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Former WKU Coach Ken McDonald Named Assistant at Tulsa

Former Western Kentucky University coach Ken McDonald has been named assistant coach at Tulsa.

The school officially announced the hire Thursday:



Release from Tulsa:

TULSA, Okla. — The University of Tulsa head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith announced on Thursday that he has added Ken McDonald to his coaching staff as an assistant coach, effective April 16.

McDonald, who has nearly 25 years of coaching experience in the collegiate, professional and international ranks, replaces former assistant coach Danny Henderson, who recently left the program to be closer to his family in Texas.

“Ken is a terrific addition to our program and his familiarity with our staff and his relationships and track record in this region will allow him to make an immediate impact for us on the court and in recruiting,” Haith said. “I have known Ken for more than 20 years and he is a highly-regarded basketball coach that has done a tremendous job at the collegiate, professional and international levels. That experience, coupled with his ability to create strong relationships will make him an immediate asset to our program.”

“I’m incredibly excited to join the TU basketball program and the Tulsa community,” McDonald said. “Coach Haith has been a friend and someone that I have great respect for since I got into the business 24 years ago. It’s an honor to get this opportunity with such a prestigious basketball program. I’m looking forward to getting started with the student-athletes and staff and helping add to the winning tradition of Golden Hurricane basketball.”

McDonald comes to Tulsa after spending the previous year as an assistant coach and advanced scout for USA Men’s Basketball. While with USA Basketball, he helped the squad to a gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup with a perfect 5-0 record in the event.

Prior to his time with USA Basketball, he served five years in the San Antonio Spurs organization as a coach for its G-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, including his final four years as the team’s head coach. During that time, he led the Spurs to 106 wins (.540 win percentage) and a pair of Southwest Division titles. McDonald’s players earned 15 NBA call-ups, a group that includes current Orlando Magic guard Jonathan Simmons.

McDonald entered the professional ranks following 18 years at the collegiate level, where he helped guide his teams to 12 NCAA Tournaments with a pair of Elite Eight appearances (Texas; 2006 and 2008) and a Sweet 16 (Clemson; 1997). He mentored seven All-Americans, including 2007 National Player of the Year Kevin Durant, six conference Player of the Year winners, five conference Freshman of the Year recipients, 23 all-conference selections and 11 NBA draft picks.

Additionally, McDonald had a hand in eight nationally-rated recruiting classes and he was a part of seven conference championship teams.

As the head coach at Western Kentucky from 2008-12, McDonald’s teams won 67 games and claimed the 2008-09 Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Hilltoppers went 25-8 that season and defeated Illinois in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Gonzaga by a basket in the Second Round.

He arrived in Bowling Green, Ky., after helping guide Texas to a 106-35 (.752) record during his four seasons (2004-08) under head coach Rick Barnes. McDonald, who filled the void on Barnes’ staff when Haith accepted the head coaching position at Miami (Fla.), aided the Longhorns to a pair of 30-win seasons, two Big 12 Conference regular-season titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances with two trips to the Elite Eight.

McDonald was an assistant coach at Georgia (2003-04) as the Bulldogs qualified for the National Invitation Tournament under first-year head coach Dennis Felton. He followed Felton to Georgia from WKU, where he helped the Hilltoppers to three straight Sun Belt regular-season and tournament titles during his five campaigns (1998-2003) as an assistant coach.

In addition to winning 100 games during his time as an assistant at WKU, the Hilltoppers recorded a 76-20 (.792) mark over his final three seasons, which resulted in three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

McDonald got his start in coaching under Barnes at Clemson (1994-98), where he helped the Tigers to 74 wins and three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, a first in program history. The 1996-97 team went 23-10, advanced to the Sweet 16 and climbed as high as No. 2 in the national polls.

McDonald also starred on the hardwood as a player, first as an NJCAA All-American at the Community College of Rhode Island before playing his final two years at Providence, where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The McDonald File

Assistant Coach, Tulsa
Assistant Coach/Advanced Scout, USA Basketball — 2017-18
Head Coach, Austin Spurs — 2013-17
Assistant Coach, Austin Spurs — 2012-13
Head Coach, Western Kentucky — 2008-12
Assistant Coach, Texas — 2004-08
Assistant Coach, Georgia — 2003-04
Assistant Coach, Western Kentucky — 1998-2003
Assistant Coach, Clemson — 1994-98

Photo: Tulsa Athletics

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