In 2007: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers men’s basketball team wins the Sun Belt Conference championship and makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995. The team advances to the Sweet 16, losing to UCLA.
Courtney Lee is a former American professional basketball player who played college basketball for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers from 2004 to 2008. Lee played as a shooting guard and was one of the top players in the Sun Belt Conference during his time with the Hilltoppers. During his senior year in 2008, Lee was named the Sun Belt Conference Player ...
In 2009: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers football team wins the Sun Belt Conference championship and makes its first appearance in a bowl game since 1973, defeating the University of Memphis in the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl.
In 2012: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers football team wins the Sun Belt Conference championship for the second consecutive year and makes its second consecutive bowl appearance, defeating the University of Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
In 2013: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers men’s basketball team wins the Sun Belt Conference championship and makes its second NCAA Tournament appearance in six years, losing in the first round to Kansas.
History of the Hilltoppers
As one of the oldest collegiate sports programs in the country, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have a long and proud history. The program was established in 1907 as a more significant effort to increase university athletic participation and school spirit. Since then, they’ve become one of college athletics' most successful teams, with over 20 NCAA tournament appearances since their first appearance in the 1960-61 season.
The Hilltoppers have had great success over recent years, including winning four consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles from 2008-2012 and making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2011-2013, reaching the Sweet 16 twice (2011 & 2013). They also won two NIT championships during this period (2009 & 2012). In addition to these successes, WKU has produced many outstanding players, such as Courtney Lee, who went on to play for several NBA teams, including New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and Houston Rockets; Chris Marcus, who was named Sun Belt Player Of The Year back in 2002; George Fant who currently plays for Seattle Seahawks; plus many more notable alumni that are still playing professionally today throughout different leagues around the world.
While there is no denying that WKU has achieved much success historically and recently within its various sports programs across basketball, football, baseball, etc., it's essential not to forget all those former players whose hard work helped make this possible. Without them, we wouldn't be here today enjoying what makes us so passionate about being fans! Whether you're a new or old fan alike, let's take a moment to recognize how far we've come together and journey toward glory!
College Sports Established
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Western Kentucky University
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1948 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2014 - Present / Conference USA
1982 - 2014 / Sun Belt Conference
1948 - 1982 / Ohio Valley Conference
Hilltoppers - The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have been a staple of college football since 1908, and their nickname has become synonymous with the university. But where did it come from? We must look at this storied program's history to answer that question.
The nickname's origin can be traced back to 1909 when WKU was still known as Western Kentucky State Normal School (WKSN). At that time, most students were either teachers or aspiring teachers who wore “hilltop” hats while attending classes on campus. This gave rise to the term “Hilltopper,” which stuck and eventually became associated with WKU athletics teams in general.
Over time, other schools began adopting similar nicknames, such as "Highlanders" for Eastern Kentucky University or "Tops" for Murray State University. Still, none quite matched up to whatWesternKentucky had established over 100 years ago: The Hilltoppers!
Today, this iconic name is still proudly worn by all athletes representing Western Kentucky Hilltops NCAA sports teams across many different divisions, including Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), NCAA Division I FCS, and even basketball programs like men's basketball teams making Final Four appearances in 2008 & 2020. It is truly an honor for any athlete who wears these colors and represents such a historic program whose roots date back more than 110 years!
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.