Blog Entry

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:51 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 11:02 am
 
By Gary Parrish

Western Kentucky has scheduled a Friday afternoon press conference to announce that Ken McDonald will no longer serve as the school's men's basketball coach. The development comes less than 24 hours after the Hilltoppers lost a home game in overtime when officials didn't realize Louisiana-Lafayette scored the game-winning basket with six players on the court.

“I have recommended to President Gary Ransdell that Ken McDonald no longer serve as our head men’s basketball coach, and he has agreed and supports my decision," said WKU athletic director Ross Bjork. "President Ransdell and I met with Coach McDonald this morning to inform him of the decision, and then we met with and informed the entire men’s basketball staff. I also met with our student-athletes and discussed the reasons for our conclusion and told them that we are committed to all of them as students and athletes here at WKU, and we owe them the ‘great program’ they signed up for."

McDonald was in his fourth season at the school. The former Texas assistant led WKU to a 25-9 record in his first season and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament. He went 21-13 in 2009-10 and 16-16 last season. The Hilltoppers were 5-11 this season with a freshman-heavy roster.

Assistant Ray Harper will coach the rest of the season on an interim basis.

Western Kentucky plays Troy on Saturday.
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Comments

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 3:10 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

I too am an WKU graduate and I will tell you Dr. Ransdell is the best thing that ever happened to the University. I graduated in 1973, the campus looked like prison. No such thing as technically advanced. That campus today is beautiful, new athletic venues, dorms that have some of the advanced internet capabilities, dorms that have been completely renovated and new bulidings that have the charm of the old campus but the technology of the green future. Did Ransdell do all of this himself, no, but he did start the fundraising effort that has made all this possible. He is a graduate of WKU and has dedicated himself to make this University the best in KY. I am all for that, I want to move on from the TN Tech's, East Tn and Moreheads of this world. If the campus looked like it did in 1973 enrollment wouldn't be half what it is today.



Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:59 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

I was going to wait until the end of the season to post this but with Ken's firing I am going ahead. I know the body is cold yet but I feel getting someone in place for Spring recruiting is a must. I wish I was the first to suggest Scotty Davenport, head coach at Bellarmine but I guess I am not. Scotty has been a success on the high school and college level. He was an assistant for several years to what some people say is one of the top ball coaches in the nation, Rick Pitino. Scott is proven winner, involves himself in community affairs and knows how to communicate with players at this age. To my knowledge he is sqeeky clean. But most important I don't think Scotty is one to leave at the first chance to move up. I believe he could be a long time coach for WKU and that is what they need.



Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:48 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss


   Its no secret he had off the court issues at least that is the rumors..BJ from a soccer player,wife and kids are not even in BG... The only real good player in this class is Gordon...Clasass he touted is over rated...I heard the name Davenport from Bellermine U memtioned..That could be a good hire



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:44 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Well Ken McDonald is obviously an idiot. 

He shouldn't be such a wuss and just agree with the AD about his firing. The guy looks like he did a pretty good job his first few years at WKU and is struggling a little bit with a young team. As a coach, you don't just nod your head and say "okay, it's fine". I would be out there trying to sue the school. No reason for him to get fired. 



Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:42 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Lastly, another poster who said comments about Ransdell, is absolutely correct.  He only cares about his legacy, and moreover, his legacy of changing WKU into mostly an academic school.  I know education is first and foremost, but I want my children to learn about life socially outside of the classroom as well.  Ransdell has totally choked that part of the institution to death. 



I was at WKU the year Ransdell took over and the first thing he encouraged was tailgating at football games, the campus police basically told us they would turn a blind eye to the whole alcohol issue while we were tailgating.  I really like what Ransdell has done and over the past 13 years i think he has done a great job as WKU's pres.


One dorm even has high school kids living in it for an education program, which I find utterly ridiculous! 

 This is a program that takes the smartest high school kids in the state and gives them a chance to learn in a college enviornment, while still having one foot in high school.  It is good for WKU because these are the kids that traditionally have gone to Transy, Georgetown, UK or out of state...but after spending a year or two on WKU's campus they decide they like it and want to go to WKU.  How is that bad for WKU?  Ransdell has figured out a way to get some of the smartest kids in the state to come to a regional university over the major state instituitions (UK and UofL) and the high profile private schools (Transy, Centre, G-Town).






Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:36 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Pelphrey would be a very interesting hire - good idea there. That would make a little splash.



Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:11 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

well, professorjoe you may be a alum of wku, but you are not following them . mcdonald did not take over for felton.he was a asst. of felton. d horn replaced felton. mcdonald replaced horn. l live in bowling green and watch some of thier games. and mcdonald can't coach. i was suprised when he came back this year. if i was bjork and i fired mcdonald at nine this morning. at 9.30 i would be on the phone to florida to get a hold of mr phelphey.



Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:07 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Who in the hell would want to sleep with McDonald?  Please tell me the rumors the prvious poster stated are incorrect!  Lastly, another poster who said comments about Ransdell, is absolutely correct.  He only cares about his legacy, and moreover, his legacy of changing WKU into mostly an academic school.  I know education is first and foremost, but I want my children to learn about life socially outside of the classroom as well.  Ransdell has totally choked that part of the institution to death.  One dorm even has high school kids living in it for an education program, which I find utterly ridiculous!  This WKU grad, along with about 5 others of my family, will never give a penny back to an institution which bares no resemblance to it's old-self!!!




Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:00 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

There has to be more to the story than WKU getting off to a 5-11 start after having 2 mediocre years.

McDonald only had 3 half-way experienced players at the start of the season, and one of them got hurt and was out for the year after just a few games.  McDonald did elect to take a paycut before the start of this season, so i can't imagine a bad start to the season would lead to a mid-season firing this year.  Even if Bjork gave him the option of paycut or firing last summer--which is likely--it still doesn't make sense.

McDonald has done a great job at recruiting talented players over the past 3+ years, really...look it up.  He has recruited very well (for the Sun Belt level)  McDonald's problem has been hanging on to players.  There have been way too many players transfer out after just a year or two at WKU (that's the underlying reason why they have so many freshmen this year).  I don't know why they left, but he has lost 6 guys over the past 3 years.  That is a problem.  

If there is no story behind this and it is just a simple wins/losses issue...then the firing is a bad move.  Its a stupid knee-jerk reaction.  2 years ago, WKU made a similar stupid knee-jerk reaction in firing Darrin Ellson as their football coach mid-year shortly after extending his contract and literally saying "it will get worse before it gets better, but we are behind Coach Ellson all the way."  In football, WKU totally lucked out with hiring Willie Taggart and he really is doing incredible things for WKU.  If WKU is expecting a similar turnaround in basketball, then they are dreaming.  9 times out of 10 knee-jerk reactions are wrong.

As a WKU alum and fan, i hope there is something else to the story.  I would rather my school cut their losses with a bad coach then be run by incompetent idiots.  In my eyes, this is Ross Bjork's first big move and he will be judged by me and many others on how WKU comes out of this.  If some ugly details don't come out about McDonald doing bad things then Bjork had better get lucky and hire new coach that is going to win games and sell tickets or we are going to go shopping for a new AD. 



Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:58 pm
 

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Yes, here on Louisville sports radio, they have been talking about firing this guy for quite some time now. This was more of the proverbial straw. The story is misleading in the way it is presented.


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