Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky's second-year head coach, was all smiles following his team's 45-28 victory over Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship game on Saturday afternoon and he had plenty of reason to feel king of The Hill.
The Hilltoppers erased a 21-7 second quarter deficit - the largest in C-USA Championship history - to win the program's first-ever FBS conference title in front of 16,823 fans at Houchens-Smith Stadium. As the final seconds ticked off the clock and WKU students and players began celebrating on Feix Field, Brohm found himself presented with the title game's trophy as he made his way to his post-game interview with the ESPN crew.
The victory marked the 11th win for this Hilltopper team, something the program hasn't enjoyed since its 2002 FCS Championship and improved Brohm's career record to 19-7. After dropping four straight league contests to begin his career, Brohm has now guided the Hilltoppers to 12 consecutive wins over C-USA competition, the longest such streak in the nation.
The performance of his team during his time in Bowling Green has elevated his name into the national discussion for many vacant head coaching opportunties. As speculation on Brohm's future grew throughout the past week, the head coach brushed it off and kept his team focused on the title game. After distancing himself from the question in recent days, he provided additional insight when asked for comment on his future at WKU during Saturday's post-game, referencing his experience as a player and assistant coach for Howard Schnellenberger.
"I don't worry about other jobs, rumors or speculation, but without question, I love it here," he said. "This is where I want to be. I feel we have a great situation where we can build a program. Where we can continue to try to gain steam and elevate it and try to get on the national scene. We can add players, add good teams to the schedule, compete in the conference. All those things that when I played for coach Schnellenberger way back at Louisville, he was great at doing. He was the ultimate program builder."
His young tenure on The Hill has led to a number of firsts for the school and momentum continues to build.
"I think we have something special here and I love it here," he said.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty, an All-American candidate, agreed that the WKU program is one that is headed for even greater heights.
"I truly believe that," he said. "For anyone coming in, Coach Brohm is a heck of a coach. I give all of the credit for my success personally to Coach Brohm and Coach (Tyson) Helton and the coaching staff. They put me in an unbelievable situation. If you want to play for a winning program come out here and play for WKU."