BOWLING GREEN, KY (Bowling Green Daily News) - Western Kentucky athletic director Ross Bjork talked to the media regarding the current state of WKU basketball and Ken McDonald. The Hilltoppers are in last place in the Sun Belt Conference at 0-4, 5-11 overall.
Is an evaluation for the men's basketball program something that happens at the end of the season, or is on-going throughout the year:
"What we do in all our athletic programs is have frequent communication with all our coaches. Basketball is no different. I talked with Ken this afternoon, I talked with him before they went to Troy. I talked with (Mary Taylor Cowles) after (their recent road trip). We're always talking to our coaches about what's needed."
Is Ken McDonald the coach of the WKU basketball program for the remainder of the season:
"Honestly, what I'm worried about is how (the team) feels after this game. They played hard, we saw some good signs and I'm worried about Thursday night at South Alabama."
His feelings on the season as a whole to this point:
"We acknowledge that (there's disappointment). Our fans care about this athletic program, the care factor for this athletic program is very high. And guess what, the expectations are very high. People like to win. They like to be competitive on a national stage and we embrace that and it's our job to live up to that. Of course we're disappointed with the state of the seasons on the women's and men's side.
"We know the fans are disappointed and some of them are telling us that. I was proud tonight, we almost had 3,000 people here and those that showed up we thanked them for participating tonight. Our job is to get better as an athletic department each and every day. My job as the leader of the program is to figure out how that works and provide those resources."
On whether or not he's seeing progress from the men's basketball program:
"Tonight we saw progress. Steffphon's put in four years and he had a career night but he was crushed because we didn't win. To me, there's no one fighting harder than the players and the coaches – both men and women. They're trying to get this thing turned around and we're behind them. That's what we have to do is provide support day in and day out."
Has the men's basketball program reached a panic-button state:
"You can't get too low with the lows or too high with the highs. Athletics is cyclical. You're up one day, down the next. We have to stay the course, we have to be diligent about our jobs day in and day out but we do acknowledge that we're disappointed. Players, coaches, fans are all disappointed. But we're going to try every day to get better.
"We know fans are disappointed and we thank them for their passion. It's our job to turn it around."
His thoughts on Ken McDonald and Mary Taylor Cowles:
"They know the expectations. They've signed up here, I've signed up here, we all know the expectations and it's our job to live up to them. Mary's obviously disappointed, she's expressed that. Ken's disappointed, he's expressed that. We're disappointed, but we're going to help them and we're going to help our coaches and student-athletes every day and get ready for the next day."