The WKU men’s basketball team heads into the weekend on the verge of another 20-win season.
The Hilltoppers are traveling to the Lone Star State in search of another Sun Belt conference victory. WKU will enter Saturday night’s game against UT-Arlington with a 19-9 record, with 11 wins and four losses in the Sun Belt Conference.
You can read more about the UT-Arlington game at WKU Sports.
The Hilltoppers are in second place in the Sun Belt, behind only Georgia State.
WKU hopes to continue the momentum from Thursday's win over Texas State, which saw the Tops rally from a 12 point deficit and win by one. The team's final home game is next Thursday against Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Lafayette.
Trency Jackson scored 25 points and Chris Harrison-Docks added 15 as Western Kentucky got off to a fast start and beat Louisiana-Monroe 72-63 on Saturday night.
Western Kentucky (18-9, 10-4 Sun Belt Conference) raced to an 18-1 lead to start the game as Louisiana-Monroe (8-14, 5-9) struggled to score. It took the Warhawks more than 8½ minutes to make their first field goal.
The Hilltoppers held a 43-28 advantage in rebounding, which helped them overcome their own offensive struggles. Western Kentucky won their eighth game out of their last 10 despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the field and hitting only 17 of 32 field goals. The Hilltoppers also committed only six turnovers.
Tylor Ongwae scored 19 points and Jayon James had 13 for Louisiana-Monroe, which has now lost seven of its last nine.
Darel Carrier looks back on his childhood, his pro career and his three remarkable years at WKU
Darel Carrier’s new home just outside of Bowling Green features an expansive workout room in the basement. Upstairs there’s a display of many of the mementos from his distinguished college and pro basketball careers. He enjoys giving visitors a detailed tour of the home, right down to the insulation
The handsome, two-story house is a far cry from his humble beginnings in Warren County.
His family's house growing up lacked electricity or a bathroom until he was a teen, but Carrier found a way to sharpen his basketball skills.
“I saved up enough money to buy my first ball and goal. It was a little lace up ball and a goal for $3.99. I put it on the side of a corn crib and I shot with my little ball through that goal for two or three days,” said Carrier. “My ball went over the fence and a big ol’ hog took a bite of it. That was the last of my ball.”
WKU has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Head coach Jeff Brohm has selected Cincinnati’s Tyson Helton to fill the role that Brohm himself held last season. Helton spent one year as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had a 9-4 season and appeared in the Belk Bowl against North Carolina.
Helton has 13 years of coaching experience, including six at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Brohm and Helton were on the same staff at UAB in 2012.
Helton, 36, played football and earned his bachelor’s degree from Houston. He and his wife April have two daughters, ages 10 and 8 and twin 5-year-old boys.
With the largest collegiate athletic conferences pushing to allow extra financial benefits for players, smaller schools like WKU are wondering how such changes would impact their bottom lines.
The issue of increasing compensation for college athletes is being discussed this week at an NCAA summit in San Diego. A group of high-profile conferences wants the ability to grant stipends that would pay for costs not covered by athletic scholarships.
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said he believes such a stipend plan will soon become a reality.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart says nothing is set in stone yet about how such stipends would be used.
WKU football is heading into a new conference with its third head coach in as many seasons.
At a news conference Friday afternoon on campus, Jeff Brohm was introduced as the new Hilltopper head coach. Brohm served last season as WKU’s offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, who left this week after 13 months on the Hill to become the coach at Louisville.
Brohm was asked whether he considered going to U of L with Petrino.
“Well, that was obviously always in the discussion, and Coach (Petrino) knew what I wanted," said Brohm, a Louisville native and former star University of Louisville quarterback. "There were some things that came up before this, some opportunities that I had a chance to do."
"We sat down and talked and Coach told me I had a great opportunity to be the (WKU) head football coach if I do things right.”
Multiple media outlets are reporting that WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm has been chosen to lead the Hilltopper's football team following the departure this week of coach Bobby Petrino for Louisville.
Brohm's promotion is expected to be made public as early as Friday morning.
The 42-year-old Brohm will become head coach for the first time in his football career. Last season, as an assistant under Petrino, WKU set a school record with eight wins in a Football Bowl Subdivision season and offensive yards with 5,502.
Petrino said Thursday that he believes Brohm is ready to become a head coach. He added that grooming Brohm for the higher position was one of the main recruiting points used to get Brohm to come to WKU in the first place.
WKU athletic director Todd Stewart comments Thursday about Bobby Petrino's departure
Despite reports that WKU could be close to naming a new football coach, the school's athletic director is refusing to address such speculation.
In a phone conference with reporters Thursday afternoon, WKU's Todd Stewart said he wanted to focus on former coach Bobby Petrino, who was introduced as the new coach at the University of Louisville Thursday morning.
Stewart was asked if he tried to keep Petrino from leaving WKU after only one season.
"Certainly the Louisville job, with where their program is, with what they've achieved in recent years, and with them heading into the ACC--that's a big-time job. I don't think there's anything that we could have done here that we weren't already doing that would have persuaded him to turn that down and stay here," Stewart said.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Stewart has met with WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm about the Hilltopper head coaching job.
WKU President Gary Ransdell told the Courier-Journal he considered Brohm the leading candidate for the job and planned to interview the former U of L quarterback Thursday.
Bobby Petrino has been introduced as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals at a press conference Thursday morning. Moments before, WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart released this statement:
“President Ramsey, Tom Jurich and the University of Louisville have made a tremendous hire, and I wish Bobby, Becky and the Petrino family much success and happiness in Louisville," said Stewart.
"Coach Petrino displayed a tireless work ethic throughout his 13 months as our head coach and was completely devoted to WKU football from the day he was hired. Our program benefited greatly from his presence, knowledge and leadership. He will do a terrific job leading the Louisville football program as they move into the Atlantic Coast Conference, and I am also confident he will take an already outstanding program to even loftier heights.”