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WKU Fires Basketball Coach Ken McDonald

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Just twelve hours after losing to Louisiana in overtime last night, Western Kentucky has fired head men’s basketball coach Ken McDonald.

The Hilltoppers dropped the game to the Ragin’ Cajuns last night on a play at the end of overtime when Louisiana had six men on the basketball court.

McDonald had been under fire last season when the Hilltoppers struggled to a 16-16 record despite having two all-conference players.  And, WKU is in a transition mode, starting four freshmen after having a highly ranked recruiting class.  The loss last night moved the Hilltoppers to 5-11 overall, 1-2 in Sun Belt Play.

Assistant coach Ray Harper, who won an NAIA national championship as a head coach, will take over on an interim basis.

WKU has seen its home attendance dip severely in the last two seasons.  The crowd last night was just over 2,000, despite the fact that discount tickets were being sold.  The average attendance at E. A. Diddle Arena this year was just over 3,000, the lowest in the nearly 50 year history of the facility.

McDonald led the ‘Toppers to the NCAA tournament in his first season, winning a first round game, before beginning to slip.  WKU won 21 games in McDonald’s second season but did not qualify for postseason.  Then came the 16-16 record last year.

Player attrition had been a problem under McDonald.  Last year saw dismissals and defections from the squad, leaving WKU with a seven man rotation at the end of the year.

WKU hosts Troy in a Sun Belt Conference game tomorrow night.

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