Jim McDaniels

Western Kentucky’s Jim McDaniels (right) and Jacksonville’s Artis Gilmore (53) face off during the 1971 NCAA Tournament.

The WKU Alumni W-Club announced Thursday the 16 athletic teams that will make up the inaugural class of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame Teams.

The W-Club expanded the Athletic Hall of Fame last year for the first time to induct great teams, not just individuals.

Recognition of the 16 teams considered as the “Inaugural Class” began in November when the 2002 and 1952 football teams were honored on campus.

The W-Club Board of Directors elected to select multiple teams to be honored as the Inaugural Class when faced with the task of recognizing the long list of great teams at WKU. As a result, the 16 teams listed below will comprise the first class.

“I am so very proud of the rich athletic tradition at WKU,” W-Club Board Chairman Bryan Baysinger said in a news release. “Our history dictates and deserves a large Inaugural Class.

“The W-Club looks forward to honoring these teams and the others that will follow in decades to come.”

The 14 additional members of the class will be recognized on campus three or four squads at a time over the next four years. The order and dates of the recognition celebrations are yet to be determined.

The complete 16-team Inaugural Class includes the following Hilltopper and Lady Topper teams (listed alphabetically by sport):

Baseball

1980 – 47-13-1 overall (most wins in school history); NCAA South Region runner-up; Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament champion; ranked 18th in the final Collegiate Baseball poll

Men’s Basketball

1941-42 – 29-5 overall; NIT national runner-up; Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion; Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic (KIAC) champion

1947-48 – 28-2 overall; NIT 3rd place; KIAC champion; best record in the nation

1953-54 – 29-3 overall; NIT fourth place; OVC champion; ranked sixth (UPI) and eighth in the final polls

1965-66 – 25-3 overall; NCAA Sweet 16; OVC regular season and conference champion; ranked 10th in final AP poll

1966-67 – 23-3 overall; NCAA Tournament; OVC regular season and tournament champion; ranked sixth and seventh (UPI) in the final polls

1970-71 – 24-6 overall; NCAA Final Four (third place); NCAA Mideast Region champion; OVC champion; ranked seventh by both AP and UPI in the final polls

Women’s Basketball

1984-85 – 28-6 overall; NCAA Final Four (semifinalist); NCAA Mideast Region champion; ranked 14th in the final AP poll

1985-86 – 32-4 overall (most wins in school history); NCAA Final Four (semifinalist); NCAA East Region champion; Sun Belt Conference (SBC) regular season and tournament champion; ranked third (USA Today Coaches) and fifth in the final polls

1991-92 – 27-8 overall; NCAA Final Four (runner-up); NCAA Mideast Region champion; SBC tournament champion and regular season co-champion; ranked third (USA Today Coaches) and 15th in the final polls

Men’s Cross Country

1974 – NCAA National runner-up; NCAA District III champion; OVC champion; undefeated heading into national championship meet

Football

1952 – 9-1 overall; Refrigerator Bowl and OVC champion; first Hilltopper team earn a bowl bid

1963 – 10-0-1 overall; Tangerine Bowl and OVC champion; only undefeated team in WKU football history

1973 – 12-1 overall; NCAA Division II national runner-up; Grantland Rice Bowl and OVC champion

1975 – 11-2 overall; NCAA Division II national runner-up; Grantland Rice Bowl and OVC champion

2002 – 12-3 overall; NCAA Division I-AA national champion; Gateway Football Conference co-champion; ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final I-AA poll{&end}

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