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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The WKU Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers are the athletic teams that represent Western Kentucky University (WKU). The men's teams uses the name Hilltoppers; however, the women's teams use the name Lady Toppers. The university's athletic program fields 17 varsity teams in 11 different sports. WKU participates in the Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes as a member of Conference USA.
On March 12, 2010, Ross Bjork, who was the senior associate athletic director for Development and External Relations for the UCLA Bruins, replaced Dr. Wood Selig, as WKU's athletic director. But in March 2012, Bjork accepted the job as Athletic Director at Ole Miss. Todd Stewart, who had served as Senior Associate Athletic Director since 2010, was named interim athletic director until May when he was officially named athletic director. WKU football was a member of the Gateway Conference through the 2006 football season and then began its 2-year transition into becoming a full Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A) member. As a member of Division I-AA, now Division I FCS, the Hilltoppers won a Division 1-AA Football Championship in 2002. In 2008, the Hilltoppers were among the Division 1-A Independents, along with the Army Black Knights, Navy Midshipmen and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In 2009, the Hilltoppers completed the transition and joined the Sun Belt Conference. In 2012, the Hilltoppers clinched the Sun Belt championship and their first ever bowl trip, but lost to Central Michigan in the Little Caesars' Pizza Bowl. On December 10, 2012, Bobby Petrino was announced as the new head football coach. WKU baseball competes at Nick Denes Field. The team won the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2009, their first title. With the help of Matt Rice behind the plate as an All American Catcher.