WKU to retire jersey of National Champion Shot Putter Jesse Stuart

Stuart’s jersey will be retired during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday, April 1 at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 1:21 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 1:22 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Athletics has announced it will retire the jersey of former track and field star Jesse Stuart who won the 1974 NCAA Shot Put National Championship.

Stuart’s jersey will be retired during the Hilltopper Relays on Saturday, April 1 at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex.

The retirement ceremony will begin at approximately 11:30 a.m. at the conclusion of the Fastest Kid in Bowling Green event.

“Jesse Stuart is one of the greatest athletes in the history of the state of Kentucky, and the evidence lies in his records that have stood the test of time,” said WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart. “Jesse brought WKU its first ever NCAA National Championship, which certainly merits this honor of a jersey retirement. We look forward to celebrating his accomplishments and could not be more grateful to him for his contributions to our great university and WKU Athletics.”

Stuart competed for the Hilltoppers from 1973-75, and his decorated career landed him a spot in the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame where he was inducted in 1993.

In addition to his 1974 National Championship, Stuart finished as an NCAA runner-up three times throughout his career.

He also earned a place on the Ohio Valley Conference Half-Century Team after winning three-consecutive shot put Conference Championships.

“Jesse Stuart is a legend in Kentucky track and field,” said WKU head track and field coach Brent Chumbley. “Jesse was a champion at every level of competition. Many of his records still stand today, which is a testament to his talent and hard work, two traits he honed while growing up in Glasgow. As a shot putter in Kentucky, I grew up seeing his name and records and was always in disbelief of what he accomplished. Now, having had the opportunity to meet Jesse and spend some time with him, I know he deserves all the honors and accolades he receives. Jesse is a champion in the circle and in life. It is an honor to be able to retire his jersey at WKU.”

Stuart was among the nation’s best during all three seasons at WKU, earning five-different All-American honors.

He was both an indoor and outdoor All-American in 1973 and 1974 before adding an additional outdoor All-American honor in 1975. S

tuart still owns the program’s indoor shot put record at 67-4 as well as the outdoor record with a mark of 68-2¼.

Before arriving at WKU, Stuart was already well accustomed to setting records in the shot put.

While attending high school in Glasgow, Stuart set the KHSAA boy’s shot put record in 1969 with a throw of 67-0.

That record still stands today.

That performance, along with several others, led to him being enshrined in the Kentucky High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Stuart also attended the University of Kentucky in 1971 before transferring to WKU, and won the SEC Championship in the shot put with a throw of 60-7.

After his decorated high school and collegiate careers, Stuart went on to compete professionally for over 13 years. He participated in both the Pan American Games and Mason-Dixon Games and earned three silver medals as a member of Team USA.