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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Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:48 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Professorjoe- you make some really good points, but if McDonald were winning it would have never happened.  He had on paper one of the best recruiting classes WKU has seen in a long time and there were some good talents last year.  Here's his history:

2008-09  25-9=74%
2009-10  21-13=62%
2010-11  16-16=50%
2011-12   5-11=31%

This is his first year with all of his recruting classes in place.  There have definitely been rumors about his off the court antics, but I think he may be unable to control and coach the team.  It's obvious that they play sloppy and undisciplined and teams tend take the personality of their coach.  I think they have some great talent, but need to be coached.

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:47 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

What's the real story?  Who would want to coach at a school where a hot head admin and presidents blame you for not catching the referees' mistakes?  It they fired him the conference must be burning the refs at the stake!

Since: Nov 12, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:40 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

there has to be more to this story than what we're getting!!! because the other team had 6 players on the floor should be reason for siomeone to be in trouble but not the head coach. he was the victim..not the one at fault. this is a smoke screen for some other problem that the school had with this guy....i'm just saying....

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:27 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Fired because he can't count. That's a new one.

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:34 pm

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Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:25 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

   rumor is he cant stay away from the caught with a cheerleader yrs ago...probelly should have been fired after last yr but had a good freshman class coming in...

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:23 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Yeah. And it's WKU. My alma mater. Wood Selig hired Ken McDonald when Dennis Felton went to Georgia. Felton is player assessment adm for a pro team of the Texas pro teams. Selig has since left also.... after a controversial pay raise and new contract, he bolted.  It was the year after WKU went BCS in football. The question is whether Ray Harper was a choice of McDonald's or Bjork and WKU Pres. Gary Ransdell.  If hiring Harper was a university management selection, and knowing Ransdell he probably was, then McDonald has had a Brutus in the group the whole season. Ray Harper coached at Ky Wesleyan and a small Oklahoma school, winning the NAIA championship at least twice and runner-up on another occasion. He was a playing legend in a legendary high school basketball county. Also a WKU grad, I think. Before Central City was closed (there were 7 high schools in a community of 30K people  B4 console) Central City Golden Tide was the winningest program in US high school history. Muhlenberg Co was the home of basketball wars, and this smells of that distinction. Here's the rub....Harper is from Bremen, Ky (Pop. 600) in Muhlenberg County. It was also the home of....E.A. Diddle. Diddle was actually from Greenville (same county), as several of the WKU academic and (very wealthy) financial icons have been, but his first high school coaching job was at Bremen High School. And Diddle is a legend at WKU. And Greenville, Ky has the largest concentration of millionaires per capita of any town in the US...several of which are WKU alumni. I know. I live here. It is also the home of NCAA official Tom Eades. And this appears as a calculated shank based on Ransdell's ego concerning his own legacy at WKU. He is politically and financially motivated on a daily basis. As an alum, I can't help but think it is not a knee jerk reaction. It is an undercurrent movement to put a WKU insider in charge of a program (per alumni request) instead of a leftover from Selig's departure.  I watched the game last night. The Toppers are just young and will be good shortly. And Murray St, the chief regional in-state rival, is ....15-0. Move may be about jealousy. MSU will be right in the thick of the NCAA tourney like WKU has been in the past. It is just a freshman year on The Hill... Typical WKU management style, IMAO (A being academic). I can't help but wonder what Tommy thinks about that missed call at the end of the game. Horrible officiating.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:13 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

UK_razy: Must not be too much of a college basketball fan (other than the Cats).  WKU has been to the NCAA tournament 20 times and was also in the NIT 8 times in the 1940s/1950s when it was a big tournament.  Bottom line is that the program was declining and nobody is going to the games.  That = FIRED at most schools.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:07 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

First, their record has declined each season. But it is a freshman heavy roster. So either he didn't have the players to fit his offensive style, he is a bad recruiter, he is a bad coach, or a combination of all of them.

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:03 pm

WKU fires Ken McDonald after controversial loss

Based on WKU's logic, the head coach of the other university should get salary bonus because he was smart enough to put 6 players on the court? Talk about about an over-reaction firing.

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