for multiple sports and the athletics administration.
The utility and versatility of the arena has been amply demonstrated throughout the years. It has been the site of NCAA Regional Tournaments in both men's and women's basketball, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association's Girls Sweet 16 basketball tournament, and an NBA exhibition game.
The facility has also hosted several Sun Belt Conference basketball tournaments, and was the site of the 2003, 2009 and 2012 SBC Volleyball Championship. Diddle Arena has staged numerous concerts, hosted WKU's annual spring and winter commencements, and has even welcomed the President of the United States during a 1988 visit by Ronald Reagan.
In addition to being one of the homes for WKU Athletics, Diddle Arena also contains classrooms and activity areas for the Department of Physical Education and Recreation as well as the WKU Army ROTC program.
Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium
The 2014 season will be WKU's 47th in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, and the seventh since the facility underwent a massive renovation.
The renovation of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium began in April 2006 and featured the construction of a new west side of the stadium while also including a significant renovation of the stadium's existing east side. The stadium's capacity now stands at 22,113. The first phase of the renovation to Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium involved improving the existing east side structure.
Construction began on the West grandstand prior to the start of the 2007 season. The new side of the stadium contains approximately 5,000 seats, including an 832-seat club level, along with new concession stands and restrooms. The building also houses new football offices and a new weight room (10,000 square feet), training room (8,500 square feet), locker room (10,000 square feet) and equipment area. A new berm has been built behind the North end zone, giving Topper fans an opportunity to enjoy the game from a different view. A new 48'x70' scoreboard, installed behind the berm, includes an 18'x31' video board.
Other improvements to the existing structure include locker rooms and offices for women's soccer, and men's and women's track along with the addition of a new academic advising center that includes office space for advisors, tutoring rooms, a large study hall room and a computer laboratory.
The Hilltoppers have put together a .500 or better record in 30 campaigns since the stadium opened in 1968.
Nick Denes Field
Since 2002, Western Kentucky University has put nearly $3 million into enhancements at Nick Denes Field.
Among the most noticeable changes include a press box and indoor hitting facility, which opened in 2002, and a brand new clubhouse facility that opened prior to the 2010 season.
Also, in the past couple of years an extension of the seating was completed to give the complex 800 chairback seats that stretch from dugout to dugout. That brings the capacity of the complex to nearly 1,500.
A new outfield wall and bullpens have also been constructed, along with "Rally Alley" - a pair of fan decks located just past each dugout. A new entrance to the complex in left field was completed in 2006 and is dedicated to the memory of former Hilltopper Michael Wilhite.
Improvements to Nick Denes Field over the past several years have been key to increased fan support. In fact, attendance at WKU baseball games has quadrupled since the 2005 season, from a total of 5,781 fans coming through the gates that year to 23,713 fans taking in a game at Nick Denes Field in 2009.
Built in 1968 and first used for the 1969 season, Denes Field is named after former Hilltopper baseball and football coach Nick Denes. Denes coached WKU football from 1957 to 1967, compiling a 57-39-7 mark for a .587 winning percentage in 11 seasons.
One of the biggest enhancements yet is a brand new, $1 million clubhouse, which opened prior to the 2010 campaign.
The 4,200 square-foot clubhouse features a head coach's office and two assistant coaches offices, plus a 250 square-foot equipment room. The Hilltopper baseball team has a locker room and a players lounge, and the clubhouse has an on-site training room for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The clubhouse was made possible in part due to a general gift from former baseball student-athlete Paul Orberson. In appreciation of this gift, WKU has named the facility the Paul Orberson Baseball Clubhouse.
The WKU Softball Complex, built in conjunction with the soccer field, was part of a $1.2 million development to create one of the finest softball facilities in the conference and region. The softball project, which began in 1999 and was completed in just six months, involved laying the playing surface, the construction of both dugouts and a backstop, the outfield fence, bullpens and batting cages. A full-service scoreboard was added in right field in March, 2000.
The addition of lights in time for the 2001 season allowed Lady Topper softball to host a pair of in-season tournaments, the WKU Spring Classic and the Lady Topper Classic, a trend that continued in future seasons. Also thanks to the addition of lights, start times for week games were able to be moved to 5:00 PM, giving the community a better opportunity to come out and support Lady Topper softball.
After the completion of the concession stand and press box facilities, which also includes fully-equipped restrooms, WKU installed 350 permanent chairback seats prior to the 2002 season. The facility also has the ability to add bleachers to increase seating capacity in the future.
Home of WKU Swimming and Diving
The Bill Powell Natatorium includes a 25-meter x 25-yard swimming pool, which contains 350,000 gallons of water. The pool depth ranges from four to thirteen feet and includes ten 25-yard lanes. The design also allows for eight 25-meter lanes. The natatorium contains an ADA compliant pool lift and is accessible for everyone. Also included in the natatorium is balcony seating for 300 spectators and an outdoor sun deck.
Named for legendary WKU coach Bill Powell, the natatorium has been the permanent home of WKU swimming and diving since 2002.
The natatorium is part of the Raymond B. Preston & Activities Center on Western Kentucky University's campus. The Preston Center offers students, faculty, and staff one of the finest campus recreation facilities in the country. Constructed in 1992, the Preston Center added a new dimension to recreational activities, intramural-sports, and open recreation for the university community. Components of the Preston Center include a weight room, fitness room, gymnasium, dance studio, racquetball courts, swimming pool, a pro-shop, the Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Center, a Health & Fitness Lab, and many other features. The facility recently underwent a massive renovation, including construction of a new weight room.
WKU Soccer Complex
Home of Lady Topper soccer since the inaugural season of 2001, the WKU Soccer Complex is one of the finest facilities in the conference. With a capacity of 1,500, including many permanent spots in stadium-style seating on the sideline and additional seating available in a unique, behind-goal arrangement, Lady Topper fans have every opportunity to give the team a great home-field advantage.
The WKU Soccer program has won over 70 percent of its games in the facility.
The Lady Toppers and their opponents are protected from the elements with covered team shelters over the benches, and the playing surface at the WKU Soccer Complex is top-notch as well. The WKU Soccer Complex is located adjacent to the WKU Softball Field, and the two facilities were completed as part of a $1.2 million project in late 1999 and early 2000.
While away from the playing field, the Lady Topper coaches and players reside in a brand-new locker room and coaches' offices in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, which were completed prior to the 2009 season and have continually been updated. The players' locker room features spacious lockers and shower facilities.
The facilities, located on the third floor of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, also underwent a renovation prior to the 2012 season.
The new Charles M. Ruter track and field complex at Western Kentucky University was completed in May 2008 at a cost of $2.5 million. Highlighted by an eight-lane Defargo track surface, the facility houses a number of amenities to give Hilltopper and Lady Topper athletes, as well as the WKU and Bowling Green communities, a top-rate track and facility for practice and competition.
The complex features a pair of dual-pit parallel jump runways for the long and triple jump events along the home stretch, allowing men and women to compete at the same time while also taking advantage of wind direction. Similarly, the facility has a pair of dual-pit parallel pole vault runways in one D-zone. In the opposite D-zone, space exists for two high jump areas, also allowing for time efficiency in a meet situation. All throwing events at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex can be contested on the infield. The facility features a 30-foot UCS hammer cage that can also double for the discus, providing optimal safety for all contestants while also highlighting the throwing events by allowing them to be contested inside the track. Three discus circles and two javelin runways allow for flexibility dependent on the wind direction. Also, a pair of shot put circles on the infield and one pit outside of the track oval provide additional flexibility for competition. For the sprint and hurdle events, the backstretch contains a pair of chutes to allow maximum flexibility for varying wind conditions.
The newly-renovated Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium has had a direct impact on the WKU track and field programs, as the teams' new locker rooms, training room and weight room are all housed there, including coaches offices and athlete lounges.
Also included in the renovation of the stadium, all WKU athletes will benefit from the newly expanded study hall and academic advising area that includes a lecture hall, computer lab, group meeting rooms, and individual tutoring rooms.
The practice facility in E.A. Diddle Arena serves as the indoor golf home of WKU Golf.
WKU Golf Home Courses
WKU takes advantage of the high-quality offerings of the Bowling Green golf community and beyond. Area courses utilized by WKU Golf include Olde Stone, Bowling Green Country Club, Indian Hills Country Club, Cross Winds Golf Course, Kenny Perry Country Creek Golf Course (Franklin, Ky.) and Rolling Hills Golf Course (Russellville, Ky.).
Student Athlete Success Center
The Carol and Denny Wedge Student Athlete Success Center opened in January of 2009. SASC is a 10,000 square foot academic complex located in Houchens Smith Stadium (east side) and houses the academic advising staff, a computer laboratory and a large study area designated solely for use by student-athletes. The Student Athlete Success Center is also equipped with conference rooms, and several private study rooms for WKU student-athletes to meet with athletic tutors on a one-to-one basis or work on class projects.