In an uncertain time for the men's basketball program at Western Kentucky University, at least one man's perfectly certain he wants to keep the Hilltoppers on track.
Scott Cherry, the top assistant this past season recently-departed WKU head coach Darrin Horn (who Tuesday was named the new coach at South Carolina), has expressed interest in succeeding Horn as WKU's head coach.
"I love these kids and this year's been a great year for me," Cherry said. "I've really, truly enjoyed coaching this team."
Cherry came to the Hill prior to the 2007-08 season after a stint as an assistant at George Mason that included a Final Four appearance for the Patriots in 2006. But it didn't take long for Cherry and his family to fall in love with South Central Kentucky.
Said Cherry: "My wife and I love this university, love this community, love living here and would certainly enjoy staying here for a longer period of time."
Despite the interest, Cherry said Tuesday he's not sure whether he's considered a candidate by the WKU administration or not.
"I expressed my interest in wanting to be the next coach here at Western Kentucky," Cherry said. "It really hasn't gone beyond that.
"I know there's going to be other candidates out there that are interested as well and I don't know what (the WKU administration)'s process is going to be or if they're going to talk to other people, but I expressed my interest."
Cherry, who won a national championship as a player at North Carolina in 1993, has joined fellow assistants Cypheus Bunton and Neill Berry in trying to keep the WKU program running since Horn's departure.
"It's been a lot of phone calls, a lot of text messages, dealing with current players - meeting with them, talking to them, letting them know everything's going to work out and that we're going to do everything we can to help them and take care of them through this process."
And the players might need a lot of care. Cherry admits it can be a tough time to be a Hilltopper.
"I think they're upset at Coach (Horn) leaving," said Cherry. "Any time you have a coaching change, players are upset at the person who recruited them, who brought them here.
"It's an unsettling time for them. They just want to find out who the next person is that's going to be coaching their team."
Cherry admits it's an unsettling time for everyone in the program. He says it's potentially a great opportunity for Horn and his WKU staff, but that none of the staff members know exactly where they'll coach next season - leaving everyone in the WKU basketball program in temporary limbo.
"Any time something like this happens, there's a wake effect. There are people that get affected - not only the players, but the players' parents and families, incoming players and their families, the community, the university, the fans.
"We understand that and we're very cognizant of that; we don't take that lightly."