COLUMN: Stansbury is another slam dunk hire for WKU

John Reecer is the sports editor of the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

John Reecer

Athletic Director Todd Stewart is getting really, really good at this.

Whenever a program in the athletic department at WKU has been in dire need of a head coach who could breathe new life into the team, Stewart has led the way to some huge hires.

First, it was the massive splash he made with the hiring of former Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino as head coach for the football team.

Even though Petrino only stayed one season, this hiring resulted in the promotion of one of his assistants: Jeff Brohm.

I believe everyone knows just how high-quality that hire turned out to be.

When the baseball team needed a new, fresh face after the firing of Matt Myers, Stewart made another great hire with the addition of John Pawlowski, who has the lead the team to a 14-9 start so far this season.

Monday brought forth yet another great hire as former Texas A&M Associate Head Coach Rick Stansbury was named the new head coach for the men’s basketball team.

So besides his impressive track record, exactly what makes Stansbury’s hiring such a smart move for WKU?

Well, for starters, the guy can recruit.

During his time at Mississippi State, which is primarily a football school with no glorious basketball history, Stansbury successfully recruited at least nine four-star recruits and four five-star recruits during his time there, according to 247sports.com.

Among these players were NBA mainstays Monta Ellis, Travis Outlaw and Jarvis Varnado.

Stansbury also played a huge role in recruiting at Texas A&M during the past couple of years as the school has quickly climbed up the SEC ladder.

Stansbury also makes perfect sense for WKU because he has such a proven track record.

The man has won almost 300 games in what was previously a very good basketball conference in the SEC.

He also managed to get his team to the postseason in almost every single season during his time at MSU.

His recent success as an associate head coach at Texas A&M makes this the perfect time for Stansbury to get back into the head coaching game as the Aggies are fresh off a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

To get such a seasoned coach who has proven that he can win on the toughest levels of college basketball is an absolute steal for WKU.

While the university could have pursued young talent or a former WKU head coach to come back and help restore the program to its former glory, this route was the best one to take.

Now the basketball program can get off to a brand new start with a coach who has a clean record and a tremendous amount of upside in Conference USA.

C-USA is currently just a one-bid league for the NCAA Tournament.

If Stansbury can translate his recruiting and coaching talents to what, now, is a below-average league, it will only be a matter of time before the Hilltoppers become a perennial power in C-USA.