College Football Junkie

A Blog To Share My Tour of College Football

Western Kentucky University

Posted by Strickland on September 16, 2014

I graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 1996.  During my four years (1992-1996) in Bowling Green, KY, WKU was in Division 1-AA at the time.  They were coached by Jack Harbaugh for 14 seasons.  Jack Harbaugh might be known by his son’s verses Jack’s name and coaching career.  Jack’s two son’s, Jim and John, are both NFL coaches and both have won the NFL Super Bowl by being head coaches.

While I was at WKU, we were “Independents”, meaning we didn’t belong to a football conference or league.  In basketball, we were in the Sun Belt Conference (Coach Ralph Willard was the coach, and on the team was Darrin Horn).  But, in football, at this time, we weren’t in a conference or league.  Also, we only had one side of stadium seating.  The other side, which is what WKU has now, was not built back in 1992-1996.

Jack coached Willie Taggart when he was a Quarterback.  I remember watching Willie play.  He could run and throw the ball.  “One of only three WKU players in the previous 50 years to be a four-year starter at the position and one of only four Hilltoppers players to have his jersey retired.”  Willie Taggart went to Stanford to coach Running Backs with then Coach Jim Harbaugh.  In 2010, Willie returned to WKU as the head coach for three years.  During his reign, WKU won a SEC game for the first time (in 2012 against Kentucky), and went to a bowl game for the first time (to the 2012 Little Caesar’s Bowl to lose against Central Michigan University).  After three seasons, he left to become the head coach at the University of South Florida.

As for pre-game festivities at WKU, there was tailgating across from the stadium and the band marched down the street to the stadium.  Nothing spectacular at the time like what might happen now.  WKU ended up going to the playoffs and winning the National Championship after I graduated.  I’m still proud I went there and will cheer for them.

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