E.A. Diddle Arena
One of the finest on-campus facilities in the country, WKU's E.A. Diddle Arena serves as the home of Hilltopper basketball. read more
With 355 career wins and 12 postseason trips as a head coach to his credit, Rick Stansbury is the 15th head men’s basketball coach at Western Kentucky University. Stansbury was hired to lead the WKU program on March 28, 2016.
Stansbury has led the Hilltoppers to back-to-back 20-win seasons and appearances in the Conference USA Tournament title game. Over the last two seasons, WKU has eight wins against opponents from the top seven leagues, a 7-3 record against Power Five programs and a 3-3 mark against top-25 foes.
In the 2018-19 season, the Hilltoppers finished 20-14 and earned the No. 2 seed in C-USA, the program’s highest league finish since 2014. WKU sold out of general season tickets for the first time since E.A. Diddle Arena opened in 1963 and averaged 5,809 fans per game, the highest average attendance since the venue’s renovation in 2002.
Since Stansbury took over the program, average attendance in Diddle Arena has risen by 58 percent. more
Associate Head Coach
Phil Cunningham enters his first season as associate head coach on the Hilltopper Basketball staff under head coach Rick Stansbury in 2019-20.
Cunningham – a Campbellsville, Ky., native – spent the previous six seasons as the head coach at Troy University, and his 18 years as a Division I assistant before that included 12 years working with Stansbury at Mississippi State and one prior stint as a WKU assistant in 2012-13.
Cunningham, 52, led Troy to its first Sun Belt Tournament championship in 2017 and the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance, including the first in 14 years. That team completed the biggest wins turnaround in program history and racked up the most victories in a season since 2003-04.
During his tenure, Cunningham coached the No. 1 and No. 2 all-time leading scorers in Troy history in Wes Person and Jordon Varnado. more
Hennssy Auriantal enters his second season as an assistant coach on the Hilltopper Basketball staff under head coach Rick Stansbury in 2019-20.
In Auriantal’s first season with WKU, the Hilltoppers won 20 games – including victories over Wisconsin, Arkansas, West Virginia and Saint Mary’s – and advanced to the Conference USA championship game as the No. 2 seed.
Auriantal brings both Division I playing and coaching experience to The Hill.
The Canada native previously worked as an assistant coach at Jackson State in Jackson, Miss., from 2013-15. more
Marcus Grant enters his first season as assistant coach on the Hilltopper Basketball staff under head coach Rick Stansbury in 2019-20.
Grant spent the last six seasons on current WKU associate head coach Phil Cunningham’s staff at Troy, including the last four as associate head coach. Before that, he spent eight years working for Stansbury at Mississippi State.
Grant, 45, has carved out a role developing post players during his time as an assistant coach.
The Macon, Ga., native oversaw the emergence of Jordon Varnado as one of the most dominant posts in the Sun Belt Conference, which coincided with Troy’s 2017 conference tournament championship and second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. more
Director of Basketball Operations
Talvis Franklin enters his fourth season as Director of Basketball Operations for head coach Rick Stansbury in 2019-20.
Franklin came to The Hill to re-unite with Stansbury after the two spent 10 years together at Mississippi State. He began his career as a student manager under Stansbury before a six-year stint as coordinator of operations and video coordinator.
Franklin’s previous stint at Troy, in 2015-16, was with another Mississippi State connection in former WKU assistant coach Phil Cunningham. Prior to Troy, Franklin spent two seasons at Kennesaw State as a women’s assistant coach. During his first year, the Owls finished the season with a record of 6-24, but in his second year Kennesaw State made it to the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament, capping off the season with a 17-13 record.
Franklin spent one year as the head junior high basketball coach and assistant varsity coach for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Tupelo Christian Preparatory School in Belden, Miss. more
Associate Director of Basketball Operations
Martin Cross enters his fifth season on the WKU staff and his fourth season as Associate Director of Basketball Operations in 2019-20.
Cross coordinates the team’s travel and assists with day-to-day operations of the program, opponent scouting and on-campus recruiting. He also serves as co-director of summer camps and oversee the Hilltopper student-managers.
Cross spent the 2015-16 season as WKU’s Video Coordinator after four years as a student-manager with the Hilltoppers, during which one of his main responsibilities was helping with film exchange and film review.
Cross helped facilitate the Hilltoppers during the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments as a manager.
Cross earned his bachelor’s degree from WKU in 2015. The Albany, Ky., native graduated from Russell County High School in 2011.