Phil Cunningham joins WKU basketball staff

Phil Cunningham

Cole Claybourn

Phil Cunningham, former Mississippi State assistant coach, has been named an assistant to Head Coach Ray Harper’s staff, Harper announced Tuesday.

Cunningham, a Campbellsville, Ky., native, has 20 years of coaching experience, including 12 at Mississippi State. He leaves Mississippi State after head coach Rick Stansbury retired following the 2011-2012 season.

Harper also added former Topper David Boyden to his staff last month.

“Coach Cunningham has a wealth of high-level experience, and he will be a great addition to our staff,” Harper said in a release. “I have known him for quite some time dating back to our days at Kentucky Wesleyan, and he has a passion for coaching that the players really relate to. Coach Cunningham is a perfect fit for our program and will complement the current staff extremely well.”

While at Mississippi State, Cunningham worked primarily with guards and the program’s recruiting efforts.

All 12 recruiting classes that Cunningham was involved with at Mississippi State were nationally recognized, and he was recently named one of the nation’s top 25 assistant coaches by

He helped guide Mississippi State to a string of six NCAA Tournament appearances in 11 years. He also was a part of five Southeastern Conference Western Division crowns, one overall SEC championship and two SEC tournament titles in his final nine seasons at Mississippi State.

Furthermore, the Bulldogs averaged more than 20 wins per season since he joined the staff before the 2000-01 season.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work at Western Kentucky University for Coach Harper,” Cunningham said. “I have known Coach Harper since I was a player in college and he was an assistant coach, and I have followed his career closely. I really respect what he has been able to do as a head coach, and I am looking forward to working with him.

“I am from Taylor County High School in Campbellsville, and when you are from Taylor County you understand and respect the tradition of WKU basketball because that is where Clem Haskins went to high school. I am really excited about being a part of this great tradition.”