VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
BOX/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Western Kentucky AD proud of athletic, acad

Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart is proud of the school's ongoing success in competition and classwork.

Advertisement

The Hilltoppers earned Conference USA titles in women's basketball and volleyball this past year, bringing the total to 24 since entering the league in 2014. Stewart noted that his school has twice the hardware of the next closest conference member, Middle Tennessee, over the same time period.

WKU also posted a graduation rate of 85 percent with 11 of 14 programs registering at least 970 in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate. Four posted perfect 1,000 scores, making Stewart proud on multiple levels as he enters his seventh year as AD.

''Big-picture wise, I feel really good about where we are because the winning continued,'' Stewart told the Associated Press. ''We've doubled everybody up and at the same time our graduation success rate is 85 percent, the highest it's been in WKU athletics.

''That speaks to our coaches and athletes and doing it the right way, and doing it well.''

Volleyball showed that by winning its fourth consecutive regular season and tournament titles and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Alyssa Cavanaugh was recently named C-USA Female Athlete of the Year, the third Hilltopper to earn the prestigious honor over the past four years.

Women's basketball meanwhile won its second consecutive tournament title and third in four years under former coach Michelle Clark-Heard. The former Hilltopper player left soon after the NCAA Tournament for the head coaching job at Cincinnati, where she had been an assistant.

Stewart wasn't shocked Clark-Heard earned another opportunity after she went 154-48 over six seasons with four NCAA appearances in Bowling Green. The AD promoted associate coach Greg Collins to the lead job, believing his familiarity with the program can maintain the winning.

''She just did a phenomenal job,'' Stewart said of Clark-Heard. ''We knew we had a succession plan in place, so when she decided to go to Cincinnati it was easy to name Greg the head coach, and our players are excited about that.''

Men's basketball has generated similar anticipation after reaching the NIT semifinal under second-year coach Rick Stansbury. Early-season upsets of No. 18 Purdue and SMU spurred WKU (27-11) to achieve its highest win total in a decade before falling to Utah in New York City.

Stansbury's next step is earning the `Toppers' first NCAA appearance since 2013 with a C-USA title and automatic bid. Encouraged by an incoming class featuring 6-foot-11 Charles Bassey and a returning cast led by guard Taveion Hollingsworth - a former AP Kentucky Player of the Year - the coach believes his team is capable of bigger things.

''I don't want it to be `maybe'. We can,'' Stansbury said of his team's outlook. ''Last year was a brand new team, a fun team to watch. We had some great success early. This is a fun team because we have good people and that's why it mixed so well.''

After back-to-back C-USA titles and bowl wins under Jeff Brohm, the football team finished 6-7 in Mike Sanford's head coaching debut and played in its fourth consecutive bowl. Linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (fourth round, Chicago Bears) and quarterback Mike White (fifth round, Dallas Cowboys) were selected in the NFL Draft, giving the program seven selections since 2016.

The Hilltoppers' challenge now is replacing those two key players with a schedule that includes in-state rival Louisville and Big Ten member Wisconsin along with a tough C-USA docket.

''The problems that come with winning are better than those that come with losing,'' said Stewart, who has seen Bobby Petrino (Louisville) and Brohm (Purdue) parlay successful WKU tenures into Power 5 coaching jobs. He believes WKU can compete this year now that Sanford has put talent and personnel in place.

''People became used to precedent and it's hard to win three (titles) in a row,'' he added. ''Last year was kind of a reset, mainly because the 2017 roster was so different from 2016.''

Stewart's positive outlook for his program is being reflected in facility upgrades to meet increased ticket demand, especially in basketball. The football stadium and basketball arena will add video boards and improve sound systems, and the AD is eager to see how C-USA's new TV deal with CBS Sports Network benefits exposure.

The AD acknowledges that WKU remains challenged financially, but takes satisfaction in how his program has thrived despite lagging behind other conference schools. Stewart believes that success will pay off and remains committed to making it happen.

''Hopefully the situation gets better for us, because if it does I think we can do bigger and better things,'' he said. ''What we sell here is that we have a winning culture. There are a lot of positives, and that's what we try to focus on.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
· Williams: Opening Line Report - Week 11
· YouWager.eu: Games to Watch - Week 11
· Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 11
· Roberts: Books rebound in Week 10
· YouWager.eu: Hot & Not Report
· Williams: Betting Recap - Week 10
· Hue Jackson back in Cincinnati to help
· Manning's late TD leads Giants past 49ers
· Bengals fire DC after rout by Saints
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
6-1 Last Sunday, 8-3 G-Plays TY
6 Wins in a Row, 13-6 Totals, +899
11-3 L4 Sun, 25-11 Run, 13-5 Totals
5-2 Last Sunday, 7-2 NFL Streak
5-2 Week 10, 17-9 Totals, +932 TY
9-3 L2 Sun, 16-9 Run, 15-8 G-Plays
4-1 Last Sunday, 18-6 L4 Sundays
9-4 L2 Sundays, +847 This Year
4-0 Totals, +714 Overall TY
6-0 L3 Sundays, 9-4 G-Plays TY
4-1 L5 G-Plays, 56% +1,115 TY
21-10 L5 Sundays, 6-2 L8 G-Plays
3-1 L2 Sundays, 14-6 L20 Picks
6-3 Record L2 Sundays
4 Straight Guaranteed Winners
4-1 Record L2 Sundays
5-2 L7 Guaranteed Plays
7-3 Record Last 2 Sundays
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks
2018 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1115
Paul Bovi + 932
Kyle Hunter + 899
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 485
Matt Blunt + 385
NeiltheGreek + 369
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Kyle Hunter 65 %
Paul Bovi 60 %
Doc's Sports 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 622
Scott Rickenbach + 568
Kevin Rogers + 565
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 760
Paul Bovi + 717
Kyle Hunter + 642
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 778
Micah Roberts + 729
Doc's Sports + 654
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership