Harper takes over full time at Western Kentucky

7:17 PM, Feb 19, 2012   |    comments
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Bowling Green, KY (Sports Network) - Ray Harper has shed his interim tag as Western Kentucky's head men's basketball coach after just 11 games, the school announced Sunday.

Harper has guided the Hilltoppers to a 4-7 record after taking over for Ken McDonald, who was fired in early January after a poor 5-11 start.

Even with job security, Harper knows he still has work to do.

"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," Harper said in Sunday's released statement. "This is a destination job for me, and there is no place in the country I would rather be."

Attendance at E.A. Diddle Arena has risen from 3,000 fans per contest to just over 5,000 in the four home games since Harper has taken over.

"We put [Harper] in a very challenging situation by naming him our interim coach on January 6, but he has performed admirably in these unique circumstances while bringing much-needed energy and excitement to our program," WKU director of athletics Ross Bjork said.

Harper came to WKU as an assistant prior to the 2008-09 season. He spent 12 seasons as head coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College (Division II) and Oklahoma City University (NAIA), compiling a 342-63 record. His teams won four national championships and reached the title game five other times.

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