Where it all went wrong for Gillispie
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY
You wonder where it all started to go wrong for Billy Gillispie. You wonder how his career went off the 10-meter diving platform. You wonder when the moment was he might have crossed the line from intense disciplinarian to a basketball Captain Bligh, overthrownby a mutiny.
“We’re on the right track. But we have not reached any kind of destination.”
– Gillispie, after his last game at Texas A&M in 2007, when he was one of the hottest names in college basketball.
You wonder what happened to the coach who pulled magic out of his suitcase at UTEP, and made Texas A&M basketball relevant. Did success do this, turning him into — by some accounts — a cold and tightly-wired wad of pressure? Or the burden of the job at Kentucky, which can seem like a fantasy one minute and change into a fire-breathing dragon the next?
“It’s been better than I thought it could ever be.”
— Gillispie in 2008 after his first season at Kentucky. A year later he was gone.
Gillispie resigned Thursday at Texas Tech, the inevitable conclusion to a saga that had grown too destructive for all it touched to last one minute longer. It was never going to end neat and pretty. It couldn’t. Look around at all the storm damage.
To a program, whose recent past includes an 8-23 record, and players complaining about alleged mistreatment by their coach to nearly anyone who would listen, privately or publicly.
To Gillispie’s reputation, now in need of several tubes of Superglue.
To his health. The warning signals are unmistakable when blood pressure leads to 911 calls, and sends a man to the Mayo Clinic.
Is the college basketball ground shaking out there at this development? No. Texas Tech is not exactly large letters on the game’s marquee, even with Bob Knight & Son among the recent caretakers. This did not rattle the sport as much as, say, the disturbing news out of North Carolina, where they do not yet know if the tumor taken off Roy Williams’ kidney is benign or malignant.
But it is a striking downfall for a man whose career … [For more on Where it all went wrong for Gillispie, click here.]