Ray Harper

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For the Australian rules footballer, see Ray Harper (footballer).
Ray Harper
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Jacksonville State
Conference OVC
Biographical details
Born (1961-10-11) October 11, 1961 (age 55)
Greenville, Kentucky
Playing career
1980–1982 Texas
1983–1985 Kentucky Wesleyan
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1985–1989 Kentucky Wesleyan (asst.)[1]
1989–1996 Kentucky Wesleyan (assoc. HC)[1]
1996–2005 Kentucky Wesleyan
2005–2008 Oklahoma City
2009–2012 Western Kentucky (asst.)
2012–2016 Western Kentucky
2016–present Jacksonville State
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Men's Division II Tournament (1999, 2001)
NAIA Men's Division I Tournament (2007, 2008)
Sun Belt Tournament championship (2012, 2013)
OVC Tournament championship (2017)
Division II National Coach of the Year

Lilburn Ray Harper Jr. (born (1961-10-11)October 11, 1961)[1][2] is an American college basketball coach, currently head coach for Jacksonville State University. Previously, he was head coach at Oklahoma City University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and Western Kentucky University. At Kentucky Wesleyan Harper compiled a 242–45 win-loss record.

He has been named the Division II National Coach of the Year seven times and won two national titles at Kentucky Wesleyan in 1999 and 2001.[3]

Harper was named interim head coach at Western Kentucky on January 6, 2012 after Ken McDonald was fired.[4] He was named permanent head coach on February 19, 2012 by then-athletic director Ross Bjork.[5] He resigned from the position on March 17, 2016.[6] Harper was subsequently hired at Jacksonville State on April 6, 2016,[7] where he took the 2016-17 team to the school's first NCAA appearance.

Born in Greenville, Kentucky and a native of Bremen, Kentucky, Harper played collegiately at the University of Texas[3] as a freshman and at Kentucky Wesleyan, during his sophomore-senior seasons, where he was named third team NABC All-American as a senior in 1985.

He is married to Shannon Harper,[8] a WKU alumna.

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers (Great Lakes Valley Conference) (1996–2005)
1996–97 Kentucky Wesleyan 21–8 14–6 5th
1997–98 Kentucky Wesleyan 30–3 17–2 1st NCAA Division II runner-up
1998–99 Kentucky Wesleyan 35–2 20–2 1st NCAA Division II Champion
1999–00 Kentucky Wesleyan 31–3 18–2 1st NCAA Division II runner-up
2000–01 Kentucky Wesleyan 30–3 17–3 2nd NCAA Division II Champion
2001–02 Kentucky Wesleyan 31–3 19–1 1st NCAA Division II runner-up
2002–03 Kentucky Wesleyan 26–3* 18–2* 1st* NCAA Division II runner-up*
2003–04 Kentucky Wesleyan 22–8* 14–6* 3rd* NCAA Division II First Round*
2004–05 Kentucky Wesleyan 15–12 9–11 6th
Kentucky Wesleyan: 242–45* (.840) 146–35* (.807)
Oklahoma City Stars (Sooner Athletic Conference) (2005–2008)
2005–06 Oklahoma City 29–8 16–2 1st NAIA runner-up
2006–07 Oklahoma City 35–2 17–1 1st NAIA Champions
2007–08 Oklahoma City 31–7 18–4 1st NAIA Champions
Oklahoma City: 95–17 (.848) 51–7 (.879)
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Sun Belt Conference) (2012–2014)
2011–12 Western Kentucky 11–8[9] 6–7[9] 3rd (East)[10] NCAA Second Round[11]
2012–13 Western Kentucky 20–16 10–10 4th (East)[12] NCAA Second Round[13]
2013–14 Western Kentucky 21–11 12–6 2nd
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Conference USA) (2014–2016)
2014–15 Western Kentucky 20–12 12–6 T–4th
2015–16 Western Kentucky 18–16 8–10 8th
Western Kentucky: 90–63 (.588) 48–39 (.552)
Jacksonville State Gamecocks (Ohio Valley Conference) (2016–present)
2016–17 Jacksonville State 20–15 9–7 3rd (East) NCAA First Round
Jacksonville State: 20–15 (.571) 9–7 (.563)
Total: 463–137 (.772)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

* 20 wins and 5 losses were vacated from the 2003–04 season and for the 2002–03 season; the school had to vacate the NCAA Division II runner-up and conference regular season championship.[14]