WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart addresses Rick Stansbury’s resignation

Stansbury had to miss nine games after having medical issues that kept him away from the team for over a month before returning to the sideline against FIU.
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 3:52 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart spoke to the media after Rick Stansbury resigned from the head coaching position of the WKU Men’s Basketball team.

“I would like to start by thanking Rick Stansbury for his tremendous devotion and dedication to WKU Basketball and his many contributions,” Stewart said. “Obviously this past season was a disappointment for everyone in our program and not what any of us hoped it would be. But, from the moment he landed in Bowling Green on March 27th, 2016, Rick gave everything he had to this program. He was a tireless recruiter and a terrific ambassador for our program.”

Stewart talked about how Stansbury and himself have a really good relationship and said with everything that has happened this past year, personally and professionally, it was a very hard year and stepping away was what is best for Stansbury, so Stewart accepted the resignation.

Stansbury had to miss nine games after having medical issues that kept him away from the team for over a month before returning to the sideline against FIU down in Miami.

AD Stewart went on to describe what characteristics he’s looking for in the next head coach.

“There’s a lot of factors that are important. We need somebody who can recruit, somebody who’s good with player development, somebody who emphasizes academics, somebody who’s good in the community, and obviously somebody who wins.”

It’s been over a decade since the Hilltoppers have made the NCAA Tournament and it’s been even longer since the program has had a win. There’s been four NCAA Tournament wins in the last 28 years.

“Certainly the NCAA Tournament drought, that’s a big frustration for everybody. That’s the most important thing and it’s been too long for this program since we’ve last been to one. That will obviously remain our top goal. And the goal isn’t just to make the NCAA Tournament, it’s to advance in the tournament. Our bar is always going to be high, we don’t just want to make the tournament we want to make it and win.”

Over the years, Stansbury has brought in a lot of recruits and a lot of transfers, Stewart addressed if the resignation will endanger the current roster and if he anticipates if players will enter the transfer portal.

“I’ll be meeting with our players very soon. What we’ll ask of them is just to be patient. I’m confident that we will hire a new head coach that they will respect and want to play for. All we ask of them is to wait until that time happens and get to know that person. I’m confident that it’s something they will want to be a part of but if it’s not, certainly they have the right to go into the portal as players all across the country do.”

In terms of a timetable in finding a new head coach, Stewart says the timetable is as long as it takes to get a new person. There isn’t a specific time table, but he doesn’t think it will take too long. He says the most important thing is to get it right.

What he hopes attracts potential coaches to WKU is the winning history of the program. According to Stewart, only Kansas and Kentucky have more conference championships than WKU.

Stewart made sure to point out that his confidence and belief never wavered in Stansbury throughout the season.

With the news breaking today, many names and potential candidates have been mentioned and rumored. Stewart said people have been reaching out and been in contact and will now begin the process to finding a new head coach.