July 1, 2014
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- WKU Athletics celebrated its first official day as a member of Conference USA with an evening party in downtown Bowling Green, and the community helped to blanket the town in red all day long during the "Paint BG Red" initiative.
All morning, WKU Athletics traveled around the community with C-USA prizes to give to people at businesses, offices and restaurants who were wearing WKU red. The day culminated with the official Conference USA Kickoff Celebration at 6-4-3 Sports Bar in Hitcents Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green. The first 250 fans received a free Conference USA Kickoff Celebration t-shirt, and WKU head coaches, cheerleaders, Big Red and special guests were on-hand for pictures, autographs and prizes.
WKU joins 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 of Conference USA, which is celebrating its 20th year of existence this year. 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.
Since beginning competition in 1995, Conference USA teams have combined for 83 bowl appearances in football, 100 NCAA Tournament appearances in basketball including three Final Fours, 60 NCAA baseball appearances including six College World Series berths, 71 NCAA soccer tournament appearances including four trips to the College Cup, and 35 individual national champions in track and field and cross country.
Success is not limited to athletic achievement, however, as 186 Conference USA student-athletes have garnered Academic All-America honors, 651 have achieved academic all-district laurels and thousands of student-athletes have earned their college degrees.
The league promotes the scholar-athlete ideal, honoring outstanding achievement with numerous conference-sponsored academic awards, including the Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Commissioner's Academic Medal as well as sport-specific All-Academic teams.
C-USA annually awards $4,000 postgraduate scholarships, along with the Sport Academic Awards, Scholar-Athletes of the Year and the Institutional Academic Excellence Award. Additionally, Conference USA presents a Spirit of Service Award three times each year, recognizing student-athletes who excel on the field, in the classroom and give back to the community through significant service efforts and participation.
For more information on WKU Athletics, visit WKUSports.com or follow the athletic department via social media @WKUSports on Twitter and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUAthletics.