Mum’s still the word on McDonald’s future heading into weekend games

WKU head coach Ken McDonald directs his team during the second half of WKU’s game against No. 4 Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on Dec 23. McDonald’s future at WKU has come under a microscope after the team’s recent struggles.

Cole Claybourn

The WKU athletic department has heard all the chattering about the shakiness of Head Coach Ken McDonald’s future as the Toppers’ leader.

But even after an 18-point loss at home to Florida International on Saturday, no one is ready to come out and give any indication as to what the future holds for the embattled fourth-year head coach.

“We were asked before the Louisville game and we said we needed to play with more energy and excitement, and we needed to get off to a good start in conference play,” Associate Athletic Director Todd Stewart said. “That’s what we wanted the focus to be on. That remains the same.”

Critisism of McDonald has risen with each passing loss after what was supposed to be a season filled with renewed hope and effort.

McDonald and Athletics Director Ross Bjork sat in front of reporters, fans and coaches last spring to announce that McDonald would take a $100,000 pay cut but still remain the Topper head coach, saying the program had “hit the reset button.”

With a team of seven freshman and just one senior, the Toppers sit at 5-10 overall now and 1-1 in Sun Belt Conference play and are averaging 3,211 fans at an arena that holds 7,326 people.

They’re tied for last in the conference in scoring with just over 61 points per game, which ranks 308th nationally out of 338 Division I teams.

The Toppers are allowing 68.4 points per game, which ranks ninth in the conference and their 38 percent field goal percentage is dead last in the league.

WKU is nearly last nationally in field goal percentage, ranking 331st.

McDonald acknowledged last week that he’s heard rumors buzzing about him, but deferred to Bjork for any comment.

Stewart wouldn’t acknowledge what kind of discussions have taken place internally regarding McDonald’s future, wanting to keep the focus on the court, at least for the near future.

“With a game (Thursday) and a game Saturday, we’re 1-1 in conference play and we’ve got two home games,” he said. “Right now our focus is on just playing as well as we can, trying to win those games.”