McDonald tabbed by Western to lead basketball program
by Don McQuiston
Apr 09, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Western Kentucky Head Coach Ken McDonald
Western Kentucky Head Coach Ken McDonald
After a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, Western Kentucky University found itself joining the coaching carousel as Hilltopper Alum and head Coach Darrin Horn headed to South Carolina to replace retiring Dave Odom. This is not the first time a Kentucky University has had to replace a coach that jumped to South Carolina. Murray State’s Steve Newton went to South Carolina back in the early 90’s.

WKU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig introduced Ken McDonald as the school’s new head men’s basketball coach Sunday afternoon. McDonald, was an assistant on the Hill for five seasons under Dennis Felton, including the season Western beat the University of Kentucky. McDonald has been an assistant at Texas the last four years.

“I had what I perceive to be an incredible job at Texas, so it was going to take a truly special situation for me to consider leaving,” McDonald stated. “I’ve been on different benches the last 14 years waiting for an opportunity like this. The two main reasons I’m here today are the leadership of [WKU President Dr.] Gary [Ransdell] and Wood and trust that they want to continue to grow the program, and I truly believe this is a job with no ceiling.”

“Six days ago, we learned that we were going to have a basketball coaching search. We formed a committee very quickly with a goal to find the best fit,” said Selig. “As we concluded our interviews, his passion, his energy and his commitment came through. There was no doubt in our mind that Ken represented the best coach for WKU.”

As an assistant under Rick Barnes, McDonald has helped guide the Longhorns to a 106-35 (75.2%) record during that stretch, which is the most victories in a four-year period in school history. UT has advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, topped the 30-win mark and picked up a pair of Big 12 Conference regular-season titles in two of the last three seasons, while also qualifying for the NCAA Tournament the other two years.

Three Longhorns have earned Associated Press All-America honors the last three seasons, with Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin named to the first-team each of the last two. In all, UT has had five All-Americans, two Big 12 Players of the Year, a pair of Big 12 Freshmen of the Year and seven individuals pick up all-league honors in McDonald’s time with the program.

The Longhorns recorded a 25-10 mark in 2006-07 despite starting four freshmen and a sophomore, while the year before they set the previous school record after going 30-7 en route to a regional championship game appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UT also won 20 contests in his first season on the staff.

Prior to joining the staff at Texas, McDonald was an assistant at Georgia under Felton during the 2003-04 season. The Bulldogs qualified for the National Invitation Tournament after winning 16 games that winter, including a sweep of the NCAA Tournament’s top overall seed Kentucky as well as a win over eventual national runner-up Georgia Tech, despite playing with just seven scholarship players.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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