Thursday, August 27, 2009

Billy gillispie

Billy Clyde Gillispie (born November 7, 1959, in Abilene, Texas), also known by his initials BCG, is a men's basketball coach, most recently at the University of Kentucky.[4] His last name is spelled unconventionally, and is pronounced "Guh-LISS-pee".

After leading both UTEP and Texas A&M to postseason appearances one year after poor seasons, Gillispie became the only college basketball coach to be in charge of the NCAA program with the biggest turnaround in two consecutive seasons. Gillispie is known as an excellent recruiter who has managed to put together four straight top-25 recruiting classes. In his three seasons at A&M, the Aggies achieved three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time ever.
Early years

Billy Clyde Gillispie was born November 7, 1959, the middle child and only boy among five children of Clyde, a cattle truck driver, and Winifred Gillispie. He grew up in Graford, Texas, a town of 494 people located about 65 miles west of Fort Worth. As a child, Gillispie worked as a paperboy, delivering copies of The Fort Worth Press. At Graford High School Gillispie played point guard for the basketball team and was a standout athlete in his graduating class of 20 students. He attended Ranger College, playing basketball and baseball for them from 1978–1980 before transferring to Sam Houston State University to work as a student assistant for their basketball team under coach Bob Derryberry, a former classmate of Gillispie's father. Derryberry moved to Southwest Texas the following year, and Gillispie accompanied him, spending three years as a graduate assistant. Gillispie received his degree in education in 1983.

improvement was the best in Division I basketball that season, and one of the best in Division I history. As a result of their success, the Miners built a huge home following, ranking first in the NCAA in increased attendance. After his second season with the Miners, Gillispie was named Texas coach of the Year by the TABC and was a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors.

Texas A&M

After two years at UTEP, Gillispie was approached to interview for the head coach position at Texas A&M University, vacant after the forced resignation of Melvin Watkins, whose team had gone 7-21 and failed to win a Big 12 Conference game in 2003-2004. Athletic Director Bill Byrne needed to revitalize the program, which had only one winning season in the previous eleven years, and desired a new head coach with the ability to "recruit the heck out of Texas".Gillispie agreed to take the job only after he was sure that the predominantly football-focused school was actually committed to winning, becoming the first native Texan to be the head basketball coach at A&M since J.B. Reid was hired in 1930.


Gillispie asked for a budget large enough to allow them to play confidence-building non-conference schedules, rarely venturing out of Reed Arena in the first two seasons. Using the padded non-conference schedule to their advantage, the Aggies won the first eleven games of Gillispie's debut season before finishing the season 21–10, a fourteen-game improvement over the previous season. Although the Aggies were picked to finish last in the Big 12 Conference, they finished 8–8 in conference play, winning games against number 9 Texas and Number 25 Texas Tech on their way to becoming only the third college team to ever finish .500 in league play after being winless the previous season. For the first time in eleven years, the team received a postseason bid, with their two wins in the NIT their first postseason wins in 23 seasons. With the best first-season record of any head basketball coach in A&M history, the Aggies had the most season wins since the 1979–1980 team had won 26 games. The Aggies were named the country's most improved team, making Gillispie the only coach in history to lead the most improved team in consecutive seasons. As a result of his success, he was the consensus selection for Big 12 Coach of the Year. and was selected to serve as a court coach at the 2005 USA Men's World University Games Team Trials.


Although the Aggies lost Antoine Wright to the NBA draft following the 2004-2005 season, the team did not suffer the predicted drop-off, and actually broke a streak of twenty-five years without being ranked in the poll. The Aggies finished the regular season with a 21-8 record, including a 10–6 conference record and a fourth-place finish in the Big 12, the best finish and most wins for Texas A&M since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996–97. For the first time since 1987, Texas A&M received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. As a twelfth-seeded team, the Aggies upset Big East champion Syracuse in the first round of the tournament but then lost in the second round to eventual Final Four participant LSU by the score of 58–57 on a three-pointer that LSU made in the final seconds of the game. Following the season, Gillispie was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year by several major newspapers and was named the Texas College Coach of the Year by the TABC.

The Aggies began the 2006–2007 season deemed capable of contending with the Kansas Jayhawks for the Big 12 regular-season crown and were picked to finish second in the Big 12 media and coaches' polls. In their twelfth attempt, on February 3, 2007, Texas A&M became the first Big 12 South team in conference history (31 attempts) to beat Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse, moving them into sole possession of first place in the Big 12. Less than forty-eight hours later the Aggies defeated their archrivals, then number-25 ranked Texas, marking their 21st straight win at home.

The 2006–07 Aggies ended the regular season ranked #7 by the Associated Press and #6 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Aggies have set a school record for most consecutive weeks in the top 25, reaching a school high Number 6 ranking. On March 4, 2007, Gillispie was awarded his second Big 12 Coach of the Year award for leading the Aggies to a 13-3 conference record and a second place finish behind the Kansas Jayhawks.[14] The 2006-07 post-season, the Aggies advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tourney. Their post-season hopes ended with a one point loss (65-64) to the University of Memphis Tigers at the Alamodome in San Antonio on March 22, 2007.

Work habits at A&M

A February 11, 2007 Dallas Morning News article described Gillispie as a self-professed workaholic during his time at A&M. Despite the fact that he had three assistants who watched opponents' game film and summarized it for him, he sometimes watched as many as fifteen of an opponent's games, often working as late as 2 or 3 a.m. to ensure he had adequate time to devote to the task. He stated that his eight-year marriage ended because he could not find a balance between work and home. With the sheer amount of hours he spent working, Gillispie often did not have time to even shop for groceries, once going as long as six months without any food in his refrigerator.


On April 5 2007, University of Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart was given permission by A&M to speak with Gillispie about the program's basketball coach opening, vacated by Tubby Smith. On April 6, 2007, the announcement was made that Gillispie had accepted the position. He drew criticism for the way he left A&M by having alerted the A&M players of his decision to take the Kentucky job via text message while en route to the introductory press conference in Lexington.

At 12:45 p.m on April 6, 2007, Billy Gillispie was officially and formally announced as the new head coach of the University of Kentucky by UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart. He fielded questions from the media during the press conference held at UK's new practice facility, the Joe Craft Center. He expressed his excitement and joy to be not only considered for the position but to have been given the honor and the opportunity to coach what former UK coach Rick Pitino referred to as the "Roman Empire" of college basketball. "I'm very, very grateful and honored to be here, but we have a lot of work to do." Gillispie became only the sixth head coach in the last 76 years at the school.

Gillispie signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with Kentucky on April 6, 2007[20] which outlined his salary and benefits. The memo also stated that contract negotiations would be concluded with "every reasonable effort" within 60 days. Gillispie and the University never signed a formal contract.[21]

Recruiting at Kentucky

Between April 29 and May 7, 2008, Billy Gillispie made recruiting waves by snagging commitments from five players spread over five different classes, most notably the commitment on May 1 of Thousand Oaks, CA 8th grader Michael Avery. Avery, a member of the class of 2012, gave the University of Kentucky its earliest basketball commitment in the history of the program. The commitment also earned national scrutiny for Coach Gillispie and the university, but no there were no violations of the NCAA recruiting rules. During his tenure at Kentucky, Gillispie snagged numerous high profile recruits. These included three 5* recruits according to (Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton, & Dominique Ferguson) and five 4* recruits (Alex Legion, DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller, Kevin Galloway, and Jon Hood). Legion later transferred to Illinois early in the 2007-08 season.

Wildcat fans packed Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness (the first practice of the season and the program's major publicity event) to catch a glimpse of their new coach in action. In his first few months he signed two high profile recruits, Patrick Patterson and Alex Legion. Patrick Patterson had previously been recruited by Duke, Florida, and Kentucky (by former coach Tubby Smith) before signing with Gillispie. Alex Legion would transfer 6 games into his first season at Kentucky. Gillispie's first season got off to a rocky start, being routed 84–68 by unranked Gardner-Webb in Rupp Arena in the second game of the year. This loss dropped them from the AP Top 25, where they did not return for the remainder of the season. The Wildcats improved their record during conference play, achieving a 12-4 record and on March 11, Gillispie was named Co-SEC coach of the year along with Bruce Pearl of Tennessee.


On November 14, 2008 Gillispie's Kentucky team opened the 2008-2009 season with another loss at home, this time to the VMI Keydets, by a score of 111–103. However, on November 30th 2008, Gillispie led Kentucky to a 54–43 come from behind victory over West Virginia to win the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational championship. Although his Wildcats had trailed for the entire game, Billy made halftime adjustments that stymied Coach Bobby Huggins West Virginia Mountaineers, eventually allowing Kentucky to overcome a 14 point deficit well into the second half - holding the Mountaineers to only 17 second-half points. Although neither team was ranked, the win was considered an upset victory for Coach Gillispie and his Wildcats after the VMI loss and was the first in-season tournament championship win for the University of Kentucky since winning the Great Alaska Shootout in late 1996.

After a 5-0 start in the SEC conference schedule, however, Gillispie's team dropped three straight games to Mississippi, South Carolina and Mississippi State, with the latter two losses coming at home. Some Kentucky fans vociferously booed Gillispie during the Mississippi State game. Kentucky rebounded against Florida with a 68-65 victory at home. Jodie Meeks hit a contested fade-away three pointer with less than 5 seconds left to give UK the lead. Nick Calathes had an opportunity to tie the game after being fouled with 0.6 seconds left by Kevin Galloway, but missed all three free throws (the last intentional) to seal the UK win.

Kentucky also had two lopsided victories over SEC East regular season champion Tennessee. Although Gillispie continued to take the blame for Kentucky's woes, he was also a victim of some of his youthful and inexperienced recruits' underperformance and the lack of consistent play at the point guard position. Gillispie continued to publicly encourage his players and praise their work ethic despite the team's inconsistent play during the 2008-09 season. Such encouragement manifested itself in Gillispie's public statements criticizing his players after close losses.

Kentucky went on to gain a 4th seed in the NIT, defeating UNLV and Creigton in the opening and second rounds before losing to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Kentucky finished the year with an 8-8 record in conference and 22-14 overall. The record tied for the second-most losses ever in the program's history.

Gillispie was fired from his position at Kentucky on March 27, 2009. Kentucky's administration has continually indicated that the reasons for terminating Gillispie's employment are not related to the performance of Gillispie's teams, but rather was due to an "'incompatibility' between the school" and Gillispie which specifically manifested itself in the former coach's refusal to sign his contract since his hire two years earlier.


On May 27, 2009, Gillispie filed a lawsuit against the University of Kentucky Athletic Association for breach of contract and fraud stemming from the firing. The suit was filed in Gillispie's home state of Texas, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Gillispie is seeking $6 million, the amount he claims the university owes him on the remaining years on the deal, punitive damages, attorney fees, and a jury trial. The university has stated that it is working on a settlement with Gillispie.[31] However, the next day, the university filed a countersuit against Gillispie in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, Kentucky's state capital. In the countersuit, UK is seeking a judge's order that Gillispie's memorandum of understanding was not a formal contract.

DUI Arrest

On August 26, 2009, Gillispie was arrested in Lawrenceburg, KY for driving under the influence. He and a male passenger were stopped in Gillispie's 2009 white Mercedes Benz at approximately 2:30 am. He refused a breathalyzer test on the scene and was arrested and taken to Franklin County Jail.

It is believed that he had been playing golf with the passenger earlier in the day.