WKU’s Hudson honored with Spirit of WKU Award, program receives highest preseason ranking


Credit: Clinton Lewis/Western Kentucky University

WKU Volleyball head coach Travis Hudson accepts the 2021 Spirit of WKU Award from university president Timothy Caboni on Aug. 15, 2021

Cassady Lamb, Volleyball reporter

WKU Volleyball head coach Travis Hudson was named the winner of the 2021 Spirit of WKU Award during university president Timothy Caboni’s convocation on Monday.

The Spirit of WKU award “recognizes an individual who represents enthusiasm for WKU, loyalty to the institution and principles of the WKU experience and its motto ‘The Spirit Makes the Master,’” according to WKU News. Caboni stated that Hudson’s impact goes beyond the program’s success.

Hudson graduated from WKU in 1994 and is entering his 27th season as head coach of the university’s volleyball program. His Hilltoppers brought home a 23-1 record during the 2020-21 season as well as a Sweet Sixteen appearance, the best result in program history.

The WKU volleyball program earned an honor of its own on Monday as well, receiving its highest-ever Preseason AVCA Coaches Poll ranking (16). 

WKU will enter a season ranked in the top 25 for the fourth time in program history and the second season in a row. The Hilltoppers entered the 2020-21 season ranked no. 25. All 14 members of last season’s Sweet Sixteen squad is returning along with four new faces.

The Hilltoppers began their season with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and will host the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats on Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. CT as part of a free exhibition open to the public.

The Hilltoppers’ regular season will officially kick off on Friday, Aug. 27 at the Golden Dome Invitational hosted by Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. WKU will begin play at 10 a.m. CT against Oakland. WKU will play in front of its home crowd on Tuesday, Aug. 31 against Belmont at E. A. Diddle Arena.

Volleyball reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @lambp0p.