WKU Athletics Begins First Day as Conference USA Members

Big Red - The Spirit of Western

July 1, 2014

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Conference USA proudly welcomes Western Kentucky University to its membership as the Hilltoppers officially join the league today. WKU is well positioned for success upon entering Conference USA based on a storied athletic history, administrative and community support, and a solid academic foundation.

Since 2000, WKU has won more than 80 conference championships, graduated more than 85 percent of its student-athletes and invested more than $100 million in new construction or renovations of athletic facilities. Additionally, the men's basketball program ranks 18th in NCAA history for wins, women's basketball has appeared in three NCAA Final Fours and the school has boasted more than 70 football All-Americans.

WKU will join 13 other institutions - Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP and UTSA - to make up the 2014-15 membership. The Conference USA footprint reaches over 10 states with a combined population of approximately 30 million.

Conference USA sponsors competition in 19 sports - nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 10 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball). WKU will compete in 17 C-USA Championships, with the exception of only men's soccer and men's tennis.

Throughout the day, WKU Athletics has invited the community to help "Paint BG Red" today to celebrate the official start of WKU's affiliation with Conference USA.

Beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until noon, WKU Athletics will be traveling around the community with C-USA prizes to distribute at businesses, offices and restaurants who are wearing WKU red. Fans are encouraged to tweet a picture of themselves and their co-workers dressed in WKU attire to @WKUSports using the hashtag #PaintBGRed to show the Prize Patrol where you are located.

The day culminates from 5-7 p.m. CT at the 6-4-3 Sports Bar in Hitcents Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green with the official Conference USA Kickoff Celebration. There will be meet and greet chances with Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky, WKU head coaches, cheerleaders, Big Red and other special guests. The first 250 fans will receive a free Conference USA Kickoff Celebration t-shirt.