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Rick Stansbury, not Kenny Payne, likely to be next WKU Head Coach

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Kentucky Associate Head Coach Kenny Payne had been mentioned as a candidate for the job

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Following the resignation of former Western Kentucky University Men's Basketball coach Ray Harper, it seems as if the Hilltoppers are leaning toward hiring former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury.

According to the Bowling Green Daily Times, "the ball is in Stansbury's court, although a final agreement has not been met."

WBKO out of Bowling Green is reporting that Stansbury will meet with WKU officials this weekend to discuss the position and is likely to accept if both parties agree in principal to the terms.

Stansbury is a Kentucky native, playing collegiate basketball at Campbellsville University. Stansbury, who is 56 years old, spent 14 seasons as head coach of Mississippi State finishing with a record of 293-166 before announcing his retirement.

In 2014, he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Texas A&M under head coach Billy Kennedy. He was later promoted to Associate Head Coach.

This is big news for the University of Kentucky and the men's basketball program because Kenny Payne, Associate Head Coach for the Wildcats under John Calipari, was reportedly one of the candidates for the job. Payne was an assistant from 2010-2014 when he was promoted to Associate Head Coach.

Many expect him to eventually become a head coach, but so far that opportunity has not come. Payne met with officials at Mississippi State in 2012 regarding a coaching vacancy, but they ultimately chose former Clemson Tigers assistant Rick Ray.

Payne has been a vital member of the Wildcats' coaching staff, earning a label as a top-notch recruiter and quite influential in developing post players for the Wildcats.