Ray Harper has been named the 14th full-time head coach in its Hilltopper basketball history. WKU Athletic Director Ross Bjork made the announcement on Sunday to the Hilltopper players. Harper has led the Hilltoppers on an interim basis since January 6 when former head coach Ken NcDonald was relieved of his duties.
Harper has 12 years of collegiate head coaching experience including four national championships in 12 seasons at Kentucky Wesleyan College and Oklahoma City University, five national runner-up finishes, eight conference titles, five national coach-of-the-year honors and an incredible .844 winning percentage.
Harper stated, “I want to thank President Ransdell and Ross Bjork for the confidence they have shown in me and for making my dream of becoming WKU’s head basketball coach come true. I also want to thank our players and coaching staff for their dedication and focus since I assumed the interim head coaching position slightly over six weeks ago. We are not winning as consistently as I expect us to, but this basketball team has made a lot of progress and grown up a lot which is rewarding. This is a destination job for me, and there is no place in the country I would rather be. It is an honor to walk into the doors of Diddle Arena each and every day. We have the best fans in the nation, and we will give them the type of program and winning results they deserve. I cannot thank them enough for their support and ask them to help us finish the season strong by selling out Diddle Arena for these last two home games this week and making the trip to Hot Springs for the upcoming conference tournament. This is not my team – this is our team – and we can achieve anything when we have great support and come together as one. Go Tops!”
Ray Harper’s Background
Born: October 11, 1961, Greenville, Ky.
High School: Bremen, Bremen, Ky., 1980
High School Athletics: Basketball, guard, four letters (first-team all-state, two-time district player of the year)
College: Texas, 1981-82, Kentucky Wesleyan, 1983-85 (Bachelor of Science)
College Athletics: Basketball, guard, two letters at Texas (1981-82), two letters at Kentucky Wesleyan (1984-85)
(1981 Southwest Conference Rookie of the Year, 1985 third-team All-American, 1985 all-conference)
VCU, graduate assistant, 1986
Kentucky Wesleyan, assistant coach, 1987-90
Kentucky Wesleyan, associate head coach, 1991-96
Kentucky Wesleyan, head coach, 1997-2005 (1999, 2001 NCAA Division II National Championships)
Oklahoma City, head coach, 2006-08 (2007, 2008 NAIA Division I National Championships)
WKU, assistant coach, 2009-12
WKU, interim head coach, 2012
WKU, head coach, 2012-present
An introduction of Coach Harper and a pep rally will be held Monday night at 6:00 on the main floor at E.A. Diddle Arena. The event is free and open to the public, and it will feature performances by the cheerleaders, the Topperettes and the pep band. Big Red will also be in attendance. Doors will open at 5:30.