BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Western Kentucky University's strong fall athletic campaigns resulted in one of the best finishes in program history in the final fall standings of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
WKU Volleyball's first NCAA Tournament win paired with WKU Football's first appearance in a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) bowl game propelled WKU into 74th place in the final fall standings and gave WKU points in two different fall sports for just the second time in program history and first since 2002-03.
WKU is tied for eighth nationally among teams from a non-automatic qualifying FBS conference and is the only team in the Sun Belt Conference to earn points in multiple sports in the fall standings, earning 75.00 points. WKU sponsors five of the nine sports that the fall Directors' Cup standings take into account - women's cross country, men's cross country, FBS football, women's soccer and women's volleyball. Additional sports that teams can earn points for during the fall standings period are women's field hockey, FCS football, men's soccer and men's water polo.
WKU's three fall team sports combined to go 52-14-3, a winning percentage of .775.
- WKU Volleyball finished the season 33-4 and ranked number 21 in the nation in the final AVCA rankings. The team had a winning streak of 25 consecutive matches during the 2012 season, a new school record, and won the program's fifth conference tournament championship and 10th regular season league championship.
- WKU Football finished the season 7-6, winning seven games for the second consecutive season in just its fourth as a member of the FBS. WKU earned a berth in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit, its first FBS bowl appearance in school history.
- Despite losing the top goal scorer in program history, WKU Soccer posted a 12-5-3 record and reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament before falling to eventual tournament champion North Texas.
In addition, senior Joseph Chebet led the WKU Cross Country team by placing 35th at the NCAA Cross Country Championship and becoming the second runner in three years to earn All-American honors. The women's team finished third and the men's team finished fifth at the Sun Belt Conference Championships.
WKU also earned a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honoree in all four WKU-sanctioned fall sports as Ali Stahlke was named defensive player of the year in women's soccer, Ashley Potts was named defensive player of the year in volleyball, Quanterus Smith was named defensive player of the year in football and Joseph Chebet earned Most Outstanding Runner honors in cross country. Travis Hudson was also named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in volleyball and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year.
WKU earned points in the fall standings for the fifth time in six years after earning points in the fall just five times in the first 14 years of the Directors' Cup program. The standings were first recorded in 1993-94. WKU's best finish in the yearly standings for an entire academic year came in 2008-09 when the Hilltoppers claimed points in five sports and finished 88th in the nation.
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports -- 10 women's and 10 men's.
For complete coverage of WKU Athletics, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.