BasketballConference USAHiring

Hank Plona promoted to head coach at Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky announced on Tuesday that assistant Hank Plona has been promoted to head coach of the Hilltoppers. The long-time JUCO coach replaces Steve Lutz, who was just hired as the new head coach at Oklahoma State.

“Hank Plona is a winner,” AD Todd Stewart said. “He played an integral role in many areas of our program during this past championship season, and I am confident under his leadership we will continue to build on the strong momentum that has been established. His incredible winning percentage over his previous eight years as head coach at Indian Hills speaks for itself, and he has a proven history of strong recruiting and player development. His career path prior to joining WKU coupled with the vital role he played this past season has prepared him well for this opportunity. I am excited for the future of our basketball program under his direction.”

Plona just finished his first season at WKU after serving as the head coach for eight seasons at Indian Hills CC in Iowa. He led IHCC to seven NJCAA National Tournaments and won the ICCAC every season, earning five NJCAA District COY awards along the way. His overall record with the program was 225-35.

“My staff and I haven’t stopped working since the day we got back from Indianapolis and the NCAA Tournament and we are eager to build upon the success of the 2023-24 season into the future,” Plona said. “We will continue working tirelessly on the recruiting trail – both in retaining current Hilltoppers and identifying future ones. Our team will continue to be one that you can be proud to cheer for. We will play an exciting, fast-paced style of basketball, we will excel in the classroom and graduate our student-athletes, and we will be active on campus and in the community. Our players will represent WKU and this community with class in everything we do. Go Tops!”

The Hilltoppers went 22-12 in 2023-24 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.


credit to Western Kentucky Athletics for the image