BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Western Kentucky University's "Toppers on Tour" will be making six stops over 19 days in June. WKU fans are invited to meet, mingle and take pictures with head coaches and athletic department personnel at each stop. The events will feature WKU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork, head football coach Willie Taggart, head men's basketball coach Ken McDonald, Lady Topper basketball coach Mary Taylor Cowles, and head baseball coach Chris Finwood as well as student athletes, cheerleaders, Topperettes and Big Red.
Bjork was named WKU's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics on March 12 after working the previous five seasons as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and External Relations at UCLA. Bjork has 18 years of intercollegiate athletics experience as an administrator and student-athlete, having also worked on the senior staffs at the University of Miami and the University of Missouri. He also served as Assistant Development Coordinator at WKU in 1996-97.
Taggart was named head football coach on November 23 after serving as running backs coach at Stanford from 2007-09. He previously spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at WKU from 1999-2006 and served as co-offensive coordinator for WKU's 2002 I-AA National Championship team. A standout player at quarterback who set 11 school records for the Hilltoppers from 1995-98, Taggart is one of only four players in WKU's 91-year football history to have his jersey retired.
Cowles will be entering her ninth season as the Lady Toppers' head basketball coach, and is one of only three coaches in Sun Belt Conference history to be named coach of the year three times (2003, 2006, 2008). Cowles has been a part of the Lady Topper program for 19 years: eight as head coach, seven as an assistant coach and four as a student-athlete and has been a part of 426 of the program's 806 all-time wins. She is one of 30 players voted to the all-time Lady Topper team, and was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2000.
McDonald will be entering his third season as head men's basketball coach. In his inaugural season as a head coach in 2008-09, he helped WKU claim the program's 41st conference championship, the third most in NCAA history. The Hilltoppers defeated No. 3 ranked Louisville 68-54 on November 30, 2008 and later knocked off Big Ten runner up Illinois 76-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In just two seasons, McDonald owns wins over Louisville, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Georgia.
Finwood is in his fifth season as head baseball coach. He earned 2009 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors after helping WKU to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. WKU also had a school record six players drafted in the 2009 major league baseball draft. WKU was ranked 22nd nationally in the March 23, 2010 Baseball America poll, the program's highest ranking this decade, and has a 6-2 mark against Big 12 and Southeastern Conference opponents this season. WKU's 24-8 win over Kentucky at Bowling Green Ballpark on April 20 in front of 6,183 fans marked the largest crowd to ever see a college baseball game in the state of Kentucky.
"TOPPERS ON TOUR" STOPS
Lexington area: Toppers on Tour and the Central Kentucky Alumni Chapter's Summer Social will begin at 6 p.m. EDT June 4 at Good Ol' Days BBQ Farm, 544 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles.
Louisville area: Toppers on Tour will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT June 14 at Heritage Hills Golf Club, 1050 Valley View Drive, Shepherdsville.
Elizabethtown area: Toppers on Tour will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT June 15 at Lincoln Trail Country Club, 900 Country Club Road, Vine Grove.
Nashville area: Toppers on Tour will begin at 6 p.m. CDT June 17 at the home of Julie Taleghani, 1416 Willowbrook Circle, Franklin, Tenn.
Glasgow area: Toppers on Tour will begin at 5:30 p.m. CDT June 21 at Colton's Steakhouse, 260 North L Rogers Wells Boulevard, Glasgow.
Owensboro area: Toppers on Tour will begin at 5:30 p.m. CDT June 22 at WKU-Owensboro, 4821 New Hartford Road, Owensboro.
To register online or for information, visit www.alumni.wku.edu/toppersontour. For information, call the WKU Alumni Association at 270-745-4395 or e-mail email@example.com.