Sunday, March 29, 2009

Billy Gillispie: The Aftermath

While listening to Mitch Barnhart and Lee Todd announce the firing of Billy Gillispie Friday, one statement in particular stood out to me.

A reporter asked the UK Athletics Director if he regretted hiring Gillispie in the first place and Barnhart said no. Say what?

You just fired a man less than two years after offering him the job, but yet you don't regret that decision? Then why are you even firing him?

I'm sure Barnhart was trying to be respectful, but come on! Be honest to the UK fans. That's the least they deserve.

Don't Let The Door Hit You

I read in Sunday's Lexington Herald-Leader about the UK assistant coaches only having 3 hours after Gillispie's firing to clean out their offices.

If you think that's bad, check this out. While Gillispie was packing up his things, he tried to use his swipe card to get back into the Craft Center only to find out that it had been turned off. As you might expect, the former UK coach was a bit peeved. So he went to fire off an e-mail to share his displeasure, but that too had been deactivated.

The Right Kind Of Games

I did not make it to Lexington in time to see or hear any of Billy Gillispie's news conference live. But having read several accounts of the event, it seems as though Gillispie stuck to his guns all the way out the door.

He reiterated that coaching and recruiting are far more important than being a celebrity. I agree with that belief. However, when the first two job requirements fall short of expectations, the third becomes even more important.

I do have one contention with something Gillispie said Saturday. He said he thought he and his staff did a great job during their brief tenure at UK, but they simply didn't win "the right kind of games."

The right KIND of games? What the hell is that?

Did he mean games against Gardner-Webb and VMI?

Did he mean SEC regular season games against Ole Miss and Georgia?

Or did he mean NCAA Tournament games?

Oh wait, my bad. You have to make the NCAA Tournament to win those games.

The Joe Craft Center

Saturday afternoon, I got my first glimpse of the Joe Craft Center. With a $30 million price tag, I fully expected it to be quite the spectacle. I was not disappointed.

Kentucky's basketball practice facility is on par with those of most NBA teams. From the weight room and practice court to the locker room and players' lounge, UK's players have absolutely everything at their disposal.

However, with such access comes the lack of excuses. There is no reason, whatsoever, for the UK program to be this average.

Regardless of who the next coach is, the players need to step up to the level of their facilities. The Craft Center is championship caliber, and those who use it should be as well.


Joshua said...

I really like your writing style. Good stuff

Anonymous said...

Gillispie's key access was not turnoffed immediatley if you watch the video of the local reporter chasing him. Gillispie accessed the Craft Center from the side which required access via the electronic key. Also, it is the norm to ask those that have been dismissed to leave the premises immediatley so that property, materials, and documentation that belong to UK are not removed or taken. This happened with the previous staff when Tubby left. Also, the email from a UK administrator was fabricated and that situation did not occur. Gillipsie traveled back with the team after the game. Mitch drove seperate and Dr. Todd flew in and out on his own.

dualsub2006 said...

You know he regretted the hiring and saying that he didn't was a lie. I really like your style and your honesty.

Logan said...

Good post. It has been wild around here. Imagine what Calipari can do with the facilities here!

Anonymous said...

I have been enjoying your blog for awhile now. For those out there who might get on you for posting what you hear from credible sources all I can say is they are haters. UK fans are selfish and can hate when it comes to dispair within their program. The thing I can't come to grips with is how true UK fans continue to let Barnhart drop the ball. It was HE and TODD (tell me another president of a university who oversees the athletic department as much as he does) who hired Billy G and fired Billy G. Both of those two lack personality and recruiting skills which make the "home run" choice on this hire VERY doubtful. For those of you out there who think Billy Donovan does whatever Coach P tells him, YOU ARE CRAZY. Billy D might bounce things off of Coach P but he has definitely made a name for himself and will make his own choice when it comes to his future. When's the last time you would think that the head coach of Florida Basketball would turn down the UK job.....TWICE! This is real Wildcat Fans. So wake up a little and realize that your boy Barnhart is the one dropping the ball!

Anonymous said...

I think turning off his card was a little strong even if that is HR procedure. Mitch has to share the blame on this some too. The homework on getting Billy in the first place was obviously not done.

In the end though, I think we will find out that the players just did not like him.

Anonymous said...

I may be crazy or just under the influence of wishful thinking but here's my take anyway. After Pitinos loss today I thought there's no way he would come back to U.K. Why would he want to build this team from scratch when he has a team for contention next season. But after thinking about it for awhile I was able to convince myself otherwise. First off, if Barnhart screws this one up he could very well be the one giving a press conference the day after his termination. The only coach I can think of who could put an end to all this disgruntlement is Pitino. He's still revered and loved by most of the big blue nation. He's a sure thing for Barnhart so he would be foolish to not even talk to the man. As for Pitino, he left Kentucky reluctantly to take over coach of Boston. And why wouldn't he be reluctant? He was King. Shortly after leaving for Boston he realized it was a big mistake. After his failure at Boston (he hates failure), he opted to come back as close to Lexington as possible. A place where he could wash the bad taste out of his mouth. A place where he still felt like a winner and a king. When Tubby left he had too much class to even consider the job at that point. After all, he recommended Tubby for the job in the first place. Now is his first chance to get it all back. I don't think he wants Tom Izzo here to possibly steal some of his thunder that still reverberates in these Kentucky hills. Of course he's getting older. I guess it's possible that these things may not mean as much to him now but I'm guessing they do.

resips said...

First, I'd like to reiterate the last post and thank you for the well written material. Not sure if your "source" a few posts back was correct or not, but given Barnhart's comment that the decision was "crystallized last week" (I believe I got that right) adds credence to the information. Unfortunately, I've also heard that the job was offered a week ago Friday and to a person who would never say no. He currently resides at Oklahoma State. I'm not excited about a coach who's made two trips to the NCAA's, with one victory to show for it. If that's the "homerun" that Mitch (I hear it's not Mitch, but Todd running the show on this)is trying to hit, I'm afraid it's a big strike out.

As for the wishful thinking of Calipari, unless you hear that Sandy Bell has been fired as UK's compliance coordinator, I wouldn't put to much credence in that rumor or hold your breath. I don't think he'd share the same state, let alone University with her.

Hopefully the wondering can end soon. Keep up the good writing and thanks for the breath of fresh air.

radicalfaith said...

I've just discovered your blog and find it very refreshing. As others have noted, your writing and insights are superb.

Anonymous said...

I have been a lifelong UK fan 40plus years and I don't think we are rotten, unsouled, win at all cost beings. Yes, we expect our boys to play and play hard and win! What kind of fan does not want their team to win? Yes, we are in a slump and need a new coach but Coach Billy G. did not do his job. I am a nurse and if I did not do my job I would be let go long before 2 years had past. Coach Smith left after a good run of ten years. In todays basketball 10 years is a long time. Both coaches left with many many admirers in the Bluegrass. If you are or have been the Best it is hard to accept anything less. Just ask Fla. football fans, USC football fans, UNC basketball, Kansas b-ball fans, do I have to go on? It is a shame that Coach Donavan, after winning 2 NC2A Championships, can not fill his home arena! Those fans need a good talking to! So don't think UK fans are any different from other fans, we are use to the best and expect the best. So good luck to all teams out there and to all the fans.

Anonymous said...


I enjoy this blog of yours. I know you mentioned a while back that Pres Todd would never hire Calipari. Well it looks like it might happen. Now, to defend your statement I have to agree that I thought the same. I truly believe that Todd and Barnhart are forced to go after Calipari because he is the only credible coach left that is willing to take the job. Izzo, Write and Barnes have said they are not interested. This should be a little reality check for Big Blue Nation. UK is not what is was 11 years ago or in the 70's!!! So IF and only IF UK does get Cal or another credible coach UK fans need to not automatically treat him like Elvis!! YOu did that to Billy G when he got here and all it did was allow him to think he could live the life of Eddie Murphy in the movie "Boomerang." So UK Fans, please realize that this is not "Camelot" as the Coach you love to hate called it years ago. This is Kentucky Basketball which is RICH in tradition but has seemed to get poor in the current stock market of Barnhart and Todd