Blog Entry

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

Posted on: March 26, 2009 4:55 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2009 6:51 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Even here in FedExForum, with four of the best teams in the country gathered for Friday night's games, the question I've been asked most today doesn't involve Blake Griffin or Tyler Hansbrough, or even Ty Lawson's toe. No, the question I've been asked most -- by coaches and other media people -- is this: When is the Billy Gillispie thing going down?

Answer: Soon ... barring a major change of plans.

Multiple sources -- and by multiple, I mean like 70 -- have told that Gillispie will almost certainly never coach another game at Kentucky, that it's simply a matter of making it official. The prevailing thought is that a humbled Gillispie could possibly save himself by acknowledging missteps and promising to better embrace the celebrity that goes hand-in-hand with coaching at Kentucky, but people close to Gillispie insist he's "too stubborn" for that, and that he'd take his $6 million buyout and walk away before ever greatly altering his personality.

So why the wait?

Sources have said UK would like to have a replacement lined up before it moves on Gillispie, that the ideal scenario has the school introducing its next head coach less than 48 hours after Gillispie is asked to resign.  More than likely, that means athletic director Mitch Barnhart is spending today trying to determine -- through intermediaries, of course -- if Florida's Billy Donovan will really jump, and if he won't then the next two likely candidates are Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Memphis' John Calipari, both of whom are still coaching their teams in this NCAA tournament and thus unavailable for the time being.

Here's a prediction: Kentucky will get one of those three.

Which one?

I'll let you guess, for now.

But any list that includes a fourth option is probably a list one name too long, because Barnhart will do whatever it takes to make a home run hire, well aware that he can't take a chance on a relatively young option and risk another mistake. Another mistake will cost him his job, but Donovan, Izzo or Calipari would extend it for years, no question.


Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:38 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?


it's about showing recruits the opportunity for development, exposure and nba potential

Kansas, Oklahoma aren't in great locoations and neither are Uconn or Pitt from my perspective...if you want location, go to UNC, Duke or FL (but that's just my preference)

not sure where your perspective comes from about the SEC...Florida did a great job for 2 years back to back just a couple of seasons ago.

Go Cats!

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:34 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

Sounds like any coach would be in a non-win situation at Kentucky. Plus how would you depend on recruiting if they only give a coach 2 years? The extreme fans will keep any current elite coach from ever taking the job. I know Kentucky has alot of great and dedicated basketball fans also, but it seems the extreme ones rule...

Might as well hire Ashley Judd to coach Kentucky atleast then you would have something to watch during the game....



Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:33 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?


great piece...always enjoy the perspective

my prediction: Donovan....why?  he made the call to stay at Florida after he made the NBA short misstep and has re-learned that Florida isn't UK, Uconn, Duke, NC, KU, Memphis or UCLA.

my fallback is Calipari as he wants to prove he can make it in a major conference.

either is fine with me as they have the charisma to be successful at UK or any other the other schools mentioned above where it's much more than X's and O's.  This in my opinion is where BCG missed it and either couldn't adapt to the situation or chose not to.  But this is where Pitino was a genius.

by the way, I'm a UK season ticket holder [but by no means an influential booster] and have had enough of the BCG approach....and I'm not really impressed with his X's and O's beyond calling a play coming from a 'bout mixing in a few different defensive looks....

look for Donovan to move to Lexington and become a bigger hero than his mentor Rick.



Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:32 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

 As a lifelong Wildcat fan, I can tell you that I wanted Gillespie gone after the 1st year.  And I was a Gillespie fan prior to UK hiring him and I still think he's a good coach, just not a good fit for this program.  We're used to seeing a team that leaves it all on the floor, every night.  A team that plays disciplined defense and that will compete with the best.  I haven't seen that in Billy's 2 years.  I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to or either stopped watching a game b/c it seemed like the players and Billy were just going through the motions.  He may love the game, but he hasn't been able to instill that in his players and he hasn't been able to convince me that he hates losing.  

I remember Tubby on the sideline looking like he was going to blow his top an any moment even when the team was winning by 20 but not giving the effort required to wear that blue jersey.  Tubby, and Pitino before him, either knew or accepted very quickly what the expectations were and what Big Blue basketball means to the Blue Mist.  Billy has chosen to fight against it and continue to say "I'll do this my way.  Damn what everyone else thinks I should be doing."  To feel that way is ok, but to express it even subtlely won't fly in Lexington.

I hope he's out and wish him well at his next job because I do think he will be successful.  Just not at Kentucky.

Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:30 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

Let me get a few things straight here..........

First, not all UK fans all unrealistic fanatics who turn on their coach after 1 bad season. In fact, it is just a small minority who are and every school has them. It's just the ones at UK are more vocal and sense UK has more fans than the average school there tends to be a few more of them. It's not that we UK fans expect championships every year and anything else is a failure but we do expect UK to contend for titles. That doesn't mean making it to the Final Four every year either but it does mean at least making it once every 5 years or so. People forget that Tubby didn't make it back to a FF after his first season. He was here for 9 years after his last FF before fans started to get impatient and then it was Tubby who left. UK DID NOT fire him. Tubby had sought after the MU job that December before leaving. People outside of KY don't realize this, they just think we fans marched around Rupp with picket signs saying "FIRE TUBBY". That's not how it happened people.

 Second.... If Gillispie is let go it is not because of the fans and it is not because of his on court product. It will be for several reasons but you can't put this one on the fans. I like BCG and I wanted him to come to UK but I now feel as though he is not the man for the job. I'm not saying that he's not a hellava coach and awesome recruiter because I feel as though he is aboth of those things. He's just not the right man for THIS job. I don't think he understands what UK basketball is and what it means to the people and what it means to be the coach at UK. He hasn't handled himself very professionally since coming to Lexington. He has had several run=ins with the media and several incidents in Lexington that haven't gone over well with Barnhart or Lee Todd. I think that a clean break now would be in the best interest of both parties. Another reason is his contract, neither side can agree with his contract. A contract was presented to BCG last week and he declined to sign. This is info that comes directly from the basketball department. Gillispie does not like the current contract and UK is not willing to change it. The only thing left to do is part ways. But don't put this on the fans, they've had nothing to do with this.

And lastly.... I'll give you several reasons why UK is interesting to the coaches named as on the list. Donovan will always be the bball coach at a football school. The fanbase will love him but football will always come first in Gainesville and Urban Meyer will always be top dog. He will be top dog at UK at a bball school where the team dominates everything. If he were to restore UK back to prominence and maybe win a title here, he would be considered the best coach in the country. Just like his mentor will be considered if he wins a title at Louisville but Billy D would have done it at UK which is far more prestigious than Louisville. He would have every resource available to him and more than likely have a new arena built for his program in the very new future. I think that is something that interest Donovan and his ego. I think it has to be interesting to Calipari also. Sure, he has it made in the ConUSA but he'll never get the respect he wants as long as he's at Memphis. People will always say.."He's a good coach BUT he plays in CUSA". Imagine what recruits he could get if he were at UK. If he can pull those type players at Memphis, just imagine what he could do with unlimited resources and a brand new multi-million dollar facility for the basketball program. Not to mention KENTUCKY written across the chest. I think it's scary to imagine has good UK can be under Calipari. Now Pitino, I'm not so sure he would leave Louisville to come back to UK. It's kinda like been there, done that with him. He has called UK the Camelot of college basketball and has stated many times that he made a huge mistake in leaving UK but I just can't see him coming back after the program he has built at UL. Although there is one scenerio that could possibly land him in Lexington. Since he all know that Ricky P loves new challenges, I could see him leaving if UL were to win the national championship. I could see him thinking his job was done there and time for a new challenge. That's the only way I see him leaving UL. For Tom Izzo, I don't see him leaving the only place he's ever coached and played to come to Lexington. He's a Michigan man and I see him staying.

Whatever happens, I hope it's Donovan or Calipari. I just think it's not the right fit with BCG. I like him, I think he's a hellava coach, just not the right fit at UK. That's all. It will be interesting to see what happens. That's for sure. I need some popcorn for this!!!

Since: Oct 19, 2008
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:30 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

Sorry, Kentucky will NEVER win another national championship, too many programs in better locations have passed them by.  Any top coach who goes there is a fool.  Delusional fan base in a knock down drag out league -- like every other SEC team they'll be lucky every year just to make it through the league with enough health for a Sweet 16 run.


Since: Mar 26, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:29 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

 Billy g has already received another job offer at the University of Bartending, and has contacted eddie sutton about being assistant. 

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:20 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

This was in response to the guy who simply said "I hate kentucky..", not to the post above mine.  Oops...


Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:19 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

 All 3 of those coaches, more specifically though Izzo and Calipari would be crazy to leave their schools and take the job at Kentucky. They both have very good, very high profile jobs at places where they are very well liked. Why would they go to a place where they will be hated within a couple of years. The only way to be like by Kentucky fans is if you are going to the final four year in and year out with a championship thrown in there every couple of years. You can't just be successful, you have to be impossibly successful, Tubby Smith proved that. Either of them could succeed at UK but there isn't a coach in America that could succeed enough for UK fans.

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: March 26, 2009 9:16 pm

What's up with the Gillispie situation?

You're an idiot.  Do some homework on Tubby and his last couple seasons at UK.  He couldn't hack it anymore at UK and left for the non-pressurized situation at the hoops hotbed of Minnesota.  By the way, Dean Smith sucks.



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