Doughty, Noble named WKU athletes of the year after strong year for Hilltopper athletics

WKU’s quarterback Brandon Doughty (12) gets ready to hand off the ball during the WKU Hilltoppers 58-28 win against the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders football game on Saturday at L.T. Smith Stadium. Shaban Athuman/HERALD

John Reecer

The WKU athletic department announced on Wednesday afternoon that WKU’s football’s Brandon Doughty and women’s basketball’s Kendall Noble were named WKU’s Athletes of the Year for 2015-16.

Doughty became the first-ever back-to-back winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player honors and led the Hilltoppers to their first-ever Associated Press Top 25 ranking and one of the greatest seasons in program history. 

Noble became just the fourth player in Conference-USA history to sweep both the Player and Defensive Player of the Year award during her 2015-16 season that saw her rank in the top 10 in C-USA in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. 

“This is a very deserving recognition for Kendall and Brandon,” Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said in a press release. “Their exemplary individual achievements in many cases set unprecedented standards, but more importantly resulted in significant team success.”

Doughty led the nation in passing yards (5,055) and passing touchdowns (48) for the second consecutive year and added a third national-best number, completion percentage (71.9), in 2015.

The Davie, Fla., native was drafted by his hometown Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft after having set 37 school records during his time at WKU.

Noble was named First Team All-C-USA and was a four-time C-USA Player of the Week, which tied for the most among all players in the conference.

She also became the first player in WKU’s history to record a triple-double, doing so twice against C-USA competition in 2015-16.

The Hazard, Ky., native became WKU’s first CoSIDA Academic All-American since 1981, earning Third Team honors from the organization to join Alicia Polson and Laurie Heltsley as the only recipients in program history.

The athletic program at WKU also saw another year in which the school led C-USA in championships won with six this past season. 

WKU’s 14 league championships over the past two seasons are double the next closest school in the league which is Rice University with seven.

Across football, men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, WKU’s 179 combined wins are the most in the country among the 125 FBS schools while the program’s 75.8-percent winning percentage across those same sports is second-best nationally.

Off the field in 2015-16, WKU achieved an APR score of 950 or higher, 20 points higher than the NCAA’s mandated 930 minimum, across all sports for the first time in school history.

Forty-one student athletes received C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medals for posting cumulative GPA’s of 3.75 or higher while 155 were named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll list.

Approximately 109 student-athletes graduated in 2015-16 with 32 earning their degrees in December 2015 and another 77 in May 2016.