WIU Move Could Mean Harper Will Come to WKU

By: James Brandenburg Email
By: James Brandenburg Email

MACOMB, Ill. -- Jim Molinari, who has 28 years of Division I college coaching experience, will take over as head coach at Western Illinois.

The school says he will be introduced Friday at a news conference.

Molinari's hiring frees up former Kentucky Wesleyan and Oklahoma City head coach Ray Harper to potentially take an assistant coaching job at Western Kentucky University.

Harper told the Associated Press on Wednesday he'd take a job on Ken McDonald's staff with the Hilltoppers if he didn't get the head coaching job in Macomb.

"I feel pretty comfortable with the situations,'' Harper said.

Harper is a native of Bremen, Ky., and spent nine seasons at KWC before taking the Oklahoma City job prior to the 2005-06 season. He guided KWC to NCAA Division II titles in 1999 and 2001.

He went 95-17 with Oklahoma City, which reached the NAIA title game in each of his three seasons at the school. The Stars lost 67-65 on a buzzer-beater to Texas Wesleyan in 2006, but rebounded to beat Concordia (Calif.) 79-71 in 2007 and Mountain State (W.Va.) 75-72 this season.

Oklahoma City was the first team to make three straight NAIA championship games since Kentucky State in 1970-72.

Harper's overall career record is 337-62.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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