Former AD Selig returning to WKU this weekend

Wood Selig, former WKU atheltic director

Elliott Pratt

WKU has seen 15 athletic directors in the school’s existence. WKU will honor its third-longest tenured athletic director Saturday when Wood Selig brings his Old Dominion Monarchs to town to face the Hilltoppers for a 3 p.m. CT kickoff.

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson has declared Saturday as ‘Wood Selig Appreciation Day’ for his contributions as athletic director at WKU from 1999 to 2010.

Selig and his family will be honored after the first quarter of the WKU football game Saturday, which happens to be the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the gridiron.

“I’m very, very excited to see the people of Bowling Green and all our friends that we left in Bowling Green and certainly, the university and all the great transformations that continue to go on at WKU,” Selig said. “It’s a very special place, a very special institution, and I can not wait to get back and spend a weekend there.”

During Selig’s tenure, WKU won 66 Sun Belt Conference championships and moved WKU football from NCAA Division I-AA (FCS) to I-A (FBS) in 2007.

Upgrading facilities to state-of-the-art status with more than $100 million spent in renovation projects was, perhaps, the highlight of Selig’s tenure.

In 2002, Diddle Arena underwent a $32 million renovation that included a new playing floor, new seating, two video boards and 16 luxury suites.

In 2006, renovations to Smith Stadium began that featured the construction of a new side that added 5,000 additional seats, including an 832-seat club level.

Selig hired current Athletic Director Todd Stewart in 2008 as associate athletic director of communications and media relations.

“Only two (athletic directors) have served longer than Wood Selig and that was Ed Diddle and John Oldham,” Stewart said. “He has a pretty distinguished tenure in which a lot of notable things happened. There was success on the field of play.”

Stewart said there were also significant facilities’ expansions with Smith Stadium, Diddle Arena, the Charles M. Rueter Track and Field Complex and the Paul Orberson Baseball Clubhouse.

Selig, who was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, returned to his hometown to lead Old Dominion in the same role. Replicating his success at WKU, Selig helped lead the Monarchs out of the FCS into their first year as a FBS school in Conference USA.

The trip to Bowling Green will be the first for Selig and his family since he accepted the athletic director position at ODU in May of 2010.

“I was thrilled when Western Kentucky was invited to join Conference USA because I knew that meant I could become more of a regular visitor to Bowling Green and our teams would be competing consistently throughout the year,” Selig said. “I got to witness that firsthand when the Western Kentucky women’s soccer team came in here to play our women’s soccer team. That was really a unique experience.”