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A Louisville Fan's Guide to Billy Gillispie

If you're like me you probably didn't spend your Saturday morning fixedly digesting each word of the insanely excessive Billy Gillispie coverage in the Courier-Journal or Herald-Leader. You instead chose to skim the stories and peruse the internet for the most negative information on Plan B(illy) in order to obtain the best ammunition for heated discussions at the bar, dinner table or water cooler (I've only worked in two offices and both of them had water coolers so I'm assuming the expression is still relevant).

With this in mind, I've taken it upon myself to compile all of the best anti-Gillispie material out there into one post to be used at your discretion. Sure you may not have anything against this guy, and sure you realize that some of the points only tell half the story, but you use this because day in and day out you have to put up with the most annoying breed of human beings on the planet, and circumstances like that demand that you do whatever necessary to protect yourself.

Let's get on with it.

1. First and foremost...

Saying that the coach you just hired has been arrested twice on drunken-driving related charges since 1999 is one thing, but a picture like this speaks 378 stingingly hilarious words. Be sure to carry a wallet size with you at all times for appropriate use.

Ballsy move by Mitch Barnhart to take a guy with this sort of past considering all of the problems the basketball program has had with alcohol in recent memory, including but not limited to Eddie Sutton, Jules Camara, Saul Smith, Erik Daniels, Gerald Fitch and Desmond Allison.

2. Gillispie isn't exactly overly concerned with academics

On a recent episode of Bob Costas' HBO show Costas Now, former Texas A&M standout Antoine Wright dished about how Aggie basketball players were steered toward agricultural majors and classes, how he felt more academically challenged in high school, and how players were often given cheat sheets and copies of exams before taking tests.

You can check out the video at Bevo Sports.

When the Big 12 announced its All-Academic Teams for basketball a few weeks ago, Aggies Acie Law and Dominique Kirk were each named to the second team...both are Agricultural Leadership and Development majors.

3. Gillispie has never led a team past the third round of the NCAA Tournament

Sure he's been a part of two impressive turnarounds, and sure his meteoric rise from high school coach to head of one of the nation's premier programs is impressive, but it's almost mind-boggling that Kentucky fans, ordinarily an extremely proud bunch, could be so excited about a guy who has in actuality achieved so little.

Head Coaching History:

UTEP '02-'03: 6-24 (No NCAA Tournament)
UTEP '03-'04: 24-8 (NCAA Tournament First Round)
Texas A&M '04-'05: 21-10 (No NCAA Tournament)
Texas A&M '05-'06: 22-9 (NCAA Tournament Second Round)
Texas A&M '06-'07: 27-7 (NCAA Tournament Sweet 16)

UK was spurned by a guy who has won two national championships (Billy Donovan), passed on a guy who has won one national championship (Tom Izzo), and another who has been to a Final Four (Tom Crean), and then had three other guys who have been to a Final Four (Rick Barnes, John Calipari and Rick Pitino) say they were staying put when asked about the Kentucky opening. Enter Billy Gillispie.

Which leads us to...

4. Billy Gillispie was nothing more than an afterthought for 14 of the 15 days in the Kentucky coaching search

For the last few days, the hot phrase getting around Big Blue Nation faster than an only daughter in an Appalachian trailer park has been that while Billy Donovan was clearly choice 1, Billy Gillispie was choice 1A.

This is the biggest bunch of bullshit I've heard in my entire life, and I once had Minkus from Boy Meets World tell me that he drilled Topanga.

For two weeks when you asked a Kentucky fan who they wanted to go after if they didn't get Donovan, the responses fell in the "God forbid" and "cross that bridge when we get there" area. You can count the number of UK fans who said publicly that Gillispie was their man before April 6 on your respective main reproductive organ and you'd still be a notch on the high side.

If local sports radio and internet message boards and blogs are at all representative of the Kentucky fan base, then Bruce Pearl, John Calipari, Jay Wright and Rick Pitino were all more popular backup plans than Billy Clyde Gillispie. It wasn't until after Donovan broke the hearts of Billy Bobs throughout the Commonwealth and all but one of the above mentioned names made it clear they weren't interested that Gillispie emerged as the favorite to play savior.

For two weeks it was Donovan and everyone else, and then for five hours it was Barnes, Gillispie and everyone else, and then for seven hours it was Gillispie and everyone else.

"Choice 1A" my ass.

5. Gillispie has never landed a big time recruit

It's not hard to spot the irony in a fan base that lambasted its previous coach for the better part of ten years for his recruiting performance being giddy over a replacement who has never landed a top notch recruit.

Now not getting All-Americans at UTEP is understandable, but at Texas A&M Gillispie inherited, not recruited, the aforementioned Wright, All-American Acie Law, and the third leading scorer on this year's team Antanas Kavaliauskas. He's had some nice classes in recent years, but hasn't landed anyone your average UK fan has ever heard of.

6. He's from Texas

JFK shooting, backing of the confederacy, Lyndon Johnson, Enron, Tom Delay, Bush 43, Billy Gillispie.

7. His last name is hard to spell

This means UK fans will be even more embarrassed when main stream media pulls outrageously furious and inarticulate quotes from the Cats Pause after Gillispie loses to Ole Miss in 2010.

8. Jim Rome isn't thrilled with him

On Friday afternoon the stoic goateed ESPN voice said the following:

Face it UK fan, the Kentucky program is not what it once was. Donovan and Barnes turned you down, and you got your third choice. You chose a guy that has no championship, no final four, no elite eight appearance, and has only coached for five years.


Welcome to Kentucky Billy, your happiest day in blue may already be behind you.