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Congratulating Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Football

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I would like to thank my colleague, Mr. Bunning, for introducing this resolution congratulating the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers on capturing the National Collegiate Athletics Association's NCAA Division I-AA championship, and I would urge the Senate to adopt it.

Mr. President, the story of Western Kentucky University's 2002 football season is one of perseverance and determination in the face of long odds. After a disappointing start, in which Western Kentucky dropped three of its first five games, Coach Jack Harbaugh rallied the Hilltoppers to victories in their last six regular season games. This late-season charge helped Western Kentucky secure one of the final spots in the Division I-AA playoffs. Once in the NCAA tournament, Western was faced with a daunting path to the championship which required them to defeat each of the top three ranked teams on consecutive weekends. However, Western Kentucky rose to the challenge and even exacted a measure of revenge by defeating Western Illinois and McNeese State, two of the teams that had previously defeated the Hilltoppers during the regular season. With its 34 to 14 victory over McNeese State on December 20, 2002, Western Kentucky University captured the first NCAA football championship in the program's proud eighty-nine year history.

I want to congratulate the Hilltopper football team, head Coach Jack Harbaugh, Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig, and President Gary Ransdell on capturing the 2002 Division I-AA national championship and thank them for the outstanding manner in which they represented Western Kentucky University and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that any statements related thereto be printed in the RECORD.

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