Dec. 6, 2001
Q: Will the administration offer coach Felton a contract that will give us a good chance of keeping him at Western? I have been a HAF member for twenty years and I do not want to see another excellent coach leave Western. Western should realize that you have to spend money to make money. -- submitted by Bernard Schrembs.
Dr. Selig Bernard, Thank you for your question with regard to Coach Felton and his long term employment status at WKU. While many have contributed to the resurgence of WKU basketball, no one has been as instrumental in our success as Coach Felton. He runs a model program, has genuine concern and care for his players (both academically and athletically), and has tremendous work ethic. He is building the Hilltopper program to be successful for the long term, not looking for a quick fix and a quick ticket out of Bowling Green. We all need to realize how fortunate we are to have someone as talented as Dennis Felton.
We need to show support of Coach Felton and his accomplishments in the form of HAF memberships and season ticket sales - those two items help us financially support Dennis and his program at the highest possible level. If we can continue to grow in these two areas we will be in good shape. HAF membership is up over 30% from last year...... we have added over 250 new members this fall, the large majority BEFORE the UK win in Rupp last month. Men's basketball season ticket sales have increased by over 500 new tickets sold, or over 22% from last year. We need to continue this type of growth in order to allow us to maximize our compensation for Coach Felton and his staff. Our future looks excellent with the young players we have on board and the outstanding class due to enter next fall. Hopefully the critical component of fan support will continue into the future as well. Early indications from this season are very positive that it will.
We are doing everything we can to enhance Coach Felton's current contract and extend him well into the future. We certainly understand you have to spend money to make it, as you say. Why else would we be investing up to $32.5 million in the Diddle Arena renovation? Not many schools can claim to be making that type of multi-million investment while also allowing their head coach considerable input and design control for the renovation. We are confident that we will have an agreement worked with Coach Felton in the coming months as we have been in contract extension discussions with him since this spring. Thanks for your interest in and support of WKU. I hope to see you at many games in Diddle this winter!