The official party line is that Billy Gillispie has submitted his letter of resignation to Kirby Hocutt, the Texas Tech athletic director, due to health reasons. Associate head coach Chris Walker will handle the “day-to-day operations” of the team until a decision on an interim head coach for the 2012-2013 has been made.
“Billy has decided to focus on his health and we wish him a full recovery,” Hocutt said. “We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy’s decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season.”
Frankly, his health problems weren’t the issue here and we all know it.
The issue was that there was a story published by CBSSports.com that detailing all of the problems surrounding his tenure with the Red Raiders. Players transferring en masse. People around the program jumping ship. Lies about job opportunities. Simply put: Billy Gillispie acted like jackwagon during his time in Lubbock, and it came back to bite him in the behind.
Does that mean that Gillispie is a bad person? If you listen to Bill Self, it doesn’t. We all have issues in our personal life, and it seems like Gillispie’s — at least at this point — have gotten the best of him. I’ll be honest: I feel for the man. He’s borderline-unhireable in his chosen profession. He’s lost his mother and his nephew in the last 20 months and he also lost a reported $2.3 million in a Ponzi Scheme. That’s enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure.
But it also doesn’t excuse his behavior at Texas Tech, or any of his previous coaching stops. He did what he did, he treated people the way he treated people, and he has to live with the repercussions. What’s left, however, is a man with his demons (Gillispie’s fondness for the bottle and his issues with drinking and driving are well-documented), plenty of time on his hands and a career that is in shambles. He has no wife to answer to and no children to care for.
It’s certainly not pleasant to watch a man hit rock bottom in his life, especially when you consider that many believed getting run out of Kentucky and the subsequent DUI a couple months later was rock bottom for Gillispie.
Texas Tech was his second — and final — chance.
And he blew it.
Hopefully, Gillispie’s able to find peace in his life. He needs to.
It just won’t be on a college sideline.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.