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Billy Gillispie resigns at Texas Tech for health concerns to end another bizarre short coaching tenure

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie has resigned due to health concerns, the school said Thursday, ending a bizarre and disappointing one-year run at the program he took over with designs on building a West Texas powerhouse.

The school and fans had hoped the 52-year-old Gillispie could orchestrate another remarkable turnaround like the ones he put together at UTEP and Texas A&M. Instead, after being out of coaching for two years, he led the Red Raiders to an 8-23 record last season that included just one Big 12 victory.

“Billy has decided to focus on his health, and we wish him a full recovery,” athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a news release. “We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy’s decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season.”

Gillispie didn’t immediately return a call or text from The Associated Press seeking comment

Gillispie will be paid the remainder of this contract year. Chris Walker, who took over day-to-day operations, will remain in that position until an interim head coach is chosen.

The move comes less than a month after the school announced it was looking into allegations of player mistreatment last fall by the veteran coach — a sensitive topic at Texas Tech, given the 2009 firing of football coach Mike Leach after claims that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion.

In January, the school reprimanded Gillispie and assistant coach Brooks Jennings after a review found the team had exceeded practice-time limits in 2011. The school reported the secondary violation to the NCAA and penalized itself by reducing the team’s practice time by about 12 hours.

While all that was filtering out, Gillispie’s health was apparently growing worse. Twice in a 10-day span this past month, 911 calls were made from Gillispie’s home. The first, on Aug. 31, came hours before he was to meet with Hocutt and led to a six-day stay in a Lubbock hospital. He was not taken to the hospital after the second call on Sept. 10. But the following day, Gillispie left for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he said he got treatment for kidney problems and abnormal headaches.

Five years ago, Gillispie was one of the hottest names in the college game and had reached a pinnacle: coaching at perennial powerhouse Kentucky. That peak lasted just two years. He was fired from Kentucky in 2009 after going 40-27 in two seasons, and the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years. When he returned to coaching at Texas Tech two years later, he came cheap. He went from an annual salary at Kentucky of $2.3 million to $800,000 a year at Texas Tech, signing a five-year contract to succeed Pat Knight.

In late 2009, Gillispie and Kentucky settled lawsuits against each another, with the former Wildcats coach getting about $3 million with no admission of wrongdoing from the school. Six months after his firing, Gillispie sought treatment at John Lucas’ substance-abuse program in Houston following his third arrest for drunken driving in 10 years.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/billy-gillispie-resigns-at-texas-tech-for-health-concerns-to-end-another-bizarre-short-coaching-tenure/


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  1. grant

    ah ha! the old resign or be fired trick. he is a kooky little dude.

  2. LindaS

    I wonder what they offered him to resign? I bet they weren’t going to pay him a think if they fired him. So much potential 9 years ago and now so much garbage.

  3. King Ghidora

    Maybe now he can get the help he needs. He obviously wasn’t geared to handle the UK job. It destroyed him IMO. I don’t blame him as much as I do Mitch Barnhart. It’s Barnhart’s job to find out if a coach is capable of handling the big spotlight of the BBN. Obviously he didn’t managed to get that done with Clyde. Sure Barnhart made probably the best hiring decision at UK in my lifetime but he has made some bad ones over the years IMO. Clyde tops that list. Extending contracts of previous coaches wasn’t so great either. And while Brooks was a good choice it appears that Joker wasn’t. Barnhart is batting about .500 the way I see things and that isn’t very good for an AD.

  4. johnl

    Funny how soon people forget the excitement created when Barnhart hired Gillispie,and when things started to unravel,it was because he had to use Tubbys’players.

    1. King Ghidora

      I certainly didn’t forget the excitement at the hiring of Clyde. I was all for it. That’s before we knew he was a nut. And I don’t remember complaining about him having to use Tubby’s players. I remember complaining because he didn’t use Tubby’s players in fact. At times he wouldn’t play Perry Stevenson at all despite having almost no one inside to compete other than Patterson. Perry was shooting well over %50 (57% for the year) yet he was playing 3 to 5 minutes a game. He was a great shot blocker too. Clyde also refused to play Crawford at times and Bradley at other times choosing to play guys like Porter and Mark Coury instead. That perplexed just about everyone. Even Meeks rode the bench at times. When guys like Coury and Porter had 36 and 24 minutes respectively while Patterson had 13 and Crawford and Meeks each had 18 there’s something wrong with that picture. In that same game Kerry Benson had 14 minutes while Stevenson had 11. Yeah I don’t know who the heck Benson was either. He played 2 games for UK and in one of them he got more minutes than Perry. Makes (no) sense to me.

      That was during the period of the infamous loss to Gardner-Webb at home. It’s not like Clyde had some winning formula he was using.

  5. Karen Sprinkle

    Respectfully, the job of athletic director is about more than just two sports–football and men’s basketball. The success that UK athletics has had in other sports, including softball, women’s basketball, baseball and other less well-publicized sports in the past few years should not be discounted. I understand what you’re saying about football and about hiring Coach G, but to ignore the accomplishments of the so-called non-revenue sports in evaluating Mitch’s performance is wrong, IMO. On paper, Coach G was a good hire (he was one of the hottest coaches in the land prior to the hire), and I’m not sure that anyone could have predicted how bad the outcome would be. To paraphrase Coach Cal, the job at Kentucky is not for everyone.

    I too hope Coach G gets the help he needs. I hate to see anyone in the shape he is in.

    1. larryvaught

      Karen, friends in Texas told me immediately Billy G. was a bad hire for all the reasons that turned out to be true. Just don’t think UK did its homework on him the way it should have

      1. TrueBlueJohn

        Larry, the sexy hire at the time was Billy Donovan, and when Billy turned it down, I think that there was a lot of pressure to find someone quickly. BCG was sitting there with a good-looking resume, and was willing to take the job right away. With hindsight, the best thing to have done was to take a little more time, and do it right.

        1. larryvaught

          How true TrueBlue, And yes, Karen, didn’t say much about it when he was hired, but if you remember I was one of the first early in Billy G’s second year to predict it was over with him and UK because of things I heard about how he was treating players and nothing to do with other issues he obviously had and still does probably

          1. Karen Sprinkle

            I do remember that, Larry, and I remember wondering what you had heard that we didn’t know about the situation. I understand and appreciate that there are things that you can’t bring out into the public consumption so to speak until a certain time. That’s why this is the first website I go to regarding UK athletics.

          2. King Ghidora

            I remember that too Larry and I wondered about it at the time. But not for long as the rumors came pouring in about what was going on. I was mostly hanging around elsewhere at the time and rumors were always floating there but a lot of them turned out to be true. People would link to your site often and I knew what you were saying. I had already begun to have doubts because of the fact that Porter was still playing the second year for one thing. If Clyde couldn’t do better than that I didn’t think he had much of a future at UK.

      2. Karen Sprinkle

        Larry, thanks for that information. I had no idea, and that actually changes my opinion about whether or not UK made a mistake offering the job to BCG.

  6. TrueBlueJohn

    It is obvious that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes that got him fired at UK. It is sad to see someone waste a great opportunity, then repeat the same old stuff when he got another chance.

  7. Jan in Indiana

    I hope Coach G does what he says and takes care of his health. I think the coaching job at Kentucky was more than he could or wanted to handle. I kind of look at it like a star basketball player in junior high going to a big high school and becoming part of the bench, we see it all the time some can learn from it and prosper and some just can’t take the pressure. To be a successful coach in college now you have to be able to produce winning teams, recruit high school players that fit in your college program and sell that said program 24/7 365, I don’t think BCG really wanted to do all that is involved.
    I will close this by saying after his time at Kentucky it really makes me appreciate Coach Cal more all the time, because he does all the things to have a successful program and more. HE GETS IT!!

  8. P90XDude

    Hindsight is 20-20 but he should have stayed at Texas A&M. He is a Texas guy and Ky was not a good fit – the Ky coach should not be an introvert and how that got by the hiring committee I will never know.

    1. King Ghidora

      That’s what made me wonder about the job Barnhart was doing at that time. It was his job to know those things. And I know there’s more to being an AD than just the two major sports but those two sports pretty much finance the other sports and without them you won’t often see a winning program in any sport. I know Mitch has done some great things but he has had his share of foul ups too. I remember people were reading to ride him out of town on a rail after Smith then Clyde. They weren’t crazy about Brooks either. The odd thing is people loved Joker but that isn’t working out so well.

      Cal saved Mitch’s job for sure IMO. Cal should have been the hire when Clyde came in. Too bad Mitch didn’t know how much he wanted the UK job. That was another failing on his part IMO. Cal is about as good as it ever gets and Mitch never managed to figure out he wanted to be in Lexington until 2 years later. Oh well. He’s there now and that makes up for a lot of failures.

  9. Bob

    I agree with some of almost all that’s said ..I think you are an kind man Larry and i respect you for being tight lipped about some issues . I think with all due respect BG needs to revamp hisself and afew years off come back at an High school or maybe an small college and work back up the ladder . UK was an bigger bite than he could chew but not so fast it also was for Mr Smith too. Rupp, Hall, Pinto, and Cal are the only 4 coaches at UK that were right for UK . I have no ideal what lead to BG hiring . I’m not sure i knew what to exspect but i was glad Billy the Kid wasn’t there .BD is an great coach i have one problem he’s not Kentucky Blue . I can accept Mitch shot from the hip hiring BG . He righted that wrong with coach Cal . I have been pretty hard on Joker but with all due respect this too was an bad hire and please correct this mistake with an coach Cal of football .

  10. Bob

    Mitch give me just afew winning seasons in football and 13 Titles in Basketball before this old school kicks the bucket

  11. Rob Gorley

    I really hope the guy addresses his personal problems. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. When he gets all that dealt with, I think he would be a great choice for a Big 10 school. <<<(a poor attempt at some partisan SEC humor)

    1. larryvaught

      Good stuff Rob and Bob. And you are right Rob, he just needs help

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