University of Kentucky: The Sad Tale of Billy G.


We heard the whispers. The rumors. The tall tales. During his short run in Lexington as head coach of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, Billy Gillispie had reached Bill Brasky status. No story was too bizarre, no rumor unfounded to share amongst friends. Coeds? Beer? Swimming Pool? The entire Big Blue Nation shook its collective head at the man that had been charged with running the most storied program in basketball history (despite what ESPN says). When Billy G was fired in March of 2009, more than a few national media types blamed the Kentucky fans on being impatient and unreasonable. Nevermind the fact that Gillispie had lost to the likes of Gardner Webb and VMI at home and the 2008-2009 team actually missed the NCAA Tournament. The consensus was that the fans and, in turn, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart were just not patient enough with Billy G. But, when stories started coming out about player mistreatment and a near mutiny during that 08-09 season, it became apparent that perhaps the athletic administration was too lenient with Billy Gillispie.

Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports, taking a break from bashing Coach Cal, wrote and article that confirmed to everyone what most Kentucky fans had known for a long time. Billy Gillispie has issues. Goodman paints a picture of a man that’s part bully, part tyrant and part masochist.  From practicing players that were injured until they cried, to the false promises of scholarships and jobs, to running off athletic department staff, it seems as if Gillispie is hell-bent on his on own self destruction.  Just reading Goodman’s article, it makes you sad for the young men under his care and angry at the Texas Tech administration for letting it get to this point. Gillispie seems go out of his way to create these problems for himself and leaves everyone asking the question Why?

Why would someone that has risen through the coaching ranks from high school coach, college assistant to sitting in the big chair at Kentucky and who also received another chance at Texas Tech potentially throw it all away?  Unfortunately, that’s a question that Billy Gillispie needs to ask himself and one that a potential employer or future recruit want answered.  In hindsight, we can see that Billy wasn’t a good fit for Kentucky. And maybe, just maybe, Billy isn’t a fit for coaching. I wish Billy Clyde Gillispie nothing but the best and I truly hopes he gets his life back on track.