Three great names in the history of Western Kentucky athletics will be inducted as the 28th class into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for Oct. 27.
The 2018 class includes Crystal Kelly (women’s basketball), Matt Wilhite (baseball) and Rick Yeloushan (swimming).
The induction of the 2018 class will bring the number of former WKU athletes and coaches to earn places in the school’s athletic hall of fame to 152 since its founding in 1991.
The induction ceremony will highlight the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 on John Oldham Court in E.A. Diddle Arena.
The inductees will also be honored in ceremonies at halftime of WKU's game against Florida International at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27.
Kelly made an impact on Lady Topper basketball as a freshman and went on to become one of the most-decorated athletes in program history. A three-time All-American (2005, ‘07, ‘08) and four-time first-team all-Sun Belt Conference selection, she was the SBC player of the year as a senior (averaging 22.6 points and 10.5 rebounds an outing while leading the nation with her 64.4% school record field goal percentage).
Kelly scored a school record 42 points in her final home game. She set WKU career marks for both scoring (2,803 points, also a SBC record and the 12th highest total in NCAA Division I history) and rebounding (1,258).
She ranks first and second in the Lady Topper season books for points (770 and 767) and per-game scoring (24.1 and 22.6) and holds WKU standards for season scoring for a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.
Overall, Kelly set 19 school records.
She is the only Lady Topper to post single season field goal percentages of 60 percent or more – a feat she achieved all four of her years on The Hill. She is the only Lady Topper to lead the club in rebounding all four years and Kelly and Lilllie Mason are the only two to lead the team in scoring all four years.
A jersey bearing Kelly's No. 42 is retired and hanging in Diddle Arena. A product of Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Kelly was drafted by the Houston Comets of the WNBA and played four seasons of pro ball. She is now an assistant coach at Xavier University.
Wilhite earned All-America honors as a senior after being named the Sun Belt pitcher of the year to become the first reliever in league history to win the award. Twice named the SBC relief pitcher of the year (‘02 and ‘03), he was a two-time all-South Central Team selection and all-Sun Belt pick making him the only pitcher in WKU history to be named first-team All-SBC twice.
In 2006, he was one of three Hilltoppers (the only pitcher) named to the Sun Belt 30th anniversary team. Wilhite holds WKU records for both season (37) and career (110) appearances as well as career saves (23). He led the Hilltoppers in appearances three times – as a rookie in 2000 (27) and in both ‘02 (33, tying the school record) and ‘03 (37, setting a new school standard).
Wilhite was tops on the club in ERA in both ‘02 (2.20) and ‘03 (1.77). His eight wins was the team-high for ‘03 and he led WKU in saves three times – ‘00 (8), ‘02 (7) and ‘03 (11 — the second highest total ever for a Topper).
A prominent figure on the school all-time leaders lists for single season appearances (first and third), saves (second, fifth and ninth) and ERA (seventh). He signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Angels and played eight seasons in the minor leagues (five at the AAA level) for the Angels and the Colorado Rockies.
A former WKU softball assistant, Wilhite lives in nearby Franklin, his hometown, where he is the athletic director at Franklin-Simpson High School.
A member of coach Bill Powell’s first recruiting class in 1970, Yeloushan came to WKU from Tampa, Fla., and developed into the outstanding Hilltopper swimmer in the early years of the sport on The Hill. He set school records in both the 50 and 100 freestyle on his way to becoming the first Hilltopper to qualify for the NCAA Championships – a feat he achieved in both his junior (1973 in the 100) and senior (1974 in the 50) seasons and an accomplishment only eight Toppers managed to duplicate in the next 40-plus years.
He was also a part of school record-setting quartets in the 400 individual medley and in the 400 freestyle. The four teams he competed on combined to win 40 of 54 dual meets, finishing as runner-up in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Championships in both 1973 and ‘74.
As a senior, he became the first of just seven Hilltopper swimmers to be honored as the university’s male athlete of the year. He was named the Toppers’ most valuable swimmer three straight years (1972, ‘73 and ‘74), a feat duplicated just four times in later years.
Yeloushan lives in Lutz, Fla.