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11/18/14 – KHSAA Extends Football Championship Agreement With Russell Athletic, Western Kentucky University Through 2018

November 18, 2014 2014-2015 News Releases


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2014

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association officially extended its agreements with Russell Athletic and Western Kentucky University to partner and host the state football finals through 2018 in a press conference in Bowling Green on Tuesday. The KHSAA Board of Control previously approved an extension for WKU and Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium as the host site of the Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl, dependent at the time upon retaining Russell Athletic as the event’s title sponsor.

“We are very excited to continue our outstanding partnership with Western Kentucky University, which has only improved through the emergence of Russell Athletic as the event’s title sponsor,” said Julian Tackett, KHSAA Commissioner. “In feedback from our membership, WKU has an ideally-sized stadium for our event. We look forward to continuing a strong, long term relationship with both WKU and Russell Athletic, partners who have a strong relationship with our membership both in the Bowling Green area and statewide. We are also very excited that this latest agreement will give even more solid support to the Kentucky Football Coaches Association, a vitally important organization to our member schools.”

“Russell Athletic greatly appreciates this event being in Bowling Green, and we are happy to see that arrangement continue. We already have a tremendous presence in the stadium, which only enhances the partnership,” said Skip Nickle, Sr. Director of Marketing & Sponsorships at Russell Athletic. “We work with a great deal of KHSAA member schools on a daily basis, and this partnership only enhances our relationship with teams across the state.”

The football state championships moved to Bowling Green in 2009 after 30 years in Louisville, the last six of which were spent at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The upcoming 2014 Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl will mark the sixth-straight football championship conducted at WKU, with four more scheduled before the current agreement expires after the 2018 season.

“My personal appreciation goes out to our friends at the KHSAA. WKU has worked hard to make the Kentucky high school football championships a great experience for the students, faculty, staff and fans of the participating schools–and for the broader Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Dr. Gary A. Ransdell, WKU President. “Hosting these championship games is a source of pride for us at WKU, just as getting here is an achievement in which the participating schools take great pride. We look forward to providing a first class championship venue for many years to come!”

Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium underwent major renovations in the spring of 2006, adding a new grandstand on the west side which seats approximately 5,000 people, including an 832-seat club level, new concession stands and restrooms, new football offices, weight room, training room, locker room and equipment area. In addition, the renovations included a new berm in the north end zone and the installation of a new 48’x70’ scoreboard with an 18’x31’ videoboard. The stadium, which made its debut in 1968, has a seating capacity of 22,113 and in 2014, replaced its playing surface.

“All of us at WKU are very pleased and proud to continue to host the KHSAA Football Championships. Each December we look forward to showcasing our facilities, campus and city as a whole to those visiting for the games,” said Todd Stewart, WKU Director of Athletics. “Just as our student-athletes love playing on our fields and courts, I know those who are fortunate enough to advance to the pinnacle of high school football in the Commonwealth of Kentucky enjoy competing on Feix Field in the beautiful Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. We are so appreciative of the KHSAA staff and Russell Athletic who have decided to award the championship to WKU once again.”

The 2014 Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl will take place December 5-6. Championship festivities begin Friday, Dec. 5 with the 3A, 2A and 5A title games at 11:00 a.m. (CT), 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday’s action will begin with the 1A game at 11 a.m., followed by the 4A and 6A championships at 2:30 and 6 p.m., respectively. To order tickets, visit


About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 277 member schools both public and private. The KHSAA sanctions 43 state championships in 13 sports and 4 sport-activities, licenses and trains over 4,000 officials, provides catastrophic insurance for its more than 70,000 member school student-athletes, as well as overseeing coaching education and sports safety programs.


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