Billy Gillispie: Will He Succeed at Texas Tech?

06/02/2011 02:23 PM

It’s been over two years since the Billy G era of Kentucky Basketball, but with every story that emerges, it seems more and more like that whole period was all just a peculiar dream.

During the two seasons under Gillispie’s command, Kentucky Basketball was in a whirlwind. Literally. Injuries plagued his first season… along with an SEC Tournament that was interrupted by, of all things, a tornado. The second year wasn’t as eventful but ended in Kentucky receiving a 4-seed in the NIT, not the NCAA Tournament.

After Gillispie was let go by UK, things got even more interesting. People came out of the woodwork to tell their favorite Billy G drinking tale. Although most stories were blown WAY out of proportion, the reputation he had as a partier stuck with everyone. Unfortunately for Gillispie, all the negative stories gained some validity when he was hit with a DUI just months after he was fired.

Many wondered for a while if Coach G would ever coach again. Well, we obviously know the answer to that question now. He will be coaching closer to home at Texas Tech University. Talk about another surprise story from that era. Who would have guessed Derrick Jasper would be on Gillispie’s coaching staff? Go figure.

Anyway, with everything considered, I still firmly believe Coach Gillispie can accomplish something at Texas Tech, and it’s not just about being in Texas. It’s more than that. Here’s why.

After talking to several people who are around Gillispie on a regular basis, the consensus was that he had changed… for the better. He’s more laid back, even keel. He’s everything he wasn’t while in Lexington, and it makes perfect sense. Perhaps he has learned from his mistakes and understands where he went wrong in the past. Maybe he gets the fact that he was tough to deal with on and off the court. Those changes, combined with his work ethic and knowledge of the game, make for a winning combination.

Also, let’s not forget Gillispie is going to Texas Tech, a place where he can revamp a down program and simply succeed by making them relevant. That’s his specialty. He succeeded at both El Paso and Texas A&M in a very short time given similar circumstances. There is a reason his philosophy worked at those schools. For one, at a major school with a middle-of-the-road basketball program, he can get talented guys that need motivation and need to be pushed. Gillispie transforms underachievers. He has a knack for taking players with only a few chances left to make something of their career and getting them to perform.

Now don’t get me wrong, a National Championship is not in the near future, and I understand why things didn’t work out at Kentucky. However, Texas Tech is a totally different ballgame. He will be in his element there.


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