Some WKU notes for Tuesday

22 02 2011

A football hitter really quick. Sorry I couldn’t pass this along yesterday, but I was covering prep basketball and had no Internet connection of any kind for about six hours.

In any event, a source confirmed to the Daily News on Monday that Arkansas Pine Bluff defensive coordinator Alonzo Hampton interviewed for the vacant WKU defensive backs position.

No hire has been made, says the source, but one could be in place by as early as week’s end.

The DB spot is one of two vacancies Willie Taggart is trying to fill, as the quarterbacks coach job also remains open.

And an interesting basketball note:

ESPN.com’s Pat Forde touched on WKU basketball during his latest Forde Minute’s column.

Here’s the exceprt as it appeared today:

Among the 22,776 in attendance at the KFC Yum! Center on Friday for Louisville’s victory over Connecticut was one particularly interesting visitor: Western Kentucky athletic director Ross Bjork (21).

He was the guest of a guy named Joe Iracane, who has dual citizenship as a major WKU booster and a close friend of Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Bjork was in the press room for Pitino’s postgame news conference, in which the coach was effusive-and-then-some in his praise of the scouting work done by assistant Steve Masiello (22) — both in preparation for the Huskies and throughout the season.

By the time Pitino was finished, you’d have thought Masiello had taken a lead role in the Human Genome Project and figured out how to deny the ball to Kemba Walker.

Anyway, this was all very intriguing when you factor in the declining fortunes of Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald (23). He went 25-8 his first season and advanced to the NCAA tourney second round after taking over a robust program from Darrin Horn, who left for South Carolina. Last season, the Hilltoppers missed the NCAAs. This season, they’re 13-14 and plagued by off-court issues, with the demanding WKU fans increasingly restless.

Connect those dots and it seems fair to wonder whether a change is in the wind at one of the traditional mid-major powers, with Masiello a strong theoretical candidate should the job come open. Unless, of course, he gets the presumptively open job at Manhattan (24), where Barry Rohrssen is snorkeling through his fifth straight losing season.

 

Again, that all seems to be speculatory, as Ken McDonald is still very much the coach of the WKU basketball program.

Neither Bjork nor WKU president Gary Ransdell has said much of anything publicly with regard to their stance on McDonald’s security at WKU.

When asked directly earlier this season about that very thing, Bjork had this to say:

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

The College Heights Herald also asked Ransdell about McDonald and the program, to which he replied:

“Neither Ross or I are giving up on this program, this coaching staff and certainly not these players,” Ransdell said. “So we’re taking it a week at a time and studying it. Where we are now is not acceptable. It will be corrected.”

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