Rick Stansbury will not be returning as WKU’s head men’s basketball coach.
“After giving this much thought, I have made the decision that I need to step away as head coach at Western Kentucky,” said Stansbury. “This past season has been a challenging one, and I need some time to step away from things and focus on my health and my family. This is a very difficult decision but the right one.
I want to thank our players and the coaches I have had on my staff. It is always about the players, it is why we do what we do, and I have really enjoyed coaching them. Coach Cunningham, Coach Grant, Coach Franklin, Coach Cross, Coach Justice and our staff deserve tremendous credit for the way they handled everything this season during my absence. I could not have asked for better people to be around on a daily basis.
While we did not reach our highest goals, I feel very good about what was achieved over the last seven years. We had many meaningful wins that brought national attention to our program and brought excitement back to Diddle Arena.
I appreciate the support of Dr. Phillip Bale, President Caboni and Todd Stewart. The last seven years have been special for the Stansbury family. The Bowling Green community has embraced us from the moment we arrived, and we will always be appreciative. The Stansbury’s will always be fans of WKU Basketball, and we wish the program and everyone associated with it all the best.”
Over the last seven seasons, Stansbury led the Hilltoppers to a 139-89 (.610) record, an NIT Final Four run, three Conference USA Championship title games and the 2021 C-USA East Division Championship. The stint included four 20-win seasons and an All-American product and NBA Second Round draft choice in Charles Bassey.
Since 2017-18, Stansbury coached the Hilltoppers to 11 wins over Power Five teams. Between the 2017-18 and 2021-22 seasons, Western Kentucky won more Division I games and more conference games than any other member of Conference USA.
“I would like to start by thanking Rick Stansbury for his tremendous devotion and dedication to WKU Basketball, and his many contributions,” said Stewart in his media availability following the announcement. “Obviously this season was a disappointment for everyone in our program, and not what any of us had hoped it would be. But from the moment he landed in Bowling Green on March 27, 2016, Rick gave everything he had to this program. He was a tireless recruiter and terriffic ambassador for our program.”
WKU will conduct a national search for Stansbury’s replacement.