Director of Athletics Ross Bjork Sends Open Letter to the Hilltopper Nation

 

Dear Hilltopper Nation,

BIG WEEKEND ON THE HILL

I want to thank all of you for supporting WKU Athletics.  This weekend marks an exciting time to be a Hilltopper and be an integral part of the spirit and passion of WKU.  Our football program is set to host the US Naval Academy – perhaps the best college football program to ever visit WKU – on Saturday where we will show our appreciation to all branches of the United States Military and pay tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  It is such a unique opportunity to host a service academy on our campus but especially during this time in our nation’s history.  All of us will be especially proud to be an American and part of the WKU family on Saturday night!

We are also hosting home soccer matches on Friday night and Sunday afternoon and a big-time volleyball tournament with Wake Forest, LSU, and Xavier all competing against our Lady Toppers in Diddle Arena.  Our soccer and volleyball teams are off to a great start in 2011 and I encourage you to watch our student-athletes play when you visit campus this weekend.  WKU Athletics is proud to be part of the community and provide great entertainment for friends and families who live in Bowling Green and the surrounding region. 

SUPPORTING WKU ATHLETICS

There is no better time to be part of the Hilltopper family than right now.  Our athletic program continues to grow each and every day with an increasing number of people becoming involved in purchasing season tickets, becoming HAF members through the Power of One campaign, purchasing Hilltopper merchandise, attending a single game on our campus, or following us on Facebook or Twitter.  There are more people engaged in our program than ever before and we must continue to build our fan base in Bowling Green and the surrounding region if we want to reach our goals.  Friend and alumni support is more critical than ever as we build our program each and every day.  Please visit www.wkusports.com to discover the many ways to get involved or refer a friend to become more involved.

This past year we faced several challenges and obstacles with a few of our marquee programs and we did not perform up to the expectations that all of you have for success, on and off the field and courts.  I can assure you that no one is working harder than our staff, coaches, and student-athletes to get us back to the pedestal that you are accustomed to each and every year.  The best thing about college athletics is the renewed excitement that each year brings and we are committed to having broad success in all of our athletic programs.  Our pledge is to compete for and win championships while operating a model athletics program that you can be proud of. 

Our commitment is also to provide great customer service as you attend our events.  Beginning this weekend – you should frequently hear our ticket takers, ushers and game management staff use this greeting:  Welcome to WKU – Thanks for coming.  If you do not hear that message often, please let me know at Ross.Bjork@wku.edu or 270-745-5276.

THE FUTURE

Many of you have also been following the recent news in college athletics about conference realignment and all the speculation those discussions bring to the table.  We are a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference but one thing is for certain, the world of the unknown is always possible and it is our job to assess and monitor each move across the country.  I can assure you, President Ransdell and I are in constant communication with our colleagues around the country about the future of conference affiliations and we are prepared to face whatever the future holds. 

No matter what happens across the country, WKU is poised and ready – a prime position of strength.  There are many examples that we can cite as positive influences and signs of success for WKU Athletics in the current landscape of college athletics: 

  • $100 million of facility upgrades since 2003
  • Recent and long term success in marquee sports
  • Transition to Division IA (FBS) football
  • 76 Sun Belt Conference championships since 2000
  • Growth of the entire University in the last decade
  • Academic success of the entire institution and in particular, our student-athletes
  • Strength of the WKU and Hilltopper brand through local, regional, and national platforms

Since my arrival last year, I have stated that the support of our program cannot be one dimensional in scope.  Meaning, it is imperative that we build a bigger and stronger fan base with your help.  We have been out and about in Bowling Green and the Commonwealth Spreading the Red and educating the public about the significance and prestige of hosting big-time college athletics right in our back yard.  You could not ask for a better way to be entertained than to visit the WKU campus.  The maintaining and building of this program takes everyone’s commitment.  You, your family, friends, and neighbors are a big part of our foundation for success.

Thank you for your support of WKU Athletics – no matter the form or fashion you show your Hilltopper pride.  We cannot do it alone and I look forward to seeing you this weekend and throughout the year at the many events on campus. 

Cheers to you,

 

Ross Bjork

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics