Kentucky supporters back program, mum on Gillispie

While Kentucky officials have done little to silence the rampant speculation about Billy Gillispie’s future, alumni and close associates of the Wildcats program say the coach must change some things before he is brought back next year.

Former Kentucky star Kenny Walker has been critical of how Gillispie has handled himself in the media and in other roles as the university’s basketball ambassador. Walker said he isn’t rooting for him to be fired but is hopeful there can be changes for the good of the program.

“I’m always going to support him as long as he’s the coach at the University of Kentucky, but what I do hope happens is after the season, we can figure out what went wrong,” Walker said before Kentucky’s NIT victory Tuesday against UNLV. “If coach can admit that, ’maybe I could have done some things better,’ and air those concerns to the fans and administration, I’ll be all for that.

“But if he’s not going to change and the same things are going to continue to happen, then obviously (athletic director) Mitch Barnhart has got a tough decision to make.”

After a disappointing season in which Kentucky failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991, Gillispie’s job could be in danger after just two seasons.

Adolph Rupp Jr., son of the legendary Kentucky coach, said he also has been disappointed this year — both by the product on the court and occasionally how Gillispie has handled himself off it.

“Certain things are expected of a UK coach,” Rupp said. “It goes with the position. When people around the world speak of a coach, there’s certain expectations for that person. Apparently that hasn’t happened so far.”

Winning, even if not a cure for every problem, can provide excellent medicine. And Tuesday Kentucky’s players turned in one of their most impressive showings of the season. The Wildcats play at Creighton in second round Monday.

University president Lee Todd declined to talk about Gillispie’s situation.

“We always evaluate at the end of the year,” Todd said. “That’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall said he has no doubt that the program will bounce back, but he did not say whether he thinks Gillispie will be — or should be — the man to lead them back.

“I don’t know his situation,” Hall said. “I’m not privy to what all is going on with his contract. Don’t want to know.”

Hall does know fans are upset with the results, but he doesn’t think the mediocrity at UK will last. The Wildcats’ program will soon re-emerge as a national power, he said.

“Kentucky basketball, thank goodness, has a great foundation,” Hall said. “It’s not going to crumble. It’s going to come back, and it won’t take long.”

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Comments » 29

smitbo7 writes:

Fired or staying let's move on...

givehim6 writes:

In a way this is funny because I remember years ago I got to go to a UT-UK football game, I think Manning was QB. And we kicked UK's but like 52-7 or something like that, but UK left the field saying "wait till basketball season. Well now UK's football is there best game [even though were still kicking there butt]. And fans want to fire there BB coach

HtownVol writes:

Who cares?? Does this story really need to be on here?

smokyredbone writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Who cares?? Does this story really need to be on here?

no it does not!!!!Although I do love to see Kentucky struggle!!!

GhostofRobertNeyland writes:

in response to smitbo7:

Fired or staying let's move on...

The recent lack of respect shown the SEC this year should have all Vols fans hoping UK improves. I don't like them, but I do repect their tradition. GO VOLS!!!

murrayvol writes:

Gillespie's a good coach and he'll be successful wherever he winds up. He's simply not a good fit at Kentucky.

It may end this year or next or soon after that but he will be gone. I'd be shocked if his agent isn't shopping him around as we speak.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Gillespie's a good coach and he'll be successful wherever he winds up. He's simply not a good fit at Kentucky.

It may end this year or next or soon after that but he will be gone. I'd be shocked if his agent isn't shopping him around as we speak.

All Billy G needs now is - "the vote of confidence".

jhayes1911 writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh yeah they are complaining now. Tubby had a nice team this year and made the tourney even though they lost. They at least made the dance...They definitely ran a good coach off...

brokebackvol writes:

Some of you "homers" that complain about articles like this on the site need to look at the larger, conference picture.

Whatever happens to LSU, UK, UF, etc impacts UT. While I am enjoying the high and mighty Wildcats struggle, in the long run it benefits the conference for ALL the teams to do well.

It's also good sportsmanship, but nobody seems to care about that much these days.

newtonrail writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

Some of you "homers" that complain about articles like this on the site need to look at the larger, conference picture.

Whatever happens to LSU, UK, UF, etc impacts UT. While I am enjoying the high and mighty Wildcats struggle, in the long run it benefits the conference for ALL the teams to do well.

It's also good sportsmanship, but nobody seems to care about that much these days.

I agree. Articles, particularly about our Eastern Division brethren are of interest to me. Those that make comments on excluding anything but exactly what they want to hear about Vols are very shallow.

chrisw2967 writes:

If they fire silly billy does that mean the 7th & 8th graders lose their scholarship?

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Who cares?? Does this story really need to be on here?

i'm for the rights of women and for rights of the unborn, I'm for the troops but against the war, I'm for the country, but against Obama putting us into the rice fields,, I'm for Kentucky losing and for the coach to go packing. Kentucky's for the coach to change, and for the big blue to start winning. They should have just shut up when they had Tubby and loved Jesus more!!@

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

All Billy G needs now is - "the vote of confidence".

Ah yes, the dreaded "vote of confidence".

He's already heard "We always evaluate at the end of the year".

murrayvol writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

Some of you "homers" that complain about articles like this on the site need to look at the larger, conference picture.

Whatever happens to LSU, UK, UF, etc impacts UT. While I am enjoying the high and mighty Wildcats struggle, in the long run it benefits the conference for ALL the teams to do well.

It's also good sportsmanship, but nobody seems to care about that much these days.

Just as SEC football needs Tennessee to compete at a high level, UK needs to be strong in roundball. If they're not good, the entire conference suffers.

smokyredbone writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

If they fire silly billy does that mean the 7th & 8th graders lose their scholarship?

Pediphile?

hilltopper writes:

as bad as UK is they still swept UT Kind of hard to enjoy their misery when they still make me miserable I hope they keep Gillispie so he can make some more people and players mad He is the Jerry Green of UK Why does anyone get upset about a story being on this website? We ought to want to keep up with the enemy That is part of following sports I despise Bama and anything I can hear on them that signals trouble is welcome news

westennvol writes:

I know what the "certain expectations of a UK coach are." It's no secrect Gillespe is an alcoholic who has had so many DUI's that he has no driver's license. Additionally, he hits on 20 something age college girls at the bars. This is from my uncles who are UK fans and KY residents. Add losing to boot, and you have a recipe for firing....

Volunatic writes:

I wouldn't miss him. He's 3-1 against the Vols.

Volunatic writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

Some of you "homers" that complain about articles like this on the site need to look at the larger, conference picture.

Whatever happens to LSU, UK, UF, etc impacts UT. While I am enjoying the high and mighty Wildcats struggle, in the long run it benefits the conference for ALL the teams to do well.

It's also good sportsmanship, but nobody seems to care about that much these days.

Why does your posting moniker conjure up bad memories of the Wyoming game last fall?

huntined#565710 writes:

CATSCRATCH!! what is your take on your coach and do you think he will be back?

TommyJack writes:

Billy G. would be a better fit on the left coast.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Who cares?? Does this story really need to be on here?

I agree, it doesn't need to be on this site, but sitting here in Lexington, it does make for a great read, while dressed in my BIG ORANGE shirt!

Carlitovol writes:

Zalweed98 - I want to hear your take on this deal! c'mon! Go Vols! In Bruce We Trust!

murrayvol writes:

Catscratch,

Billy has a $6 million buyout with an unsigned contract? Interesting.

FWIW the Big Blue split may be 50/50 now but another double digit loss season will tighten Barnhart's sphincter considerably.

ZALWEED writes:

Gillespie must go! I want to get Calipari in here....that should make the series even better! Go Cats!

ZALWEED writes:

Scratch that last comment...according to Calipari's agent, it would take $4-5 million to get him to move and UK is not likely to go that high. Wright (Villanova) and Dixon (Pitt) are supposedly high on the list.

What of it Carlito?

OwensboroVol writes:

Living in Kentucky, as I have for 16 years now, I know how much pride a Kentucky person puts in the UK Basketball Program. It is every little boy's dream to grow up and play College ball for UK. That said, I don't believe that they have given Gillespie the time or opportunity to build a National Championship type program. The meat of his program is still hold overs from the Tubby Smith era. In a way it tickles me because they couldn't wait to get rid of Tubby (who was very successful) and now see the results. Bottom line, they must be careful in handling this as Gillespie was considered top notch when they hired him and to relieve him without giving him an ample opportunity could cost them in attracting new coaches. One thing I'm not sure of is there have been rumors of alcohol problems.

ZALWEED writes:

I can agree with the fact Gillespie probably deserves more time, however, using the 'Tubby's player' angle is ridiculous. He has recruited Galloway (a juco) that hardly played this year, Liggins has refused to come into a game, and his other recruits barely got any playing time. He has two of the top five players in the SEC and couldn't even get into the tourney. He has more or less said he is there to coach basketball and not represent the University (the exact opposite statement of the AD the very same day) which has been obvious through several incidents this year with the media. I am all for UK's success, but Barnhart and Gillespie better get on the same page after this season is over.

Huttdawg100 writes:

There are rumors about Memphis' Coach Cal having secret meetings with Kentucky Booters to discuss buy-out options. I doubt if the rumors are true, but that would be a great fit for Cal. He would be in a better, more respectable conference, but he would still have an easier path to a conference championship. Plus, UK would be one of the only schools that would buy out Cal's contract with Memphis. I don't know, but I think Memphis fans should be worried.

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