Dr. Camden Wood Selig’s (pronounced SEE-lig) leadership and vision as Western Kentucky’s University’s Director of Athletics has resulted in a historic combination of academic and athletic success for WKU athletics. With a Sun Belt Conference record 10 team championships in 2007-08 and nine more in 2008-09, WKU’s 19 combined titles over the last two years are more than any NCAA school in the nation during this period. WKU has won an astounding 65 Sun Belt Conference championships (regular season and/or tournament) this decade.
WKU has also had more individuals honored for their academic achievements by the Sun Belt Conference than any other league institution in each of the last five years, and every men’s and women’s athletic team currently exceeds the NCAA required 925 Academic Progress Report Rate (APR). In this decade, 85% of WKU student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated. Other WKU academic highlights include:
• For all 438 WKU student-athletes, the overall cumulative average GPA is 3.00. Male student-athletes have an average cumulative GPA of 2.82, female student-athletes have a cumulative 3.17 average, and 46 percent of all student-athletes have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
• Ten of the university’s athletic teams have a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better and 18 athletic teams have a cumulative team GPA of 2.7 or higher.
• WKU student-athletes in the university’s 19 sports are majoring in 76 different programs.
Since Selig’s arrival at WKU, the Hilltoppers have been a mainstay atop the Vic Bubas Cup standings, which ranks all conference schools based on their finish in each of the league’s 19 sponsored sports. WKU has claimed four titles (2002, 2003, 2006, 2008) while finishing no worse than second over the last eight years. Hilltopper and Lady Topper teams have also been regular participants in NCAA postseason action since Selig’s arrival from the University of Virginia. Six programs have combined to make 21 NCAA Tournament appearances in team sports, and the football team claimed the 2002 NCAA Division I-AA championship, WKU’s only national title in any team sport.
While excellence in the classroom and in competition have marked the first ten years of Selig’s tenure on the Hill, it is his guidance in helping the school move up to the highest level of competition that will impact the Department of Athletics well into the future.
Selig was one of the key figures on campus to help garner the support to move the football program from the NCAA Division I-AA level to I-A, which the school’s Board of Regents voted in favor of on Nov. 2, 2006. Following a two-year transition period that began in the fall of 2007, the Hilltoppers are now the newest of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision members and are eligible to win the Sun Belt Conference and compete in a post-season bowl game for the first time in 2009.
Selig has also spearheaded over $100 million in new construction and renovations to WKU’s athletic facilities this decade including:
• Over $50 million toward the renovation and expansion of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium including a $1.5 million video replay scoreboard, a new playing surface, an 823-seat Topper Club level, and expanded seating capacity to nearly 25,000;
• A $33 million renovation to E.A. Diddle Arena that was completed in 2003;
• $3 million in baseball stadium renovations, with groundbreaking on a $1 million clubhouse scheduled to begin in the summer of 2009;
• $2.5 million toward Phase I of a new track and field complex that was completed in the spring of 2008.
• Opening the Student-Athlete Success Center in January of 2009, a 10,000 square foot complex featuring computer labs and breakout rooms for WKU student-athletes to study, work on school projects, and receive tutorial assistance and academic advising.
After inheriting an athletic program that incurred a deficit in the fiscal year prior to his arrival (1998-99), Selig’s leadership has helped grow the annual athletics department budget from $5.6 million in 1999-2000 to over $18.5 million in 2009-10. He has also spearheaded fund-raising endeavors that have secured a $5 million Houchens Industries naming rights gift, eight endowed scholarships for women’s basketball and four consecutive years of over $1 million in annual Hilltopper Athletic Foundation giving. The HAF has built a total endowment of $3.5 million.
Selig was appointed to a five-year term on the prestigious NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee in November 2006, and his influence helped WKU and E.A. Diddle Arena serve as a host site for the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. He also helped WKU partner with The Club at Olde Stone to serve as one of six regional host sites for the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships. Additionally, Selig has served as the chair of both the Sun Belt Conference Athletic Directors and Men’s Basketball committees in his time on the Hill. Selig was honored at the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance Awards Dinner in St. Louis in June 2005 for his role in instituting a full-team, pregame handshake before every Gateway Conference football match-up, making the league the first in the NCAA to implement a pregame show of sportsmanship.
Selig, starting his second decade at WKU, worked previously at the University of Virginia for 11 years, serving the last five as Associate Athletics Director for External Operations. Prior to his tenure at Virginia, Selig worked three years at Virginia Commonwealth University as Assistant Athletic Director and Director of Ticket Operations. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Washington & Lee University (1983), a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University (1987), and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Virginia (1999) with minors in statistics and business. He and his wife, Ellen, have three children, Lex (12), Nick (10) and Julianna (5).