FOOTBALL: School hosting championship celebration

Devinn Winkleman

Not an ounce of energy or drop of excitement has been lost for Western coach Jack Harbaugh since the Hilltoppers’ Dec. 14 I-AA football national championship win over McNeese State.

“I’m as excited today as I was five minutes after the ball game was over,” Harbaugh said.

Now, Harbaugh is urging students to come together at Diddle Arena Saturday to help celebrate the championship.

Diddle gates will open at 10 a.m. and the celebration begins at 11 a.m. Parking and admission are free.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to celebrate together,” Harbaugh said.

He added that the celebration is not just a chance to celebrate the game but also Western and college athletics.

“When I came here 14 years ago the thing I was most adamant about was getting students involved in the athletics program,” he said.

Students at the program will witness a highlight video of the four playoff games, according to Athletics Director Wood Selig.

Harbaugh will be honored by Bowling Green city officials and a commemorative road sign to honor the Toppers will be presented.

Also, legendary University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler will be on hand, as will former Western coaching icon Jimmy Feix. Feix will be presenting Harbaugh with the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year award.

There will be national championship merchandise available to purchase and individual team members will be given their own personal jersey.

And because participation in the championship game caused seniors Patrick Reynolds and Jason Michael to miss the Fall graduation ceremony, each will be given their bachelor’s degrees at the celebration.

“It’s a good feeling to have school behind, but it’s scary to be out in the real world,” Reynolds said.

Reach Devinn Winkleman at [email protected].