Crazy day in Lex today as we all saw Billy Gillispie (literally) run out of town as Univ. of Kentucky basketball coach. While Gillispie wasn’t exactly extended a realistic opportunity to get his program in place, I don’t think anyone was shocked at the move today.
(BCG run out on a rail)
Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart made clear at the firing presser this afternoon that Gillispie’s won-loss record wasn’t the reason he was fired. Instead, Barnhart indicated that the coach’s “chemistry” wasn’t congruent with Kentucky’s basketball tradition.
So just what exactly does that mean? If you read SbB last month, you know what Barnhart was talking about.
From my Feb. 16 SbB post:
A source recently told me that Gillispie made a past, amorous advance at (ESPN reporter Jeannine) Edwards which was subsequently denied by the ESPN reporter. I have no more details than that. But again, I have confirmed that Gillispie did make clear to Edwards that he was interested in spending some quality time with her away from the court. And she shut him down.
That news came on the heels of Gillispie acting rude to Edwards on two different occasions during live ESPN basketball telecasts. Go here to see the video of the interviews.
Following those incidents I heard that Gillispie subsequently gave ESPN all access to the UK program, in an effort to mend fences. But the damage was done. That is, ironically, with Gillispie’s already strained relationship with the UK Athletic Dept.
A source tells me that SbB’s report of Gillispie’s treatment of Edwards was indeed one of the factors in the coach’s firing.
We all know that if Gillispie had won more, he would’ve kept his job. But when you don’t win enough at UK, you expose yourself to increased off-court scrutiny. That’s apparently what did Billy G. in.