WKU Wins Sun Belt Title as Coach Ray Harper Keeps Proving He Was the Man for the Job [VIDEO]
When Ken McDonald was hired to replace Darrin Horn as head basketball coach at Western Kentucky University in 2008, I was more focused on the guy who would be sitting next to him during all the subsequent games. Former Kentucky Wesleyan head coach Ray Harper came in with McDonald as assistant head coach, and I speculated on that day that Harper would be Western’s next head coach. And then, after going a paltry 5-11 by January 6, WKU athletic director fired McDonald and moved Coach Harper into his spot as interim head coach. The losses still came, but the attendance numbers immediately shot up. On February 20, a huge celebration took place at Diddle Arena on Western’s campus to welcome Coach Harper, officially, as the new head basketball coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. They have yet to lose.
The six-game winning streak includes a home victory over Sun Belt regular season champion Middle Tennessee and four wins in four days at the Sun Belt Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Yes, Western won the championship and the NCAA Tournament automatic bid that comes with it and becomes the first team with a losing record to enter tournament play with a losing record. The Hilltoppers will likely participate in a play-in game next Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio. And, who knows? If they win that game, they will face an NCAA Tournament #1 seed. That #1 seed could be Kentucky. When Western won it’s semifinal game in the Sun Belt Tournament against Denver, I posted on Facebook, “Ray Harper was a good hire. Just sayin’…” I was wrong. Ray Harper was a GREAT hire…just sayin’.