Director of Athletics Ross Bjork Sends Open Letter to Hilltopper Nation

Dear Hilltopper Nation,

22,113.  You may have heard this number before, but that is the capacity of Houchens-LT Smith Stadium on our campus of Western Kentucky University.  There are almost 60,000 people who live in Bowling Green, 120,000 who reside in our “metropolitan” area, and 270,000 people who live in the ten county Barren River Economic District.  Our community and region is keenly aware of WKU and the positive impact we have on the region and the quality of life for our residents.  

22,113.  In addition to the immediate region around Bowling Green, there are 7,300 alumni who live in Nashville, over 5,000 alumni who make Owensboro home, and 14,500 alumni who live in the Louisville-Elizabethtown region.  A majority of Hilltopper Nation in these regions live less than two hours from our campus.  I point out this data to illustrate the great capacity we have to provide the right resources for our student-athletes and to compete at the highest level of NCAA intercollegiate athletics. 

22,113.  On Saturday, November 5, we host Florida International University in a home football game at 3:00 pm at Houchens-Smith Stadium.  Our football team holds a 4-4 record after winning four straight games and now sits at 4-1 in the Sun Belt Conference.  FIU was picked to win the conference and this game represents a tremendous opportunity for our program to take the next step in our goals for success – including the race for the Sun Belt Conference title.  There are many more compelling reasons to visit campus – the best of which is to support your team!

22,113.  We are challenging all of you in Hilltopper Nation to fill the stadium this Saturday!  As we have said many times before, we cannot do it alone and this team needs you to be here wearing your WKU Red and cheering on the Hilltoppers.  All of us here at WKU urge you to bring a fellow student, family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor – whoever you can find – and be at Houchens-Smith Stadium!

22,113.  Our athletics staff has continued to be creative and offer a great atmosphere for big time college football at an affordable price.  A few weeks ago we designated this Saturday’s game against FIU as Fan Appreciation Day which enables you to purchase tickets for $6 – hot dogs for $1 – and Pepsi drinks for $1.  This is the second year in a row we have offered this promotion and this is the biggest game at WKU since we stepped up to Division I-A.  There are also plenty of parking spaces for you to tailgate and enjoy campus before the game. 

22,113.  Please call 800-5-BIGRED or visit www.wkusports.com to purchase your seats now and learn more about WKU Football. If you are unable to attend the game, we can distribute any of your purchased tickets to local charities and youth groups.

22,113.  Our foundation for success has been laid with the right elements to compete for championships at the highest level.  Your football team has shown tremendous resiliency in overcoming a difficult start to the season, and today only 12 teams in the country have a longer winning streak than our four game streak.  Bobby Rainey ranks 6th in the nation in rushing and Andrew Jackson ranks 8th in the nation in tackles for loss.

22,113.  As the regional population and WKU alumni data shows, we can fill Houchens-Smith Stadium each and every weekend.  We need and ask for our fans to join our foundation and provide us with the energy to create an intimidating home-field advantage.  Please challenge yourself and do whatever it takes to fill Houchens-Smith Stadium to support our student-athletes!

22,113.  We thank you for your support and Go Hilltoppers!  See you on Saturday.

Cheers,
Ross Bjork
Director of Athletics