BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball head coach Rick Stansbury walked to
the microphone Friday at the program’s Media Day and announced that his prophecy has
In March 2016, Stansbury stated at his introductory press conference that a time
would come very soon when fans would show up to buy a ticket to watch his team play,
and there wouldn’t be a ticket for sale.
On Friday, Stansbury unveiled that general season tickets are sold out for the
2018-19 season. A handful of premium season tickets remain – and some single-game
tickets will be released at a later date – but ticket booths will not be open on
gameday for any Hilltopper game this season.
“I think it’s great for everybody,” Stansbury said. “Everybody wins. The city of
Bowling Green wins, it helps the community in general. Western Kentucky wins, the
excitement of coming to a game, to me what it does for your students, being able to
come to a game and see a sellout and take some pride in that. Have some pride in the
atmosphere and the team they have.
“Again, as far as our team, I know what it does for our team. The energy that they
can feed off of. There’s nights and parts in a game that you may not be playing very
well. Basketball is such a game of emotion and sometimes a crowd can get us going. A
play, you feed off the energy in that building, can get a team going sometimes. Even
to say this, sometimes it has some things to do with the way you coach on the
emotion of the energy in the building. That may sound different for some of you, but
I’ve made decisions sometimes to feed off of the building, to trap it, to press it
more. You can get a team going to feed off of that atmosphere. From all of those
things, it’s a win-win and I would think everyone who shows up for a game would much
rather show up with the atmosphere like we’re going to have here in Diddle and how
much more exciting it’s going to be for everybody.”
This is believed to be the first time since the opening of Diddle Arena that the
school has sold out of season tickets in the preseason.
Diddle Arena previously held about 12,000 fans before the 2002 renovation which
reduced capacity to 7,326. Additional courtside seating and added lounge seating
this year has increased the capacity to 7,523.
“It’s going to be fun because I know how much a crowd, how much it means in a game
and how much the energy in the crowd plays off in a win,” graduate senior forward
Desean Murray said. “To have this building sold out and to have the fans behind us
like they are, it’s just going to be a fun season and a fun arena to play in.”
WKU has sold well over 5,000 season tickets this season after finishing last season
The Hilltoppers’ average attendance last season of 5,487 was the program’s highest
since the 2007-08 Sweet 16 campaign. WKU sold out the last four Saturdays of the
regular season in 2017-18 and filled the building to 88.7 percent capacity over the
final eight games.
“I expect more than that,” sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth said. “Looking out
there and seeing everybody brings joy to me and it shows that people love to come
and watch us play. Seeing that, it gets me real hype. Seeing my teammates hype,
seeing Coach (Stansbury) hype, just seeing anybody yelling with us and in the game
with us, it shows a lot and we need more of that.”
The Hilltoppers open play with an exhibition against Campbellsville at 7 p.m. CT
Tuesday, followed with another tune-up against Kentucky Wesleyan at 2 p.m.
An extremely limited number of single-game tickets for those exhibitions will go on
sale at 8 a.m. CT Monday for $15 apiece.
Redshirt junior guard/forward Jared Savage, a Bowling Green native, had a simple
message for all of those who already have tickets, as well as WKU students.
“It means a lot but just because the season tickets are sold out doesn’t mean
anything, people have to come,” Savage said. “We want everybody to show up, all the
students to show up and fill up the student section and turn this place up.”