WKU Athletics expanding Hall of Fame to include teams

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Alumni W-Club has expanded the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame to include great teams in all sports in Western Kentucky University’s long and storied athletic history.

The first teams to be inducted are two legendary WKU Football teams — the 2002 National Champion team and the 1952 Ohio Valley Conference and Refrigerator Bowl Champion Team.

Those outstanding teams will be honored at halftime of the 2019 Hilltoppers’ home game with Conference USA foe Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff for that contest is set for 3:00 p.m. CT in Houchens-Smith Stadium.

The teams will be formally inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame at a private reception for team members and their guests at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

The 2002 NCAA I-AA champions – coached by Jack Harbaugh and captained by Sherrod Coates, Peter Martinez, Jason Michael and Chris Price – rebounded from a 2-3 start to win 10 straight games, including the last four in NCAA playoff competition, to claim the national championship. The Hilltoppers finished the season 12-3 overall (6-1 in Gateway Football Conference play) to earn the coveted number-one ranking in the final poll.

Topper All-Americans on that club were: Coates (linebacker), Price (offensive lineman), Buster Ashley (offensive lineman) and Jeremi Johnson (fullback). All-GFC honorees were: Coates, Price, Ashley, Jeremy Chandler (defensive back), Patrick Reynolds (defensive line), Antonio Veals (defensive back), Erik Dandy (linebacker), Jon Frazier (running back), Daniel Withrow (offensive lineman), Brian Claybourn (punter), Jon Drummond (linebacker), Martinez (placekicker) and Micheal (quarterback).

The 1952 Toppers – coached by Jack Clayton and captained by Willard Price and Willie Watson – capped off the OVC championship (WKU’s first in that conference) season earning the school’s first postseason bowl invitation, defeating Arkansas State 34-19 in the Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, and going 9-1 overall (4-1 in OVC action). Hilltopper legend and All-American Jimmy Feix quarterbacked that club, which outscored its opposition by an average of three touchdowns per game.

All-OVC selections on the ‘52 club were: Feix, Robert “Bubber” Simpson (end), Marvin Satterly (guard), Gene McFadden (fullback) and Max Stevens (halfback).

WKU Athletic Hall of Fame Teams will be enshrined on a wall on the ground level of E.A. Diddle Arena across the hall from the Media Center.