By: Larry Vaught
New Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury says he’s willing to consider any option to find a way to get Kentucky on a future schedule or schedules. Stansbury competed against UK annually as a head coach at Mississippi State and then recently as assistant coach at Texas A&M.
He is much like former LSU coach Dale Brown. He always compared his program to Kentucky and was always aiming to compete with UK even if he didn’t recruit McDonald’s All-Americans to Starkville, Miss., like UK coaches brought to Lexington.
“I have nothing but respect for Kentucky. When we were recruiting, I would always ask our coaches if we could beat Kentucky with this player,” Stansbury said. “We want guys here (at Western) to compete with Kentucky. They don’t have to be as good starting out, but we want them able to compete. I don’t want a guy who can play for me. I want a guy who can win.”
“I am in heaven in Bowling Green. We have everything it takes. Great town, beautiful campus, great facility. We have something even Kentucky does not have — sky boxes. Sure, we only seat about 8,500 but how many places in the SEC other than Kentucky are full or have more than 8,500. Tell me why we can’t sell out? We did it at Mississippi State for 11 straight years and we are going to make Western the same type place.”
He knows Kentucky fans are among the most passionate in the nation. He wants Western basketball fans to be the same.
“We are going to get Western Kentucky back to where we are competing in this state. All you Western Kentucky folks start believing. We don’t have to take a backseat to anybody. That’s not arrogant. We are going to get this going,” Stansbury said. “If you do not have tickets you better get them because there will come a time real soon that no tickets will be available.”
Getting Kentucky on the schedule would only add to that enthusiasm.