Notes: WKU basketball schedule almost complete

Jonathan Lintner

This story was originally published Aug. 24, 2010.

Men’s basketball schedules are slowly being released across the country, but Western’s official dates and times still haven’t been announced.

Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said Tuesday that should change sometime within the next week or two. A contract with the Toppers’ final non-conference opponent was signed Monday, Bjork said, and now the task of finding a pair of exhibition opponents remains.

Bjork did say that Western’s highly anticipated matchup against Louisville — in Diddle Arena — will be played Dec. 22.

“We’re waiting on television on that one,” Bjork said. “We might be selected on ESPN.”

He added that the Toppers’ originally scheduled January home game against North Texas has been moved to Feb. 12 and will be televised on ESPN 2.

In addition to Sun Belt Conference play, Western’s schedule features a trip to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and games against South Carolina, Memphis, Murray State and Bowling Green.

Finwood too pricey for Old Dominion

Bjork said he has exchanged e-mails with Wood Selig, Western’s former athletic director who holds the same position at Old Dominion, about baseball coach Chris Finwood.

The consensus right now is that Finwood is staying put.

“(Selig) said they can’t afford Chris Finwood, so I don’t anticipate them talking to coach,” Bjork said.

Finwood’s current contract, which runs through 2015, pays a base salary of $100,008 and contains a $100,000 buyout.

An Aug. 2 report by the Virginian-Pilot mentioned Finwood as a candidate for the Old Dominion position vacated by Jerry Meyers, who is heading to South Carolina as the Gamecocks’ pitching coach. Finwood is a Hampton High School (Va.) and VMI graduate.

Another Pilot report said that Nate Goulet, who was named as the Monarch’s assistant coach, will assume duties throughout the 2011 season before a new coach is named.

“It would be awkward to ramp up a search right as school is about to start,” Selig told the Pilot Aug. 3. “We just felt it would limit our selection.”

Bjork also said that Finwood wants to keep his son and daughter at Bowling Green High School.

“He doesn’t see himself leaving,” Bjork said. “We feel good about his future.”

Football season ticket sales up slightly

The Willie Taggart hype machine is rolling along nicely if season ticket sales are any indication.

Bjork said that as of Tuesday, 7,250 season tickets had been sold — “a couple hundred more” than this time last year. In all, 7,400 were sold for the 2009 season.

“Everywhere we go there’s a buzz of about what’s going to happen, and how is Willie Taggart going to lead this program to the next level?” Bjork said. “The fact that he wore the uniform, the fact that he coached here on the staff, the fact that he’s seen this program perform on its highest level and win a national championship — I think those ingredients have allowed him to really speak to what it takes to be successful.”

Bjork cited billboards around town and an enhanced online marketing scheme — he even Tweets about buying season tickets — as added reasons for why sales could be up.