May 23, 2003
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Led by a league-high five championships and four other top-three finishes, the Western Kentucky University Department of Athletics was awarded the Vic Bubas Cup All-Sports Award for the second consecutive year at the Sun Belt Conference's annual meetings in Destin, Fla.
The award, symbolic of overall excellence in the athletic program among league schools, is named in honor of the first commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference.
Western collected 116 points - eight more than it scored in 2001-02 - to defend its all-sports award, outdistancing runner-up Middle Tennessee by 14 points. North Texas finished third with 93 points, edging out New Mexico State by a half-point. Arkansas-Little Rock rounded out the top five, with its 78 points a half-point ahead of both Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama.
Men's and women's basketball and volleyball each won both the Sun Belt's East Division and Tournament championships, with women's swimming and men's outdoor track and field also claiming league titles. And, men's and women's cross country, and women's outdoor track and field posted runner-up finishes at Sun Belt Championships. In fact, WKU finished in the top half of 12 of the 17 conference sports it competes in - the Hilltoppers' NCAA Division I-AA national championship football team is not a league member.
Prior to the 2001-02 academic year, the only time Western won the Sun Belt's All-Sports Trophy was in 1987.
Scoring for the Bubas Cup is calculated as follows:
* in volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball, points are awarded on a combination of divisional and tournament finishes;
* in football, soccer, softball and baseball, points are based on regular season finish; and
* all other sports' (cross country, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, tennis golf, outdoor track and field) points are based on championship tournament results.
For a sport to qualify for points in the Bubas Cup standings, at least four member schools must sponsor the sport and compete in its championship. Points are awarded based on the number of schools sponsoring the sport. Institutions not sponsoring a sport do not receive points in that sport. And, institutions tying for positions split the combined points for the positions.
In other news, Western was selected to serve as host of the 2006 baseball tournament, and will co-host the 2006 men's and women's basketball tournaments with Middle Tennessee. Information regarding bids on men's and women's cross country, women's soccer and men's and women's outdoor track and field - events that WKU has submitted proposals to play host to - will be released in the near future. The league office will also pursue holding a men's swimming and diving championship for the first time in 2004 - the Hilltopper program currently competes for the National Independent Championship.
And, Western Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig was appointed the chair of the Sun Belt's athletic directors committee.