Later this month, WKU will play in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, and long-time Hilltoppers say this means more for the school's football program than many know.
"How much this means to the players playing right now, certainly, but it means a whole lot to the ones playing prior to that," said WKU Athletic Training Dir. Bill Edwards.
There's more history behind this bowl game than you'd think.
Technically, it's not the Hilltoppers' first trip to a bowl, but it is the first one since becoming a Football Bowl Subdivision team. It's no secret the journey to this point hasn't been easy since joining the FBS.
"Fortunately we got through those tough days, and even through the season with no win, and I don't think the players ever gave up," said Edwards.
"Coming from where they've come from in the last four years to getting into a bowl game, for those players... it has to be a tremendously great feeling for them," said Lee Robertson, WKU Asst. Director to the Vice President of Development.
Some would say "Once a Hilltopper, always a Hilltopper," and that's true of these two men who have given their lives to WKU.
Edwards as a student athletic trainer, and then athletic trainer for nearly 42 years combined.
Robertson, known as Mr. Western, was a student, baseball player, golf coach, and Director of Alumni Affairs, and now Assistant to the Director of Development, and has been involved with the university for about 62 years.
It's the ones like them, who have been around through thick and thin, that believed in the team all along, and believe Head Coach Willie Taggert, who began his career at WKU as a player, has much to do with the success.
"I feel like Willie fits here. I think he wants to be here. And I think he'll stay here for the long haul," said Robertson
"That's a special trait of Westerners... that many have stayed and put their lives and careers into this place because they cared about it," said Edwards.
That's a trait so many who've waved that red towel share, and one Robertson and Edwards hope Taggert will keep.