Lubbock, Texas, worked out well as the home for one name-brand college coach before after a disgraceful exit elsewhere. Just one season in at Texas Tech on a five-year contract, Billy Gillispie isn’t enjoying the kind of rebound Bobby Knight felt with the Red Raiders. Reports from both ESPN and CBS have said multiple team members met with the school’s athletic director to discuss their unhappiness with Gillispie, the former (short-lived) Kentucky coach, because of poor treatment. The players initially were called in to confirm how long they were practicing, but the issues go deeper than that.
Players told CBS’ Jeff Goodman they once practiced eight hours on a Saturday (the NCAA allows 20 hours in a week, four per day), for example. Another example from CBS, whose named sources are two transfers, is how Gillispie allegedly treated injured players.
“If you were hurt, he told you that you had to stay in the training room all day — from 6 or 7 in the morning until 10 at night,” Wagner said. “Stay in there and get treatment over and over and over. We couldn’t leave. My mom had to come and bring me food.”
ESPN points out he’s been trailed by complaints since Kentucky, where he was fired with five years left on his contract. That speaks alone to an incredibly high level of dissatisfaction. Calling it a mutiny seems a bit of a stretch, with reports saying the players never explicitly demanded Gillispie fired. Still, the meeting and the subsequent leaks about it certainly suggest a different way of going about it. One Tech player, to ESPN:
The player said that Gillispie is a “good coach, teacher and mentor, but he’s not the most personable person, not the coach you can go and talk to. He breaks you down. But he doesn’t build you back up. It’s hard to play for him when that happens every day. You feel like you’re getting torn down and you can’t get back up.”
Tech was notified Friday, too, that Gillispie was admitted to a hospital today for an unknown reason. With six players having transferred already from his 8-23 team last year, and the possibility more could follow after this airing of concerns, Gillispie could need quick healing professionally, too.
Is Gillispie in trouble at Tech?
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