Billy Gillispie Biography
Billy Gillispie was fired by UK on March 27, 2009, after having suffered a disappointing career at Kentucky. Kentucky's new basketball coach is John Calipari.
When Billy Gillispie was hired by the University of Kentucky to become the next head coach of their men's basketball team, there was a sense of anticipation in Lexington. This anticipation was bred in the knowledge that they were hiring a coach with a proven track record of making teams better, and while Kentucky still had a strong basketball program, it had taken a step back from the level that it is accustomed to playing at. So, Wildcat country was full of hope that Gillispie would be the man to bring the program back.
Gillispie's first season as head coach came in the 2007-2008 season. Over the course of that season, Kentucky experienced somewhat of a transitional period, amassing a solid 18-13 record and an exceptional 12-4 Southeastern Conference record, but at the same time, bowing out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which was a disappointing showing for this first year UK head coach.
Prior to his arrival in the Bluegrass State, Gillispie served as the head coach for three seasons at Texas A&M, where he led that team to rarely before seen successes on the basketball court. In his first season at the helm of the Texas A&M basketball program, Gillispie led the team to a 21-10 overall record and an 8-8 record in the Big 12. That season ended with a trip to the NIT postseason tournament, where the team managed a run to the quarterfinals.
Gillispie rapidly elevated the Texas A&M basketball program in his second season as head coach.
In his second season, the 2005-2006 season, Gillispie led the team to a 22-9 record overall, and most importantly, began establishing the team as a power in the Big 12, improving the team's conference record to 10-6. That season also featured postseason action, this time an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where the team made it into the 2nd round. However, it was in season three, the 2006-2007 season that Gillespie's A&M team began to make real strides. The team finished that season, his final at Texas A&M, with a record of 27-7, and with a Big 12 conference record of 13-3. The team performed well in its NCAA Tournament run that season, making it to the Sweet Sixteen.
Prior to serving as the head coach at Texas A&M, Gillispie served as head coach at the University of Texas- El Paso (UTEP), which is where Gillispie garnered his first collegiate head coaching experience. Gillispie is widely heralded for one of the more remarkable single season turnarounds in recent history while at UTEP. During Gillispie's first season, UTEP struggled to a 6-24 record overall, and a 3-15 WAC Conference record. But in season two, Gillispie guided UTEP to a 24-8 record overall, and a 13-5 record within the WAC. That resulted in a conference co-championship, and an NCAA Tournament invite, and also piqued the attention of Texas A&M.
In addition to his head coaching experience, Gillispie also spent a number of seasons as an assistant at the University of Illinois, Tulsa, and Baylor.
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