Statements from Ransdell, Bjork and Harper on coaching hire

Cole Claybourn

WKU officially named Ray Harper as its head men’s basketball coach on Sunday. Here are the statements that WKU released from President Gary Ransdell, Athletics Director Ross Bjork and Harper:


I am delighted that Ray Harper has accepted our head coaching position. This is the job he wants, and we want him in this job. He has demonstrated that he can recruit and lead young men with high character and good talent. I look forward to sharing a long and successful future with Coach Harper.


We are extremely proud and excited to name Ray Harper as our new head men’s basketball coach. Ray is a proven winner as a head coach with four national championships and a career .832 winning percentage, and we have total confidence is his ability to return our program to prominence. He is well respected by his peers in the coaching profession and his long standing ties throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky will greatly benefit our program. We put him in a very challenging situation by naming him our interim coach on January 6, but he has performed admirably in these unique circumstances while bringing much-needed energy and excitement to our program. He has a comprehensive plan for improvement for every aspect of our basketball program, and he is the right man to lead our historic program into the future. We are confident he will have us back on the path for success in short order.

I want to thank everyone who provided input and counsel during our search process — especially our former WKU basketball players and those closest to our program. All of those discussions validated our great program and will provide a spark for Coach Harper and the program.

We urge the Hilltopper Nation to come to Diddle Arena this Monday at 6:00 PM and be a part of Coach Harper’s introduction as head coach. The pep rally for Ray Harper and our team will provide great momentum heading into the conference tournament, and we need everyone’s help by selling out our final two home games and setting the stage to bring the magic back to Diddle Arena for a long time to come!


I want to thank President Ransdell and Ross Bjork for the confidence they have shown in me and for making my dream of becoming WKU’s head basketball coach come true. I also want to thank our players and coaching staff for their dedication and focus since I assumed the interim head coaching position slightly over six weeks ago. We are not winning as consistently as I expect us to, but this basketball team has made a lot of progress and grown up a lot which is rewarding. This is a destination job for me, and there is no place in the country I would rather be. It is an honor to walk into the doors of Diddle Arena each and every day. We have the best fans in the nation, and we will give them the type of program and winning results they deserve. I cannot thank them enough for their support and ask them to help us finish the season strong by selling out Diddle Arena for these last two home games this week and making the trip to Hot Springs for the upcoming conference tournament. This is not my team — this is our team — and we can achieve anything when we have great support and come together as one. Go Tops!