The last time we saw Billy Gillispie on a court he was being run out of Kentucky. Since then he's had his fair share of trouble, but now he's apparently turned his life around. He sounded very contrite in his last meeting with the media.
Let's remember Gillispie can coach. He's coached in Conference USA, the Big 12 and the SEC. He won at UTEP and Texas A&M. He's renowned for his recruiting desire and his intense practices.
He could probably turn DePaul around, or at least he'd certainly out work everyone. And now CBS2Chicago's Mike North is reporting that he's a candidate for the job.
One of the reasons - Gillispie would be a big name hire and a little name price. He wants to get back into coaching and prove that his time with the Wildcats - which was an unmitigated disaster - was a fluke and he's apparently willing to sacrifice some cash to immediately coach again at the high-major level. From the CBS2Chicago report:
But North points out other coaches have had similar legal problems, and
more importantly, "DePaul can get this guy dirt cheap... because he's
looking to get back into the game."
Let's dig a little deeper into the Gillespie file.
Name: Billy Clyde Gillispie
Coaching Stops: UTEP, Texas A&M, Kentucky
Career Record: 140-85 (4 NCAA appearances, 2 NIT appearances in 7 seasons)
Why He's Available: Run out on a rail by a vocal Kentucky faithful. His subsequent DUI arrest on August 27, 2009 scared teams off and forced him to wait longer than a talented coach should. He had two prior DUI arrests, so any hiring school would have to know that this is something he really has worked on. Gillispie did enter an alcohol rehabilitation program in September of 2009.
The track record is there. Gillispie can coach. He'd come at a reasonable price and he'd bring a big name to the DePaul program. I don't think he's the type of name that would get boosters or students excited. Gillispie's teams have never played pretty basketball. The Aggies won when he was their head coach because of their outstanding defense. Texas A&M ranked 10th and 8th in the country his two NCAA Tournament seasons in defensive efficiency. Even as Kentucky "struggled" the Wildcats ranked 34th and 44th under Gillispie in defensive efficiency.
He also comes with a lot of baggage. But as I'm quickly finding out. The people that are going to be available for DePaul to hire are going to come with baggage. If Jean Lenti Ponsetto and the rest of the athletic department think that Gillispie truly is a changed man then this is a hire that might make sense. He'd make up for his lack of Chicago connections (though he was an Illinois assistant for two seasons) with an intense drive for national recruiting.
Is Gillispie the perfect hire? No. Is he someone worth considering? Certainly.