WKU president Gary Ransdell met with the media today to discuss athletic director Ross Bjork’s departure for the same position at the University of Mississippi.
BGDN writer Chad Bishop will have the majority of Ransdell’s comments for you, but Ransdell also spoke at length about the ongoing search for a new women’s basketball coach.
Ransdell said Bjork and senior associate athletic director Todd Stewart had interviewed “half a dozen” candidates for the job, but that he’s now become involved with the search and been a part of interviews this week.
All signs point to Ransdell & Co. filling the position soon, although he said he’d like to have a few more conversations with finalists before making a decision.
Popular names for the job have included Louisville assistant Michelle Clark-Heard, Kentucky assistant Matt Insell and Kyra Elzy, Wright State head coach Mike Bradbury and Notre Dame assistant Jonathan Tsipis.
Here are Ransdell’s comments on the Lady Topper search:
“I’ve just become involved this week. Now I find myself a bit more involved in that than I expected to be.”
“We’ve zeroed in on a few we want to meet with – that I would like to meet with before we make a decision. I’m more focused on it now than I was last week, but that process may run its course pretty quickly. We’ve been fortunate to have some outstanding candidates, and I think that will move along quickly.”
During comments about how Bjork helped ‘”fix” men’s basketball and football: “Women’s basketball will be fixed in a year or two. The next athletic director will take some credit for that.”
What must the next WBB coach bring to the job? “Recruiting would be first. I’m going to say recruiting will be second and probably third. We’ve got outstanding young women in our program, and we’ve got a quality product and great facilities and all the values you expect in a women’s basketball program. We just haven’t been competitive and we haven’t been selling tickets. Those two things, unfortunately, will catch up to a coach no matter how patient you are.”
“We’ve got to get our fans back in Diddle Arena and win basketball games. We have to get back to the top of the Sun Belt Conference, and we’ve got to get to the NCAA tournament and penetrate. That’s what we expect in both of our basketball programs, and I can’t give the women’s program any more slack than the men in that regard.”
“You just heard what I’m going to be saying to our next women’s basketball coach before he or she accepts this position. If they can convince me that’s their agenda as well, then we’re off and running.”