WKU AD Ross Bjork addresses media following loss

15 01 2011

Here are Bjork’s comments regarding the current state of WKU basketball and Ken McDonald.

Is an evaluation for the men’s basketball program something that happens at the end of the season, or is on-going throughout the year:

“What we do in all our athletic programs is have frequent communication with all our coaches. Basketball is no different. I talked with Ken this afternoon, I talked with him before they went to Troy. I talked with (Mary Taylor Cowles) after (their recent road trip). We’re always talking to our coaches about what’s needed.”

Is Ken McDonald the coach of the WKU basketball program for the remainder of the season:

“Honestly, what I’m worried about is how (the team) feels after this game. They played hard, we saw some good signs and I’m worried about Thursday night at South Alabama.”

His feelings on the season as a whole to this point:

“We acknowledge that (there’s disappointment). Our fans care about this athletic program, the care factor for this athletic program is very high. And guess what, the expectations are very high. People like to win. They like to be competitive on a national stage and we embrace that and it’s our job to live up to that. Of course we’re disappointed with the state of the seasons on the women’s and men’s side.

“We know the fans are disappointed and some of them are telling us that. I was proud tonight, we almost had 3,000 people here and those that showed up we thanked them for participating tonight. Our job is to get better as an athletic department each and every day. My job as the leader of the program is to figure out how that works and provide those resources.”

On whether or not he’s seeing progress from the men’s basketball program:

“Tonight we saw progress. Steffphon’s put in four years and he had a career night but he was crushed because we didn’t win. To me, there’s no one fighting harder than the players and the coaches – both men and women. They’re trying to get this thing turned around and we’re behind them. That’s what we have to do is provide support day in and day out.”

Has the men’s basketball program reached a panic-button state:

“You can’t get too low with the lows or too high with the highs. Athletics is cyclical. You’re up one day, down the next. We have to stay the course, we have to be diligent about our jobs day in and day out but we do acknowledge that we’re disappointed. Players, coaches, fans are all disappointed. But we’re going to try every day to get better.

“We know fans are disappointed and we thank them for their passion. It’s our job to turn it around.”

His thoughts on Ken McDonald and Mary Taylor Cowles:

“They know the expectations. They’ve signed up here, I’ve signed up here, we all know the expectations and it’s our job to live up to them. Mary’s obviously disappointed, she’s expressed that. Ken’s disappointed, he’s expressed that. We’re disappointed, but we’re going to help them and we’re going to help our coaches and student-athletes every day and get ready for the next day.”

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3 responses

16 01 2011
jowelbe

Did Ken McDonald show up in the press interview room after the game last night?

16 01 2011
Nick Baumgardner

Yeah he was there, I just thought the Bjork quotes might have been more interesting at the time.

McDonald’s comments are up at bgdailynews.com.

19 01 2011
Ronnie Clark (not the former WKU player)

Western Kentucky has been my team of choice for years and years… and years. I remember the efforts in 1971. I remember that WKU team beating Ohio State, Kentucky, Jacksonville and big Artis Gilmore. I literally cried as a young teen when I watched Villinova come out on top in the semi-final game.
I remember watching Johnny Britt become a star at Warren East High School and then go on to rise in the ranks at WKU while playing against his former team mate Charles Fishback and Austin Peay State University. I remember the incredible team that played in 1987… the year after Louisville won their second national title. WKU takes Nevada Las Vegas to double overtime in the Big Apple Pre-Season NIT. Kannard Johnson, Tellis Frank, Clarence Martin, James McNary, Brett McNeil… one of the greatest WKU teams I have seen and they fell victim to circumstances beyond my explanation. For whatever reason that team fell apart under a new coach. That was the first year of the 3-point shot and the coach didn’t like it… didn’t want the guys to shoot it… even though McNeil and McNary could have lit it up. and Kannard, Tellis and Clarence were all beasts inside. I’ve seen Tellis Frank get caught dribbling out around the mid court line and three defenders trying to take the ball away from him. That was amazing to watch the show that the 6’10” forward put on that night… between his legs, behind his back, down the floor and stuffed it through the hoop…. That’s what he did. It was awesome!
I remember watching Darnell Mee and Mark Bell lead their team to the sweet sixteen and then get beat by Florida State because Mark’s last second shot bounced twice off the rim and fell out. I remember Dick Vitale having a blast while calling that game. Mark Bell would wave his arms to the crowd and get them all to cheering for Western. Darrin Horn was a key player on that team.
Of course who can forget the “SHOT” from Tye Rogers and the feed from Tyrone Brazelton… another sweet sixteen moment. Tyrone was amazing to watch. He seemed to be completely focused. I’d watch his facial expressions and their seemed to be no emotion when it came down to the clutch moments… complete focus.
I love Western Kentucky Basketball. Tradition is what they have. Don’t get me wrong… I like Big Blue too… but I LOVE WKU. They are my “HOME TEAM” and they are who I root for. If they fall out at the end of the year… I don’t watch the tournament. If they are in it I fill out my sheet with them winning the whole kit-n-kaboodle. They are my team but I’m gonna tell you something. When I see the talent they have now… talent that could rival any team in their incredible history… and I see the team fall down and down to the lowest I have ever seen them fall. I am on the verge of tears … I shake my head and close my eyes because I want desperately to be able to see them get revived and start winning… and keep winning. I watched the movie “Angels in the Outfield” the other night and it keeps coming to mind when I keep watching these guys come up short. What’s it gonna take for you fellows to realize your potential? You should run the Sunbelt… You should be undefeated. You should only have at the most … three or four losses over all. You should be ranked in the top twenty teams in the nation. I don’t know what’s going on in your minds but you need to get your heads out of your asses and do what you know how to do and that’s win! I believe in you… You can do it. South Al is next and they are going down! Get that in your head… and keep it there. This is your conference and ain’t nobody gonna keep you from the title! WIN WIN WIN!!!!

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