Notebook: McLin, Riley, Whitaker won’t return in 2012-2013


Brad Stephens

WKU’s bench will have a far different look to it in 2012-2013 than it did last season.

WKU formally announced on Tuesday that Weber State assistant Margaret Richards will serve in the same position on the staff of first-year head coach Michelle Clark-Heard.

Clark-Heard also said Tuesday that assistants Latrice McLin, Tim Riley and Camryn Whitaker will not return for the upcoming season.

All three served under former head coach Mary Taylor Cowles in 2011-2012.

“They did an unbelievable job when I got here, they were phenomenal in helping the transition for me,” Clark-Heard said, “but I just think it was a situation where we needed to get some people around me that I felt comfortable with, that I had known for a previous amount of time that would help me flow into the transition.”

McLin departs from WKU after four years on Cowles’ staff.

Riley, a former state champion boys’ basketball coach at nearby Warren Central High School, and Whitaker, a former Lady Topper point guard, both leave after just one season at WKU.

Clark-Heard said Curtis Turley, director of basketball operations, will be retained.

Richards has served previously under Clark-Heard at Kentucky State, and alongside Clark-Heard at Louisville.

“I was ecstatic when she called me,” Richards said, “because I knew that this was the place for me to be with her to help her build this program to the way it was when she played.”

Richards said she met with the team’s current players on Monday, and that she was “eager and hungry” to begin coaching and recruiting at WKU.

Richards is a Kentucky native who played at Louisville Central High School before playing in college at Nebraska under former WKU head coach Paul Sanderford.

She was recruited to Nebraska by Clark-Heard, a Nebraska assistant at the time.

“She knows me and my styles,” Clark-Heard said of Richards. “…She has an unbelievable work ethic and, as you all know, that’s one of the things I talk about is the passion and all of that, she has the passion for the game.”

Clark-Heard said she hopes to have her second assistant hired within the week.

Hill asks for release from scholarship

At least one WKU underclassmen won’t be on the Lady Topper roster in 2012-2013.

Rising junior Mimi Hill asked for release from her scholarship before Clark-Heard was hired last month, Clark-Heard said.

Hill, a Watkinsville, Ga., native, played in 23 games as a sophomore in 2011-2012, averaging 6.9 minutes per game.

She scored a career-high six points against Bowling Green State on Nov. 29.

Clark-Heard said she has met individually with each player on the roster, and will do the same at the end of the semester.

“There might be a couple of players that possibly didn’t see a lot of minutes last year that might want to have the ability to go somewhere else,” Clark-Heard said.

Point guard, post recruiting priorities

The graduation of five Lady Topper seniors from the 2011-2012 left much of WKU’s roster vacant.

Clark-Heard will have four scholarships available to fill for the upcoming season, taking into account the fall signings of high school seniors Micah Jones and Jalynn McClain and the departure of Hill.

The spring signing period starts Wednesday, though the Lady Toppers will not have any signees until later in the period, Clark-Heard said.

Point guard and the frontcourt are the team’s priority positions to target on the recruiting trail, she said.

Clark-Heard added that junior college players will be considered alongside high schoolers.

“We need help right off the bat and we will go the JUCO route,” Clark-Heard said. “Typically I want to be able to get four-year kids… but right now we have to look at the situation and where we’re at.

“I’m not going to go out and sign four of them in one class. But if we can balance out and I can get a couple or whatever then that’s definitely something.”