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By LARRY VAUGHT
First it was Rick Pitino involved in headlines he didn’t like. Then John Calipari had to endure the NCAA-related headlines when Memphis was ordered to vacate its Final Four performance.
Now it is former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie’s turn to be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. HeÃ‚Â was arrested at 2:45 a.m.Ã‚Â today in Anderson County and charged with driving under the influence.
WLEX-TV has exclusive footage of a handcuffed Gillispie being escorted by a state trooper and put in a vehicle for transport to jail in Franklin County. Gillispie refused to take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. There was no smirk or smile from Gillispie like he often would have during his two years at Kentucky following a loss.
Why would Gillispie take this chance? What’s even doing still in Kentucky? What’s wrong with him?
Obviously, Gillispie doesn’t have a job this year and is content to count the money he’s got from UK and the money he anticipates he’s going to get. But how will he ever get another job now? He was fired at UK after two seasons and now he has a DUI. That’s not exactly what most athletics directors will want to see on a potential coach’s resume.
Gillispie’s arrest came about 12 hours after Pitino lashed out at the media for its coverage of what he says was a one-time affair with Karen Sypher and her allegations against him. Excerpts of her police interview were aired on Louisville TV stations Wednesday and that sent Pitino into a rant.
Actually, his response was not surprising. That’s Pitino. When he has something to say, he says it. Pitino was that way when he was at Kentucky. Several times I got late-night phone calls from him when he was upset with something I had written. He didn’t want to wait to address the issue, so he would call immediately. It was the same at some press conferences when he would be irritated.
However, the difference here is that when Pitino would call me or voice his displeasure at a press conference, that was it. He put the incident behind him and moved on. He can’t do that here. Sypher is charged with extortion and is going to trail. Plus, opposing fans are going to have a field day with him this season.
All his reaction Wednesday did was put the focus and national headlines right back on him. And Gillispie’s arrest is not going to change that, either.
Big-time coaches in Kentucky are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Thank goodness college football starts next week and maybe UK coach Rich Brooks can put the focus back on games, athletes and winning.