Pratt: New era starts for Hilltopper athletics

Wide Receiver Boe Brand and his teammates make an entrance into L.T. Smith Stadium for the WKU homecoming game against Louisiana-Monroe Saturday, October 20.

Elliott Pratt

If you’re a freshman, welcome to WKU. If you’ve been here for a bit, welcome back. Whether you’re a freshman, or a senior with one semester between you and the start of your career, like me, you know there are a few things about this place that have been implanted into your brain by the university.

For starters, you’re going to have lethal calf muscles in about a year from walking up that hill back and forth to class.

Secondly, Big Red is awesome. No one knows exactly what it is or why it’s here, but it’s awesome. If you disagree – transfer.

Thirdly, you’re guaranteed to see that giant, loveable, blob at a sporting event.

You’re reading this column because you’re on the sports page, which means something in sports has intrigued you to a point that you’ve read this far down the page.

This year, sports on the Hill will be intriguing to watch. The catch is, students need to be there to find out all about them, and the fall semester is the perfect time to see them all.

If you’re new to WKU, it’s the perfect time to see what the sports scene has to offer. The Hilltoppers are new to Conference USA with old rivalries now renewed. The level of competition is tougher, and nearly all teams are primed for some level of success after 32 years in the Sun Belt Conference.

Football is pretty much guaranteed a bowl game if they reach six wins this season. For those of you who’ve been here to see the team get snubbed two out of the last three years, that’s some good news.

First-year Head Coach Jeff Brohm returns a lot of talent to the offense that is going to put up a lot of points in C-USA. You’ll get your first chance to see that offense Friday night in L.T. Smith Stadium against Bowling Green State.

Volleyball is and always has been dominant. They ran the table in the Sun Belt for many years, and new competition may give Coach Travis Hudson and the girls a challenge. This is a team that consistently ranks in the top-25 nationally. So why wouldn’t you want to go watch them?

Soccer is coming off its first Sun Belt regular season title and has a nice 2-0 start to the season. A lot of you may still be on your World Cup high, and an afternoon soccer match may have a nice appeal after class.

About the time you pull the jacket out of the closet, sneakers will start squeaking on John Oldham Court in Diddle Arena.

Coach Ray Harper and the boys will put a product on the floor that could make some noise in C-USA with a lot of senior talent that has championship experience.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard and her Lady Toppers will be who I’m most looking forward to watching this season. They had an incredible run toward a Sun Belt Tournament title and hung with Baylor until the buzzer sounded in the NCAA Tournament last year.

All this is to say there is no better time for you get out of your shell and go to these events.

I mean, they’re free, so go.

WKU students are notorious for finding excuses for not going to games. A few exceptions like jobs and children are legitimate, but the greater majority of you are new adults who don’t need to go home every weekend to see Mom and Dad.

WKU is doing everything it can to get students involved with sports, providing incentives for students to show up to the games.

They want butts in the seats, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t want to put them there.

You’re in college now. Get out and experience what it has to offer. Big Red and I will see you at the game.