Taggart drums up fan support at student pep rally

Head Coach Willie Taggart talks to a crowd on campus during a pep rally between the Downing University Center and Minton Hall a day before WKU’s game against Navy. It was the second straight year for a student pep rally before WKU’s first home game.

Brad Stephens

Head Coach Willie Taggart had a request to WKU students gathered Friday in front of the Downing University Center for the team’s annual pep rally: Come to Smith Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday to watch the Toppers play Navy, and be loud.

“We don’t need you just to show up tomorrow. We need you to show up be rowdy,” Taggart said. “You all can push our football team to the level we need in order to win some football games.” 

Taggart was joined behind DUC by the WKU Marching Band, cheerleaders, the Topperette dance team and Big Red.

Cornerback Derrius Brooks, linebacker Ben Duvall and left tackle Wes Jeffries, all seniors, and tight end Jack Doyle and cornerback Jamal Forrest, both juniors, stood behind Taggart. 

President Gary Ransdell and his wife, Julie, as well as Athletics Director Ross Bjork were also in attendance.

This is the second consecutive year that a pep rally has been held before WKU’s first game at Smith Stadium.

Last year Ransdell, Bjork and then-junior running back Bobby Rainey joined Taggart in speaking at the event, a day before WKU was defeated 38-21 by Indiana.

On Friday, Taggart encouraged the fans to “show Navy how we do it in Bowling Green, Ky.”

“We’re going to welcome them with a smile and they’re going to leave with a smile,” Taggart said. “But it all depends on you showing up tomorrow night and how rowdy you get tomorrow night.

“You all have to make it dreadful for anyone to come into Houchens-Smith Stadium and play the Hilltoppers.”