Toppers on Tour and Hilltoppers with Heart make impact in Glasgow

WKU football coach Bobby Petrino speaks to the crowd for Toppers on Tour at the Boys & Girls Club in Glasgow

Elliott Pratt

Toppers on Tour completed its final leg of the summer journey at the Boys & Girls Club in Glasgow.

But before the evening festivities with WKU coaches, four men’s basketball players and three volleyball players spent the day Tuesday volunteering their time to help the kids at the center as a part of Hilltoppers with Heart.

Athletic director Todd Stewart told the crowd that the student athletes had put in nearly 500 hours of community service, greatly exceeding their original goal of 365 hours.

Stewart said the next goal will be 750 hours.

“It’s just the beginning, really,” Stewart said. “We were here a couple of months ago and we’ll keep coming back. We have a responsibility to the community and it’s vital that we give back. It’s good for our athletes too. They actually enjoy being with the kids as much as the kids enjoy having them here.”

A partnership between WKU athletics and the United Way has motivated student athletes to help kids in numerous organizations around south central Kentucky.

Lindsay Boyden, assistant athletic director of marketing, said the student athletes often come to her asking to help in the community.

“We’ve tried to do something every month,” Boyden said. “We pride ourselves on getting back into the community with the kids. Today was awesome, these kids loved the basketball players and the volleyball players.”

Hilltoppers with Heart capped the day off with the finale of Toppers on Tour. Glasgow came as the last of five cities the caravan visited in an effort to promote WKU athletics.

WKU men’s basketball coach Ray Harper said it’s nice to interact with fans outside of campus.

“It’s always good to see fans and to have the opportunity to spend time with them away from Diddle Arena,” Harper said. “I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Boyden said promotional events like Toppers on Tour are the best way to get alumni, fans, and the student body excited about what’s to come with WKU athletics.

“It’s just tapping into the fan base and getting the students on board and giving them something to be excited about,” Boyden said. “I think it’s really important to constantly remind them of what WKU is all about.”

Stewart said he was pleased with the way Toppers on Tour wrapped up the summer.

“I think it was very effective,” Stewart said. “It was nice to interact with the fans in an informal setting and enable them to visit with our coaches before and after the event in a way that you really can’t on a game day. The turn out was good, the media coverage was good, overall it turned out to be a really big success.”