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Report: Ugly details of Billy Gillispie’s mistreatment of Tech players

Sep 4, 2012, 11:05 PM EDT

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The news broke on Friday.

Billy Gillispie, the man who was the hottest coach in the country back in 2007 when he was hired by Kentucky, was on the verge of losing his job after his players at Texas Tech had accused him of mistreatment.

The accusations at that point were pretty vague. Officials at Tech were looking into “concerns within the leadership of our men’s basketball program” that may have involved “the number of hours they were being asked to practice.”

Gillispie was coming off of a season where his team went 8-23 and just 1-17 in Big 12 play. He had seen more than half of his roster leave in each of the last two offseasons. We knew things were bad there, but it wasn’t until Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com really got to digging that we learned just how bad it was.

Since Gillispie took over the program 18 months ago, 15 players have transferred out of the program. That includes Wannah Bail, who was the (now aptly named) crown jewel of Gillispie’s 2012 recruiting class. Those players make up less than half the number of people associated with the program that have left during Gillispie’s tenure, more than 30 people including secretaries, academic advisors, assistant coaches, and student managers. He’s blatantly lied to numerous people about job openings on his staff, even allowing some to quit their jobs before telling them that the position he had offered was no longer available. He left players in scholarship limbo, including two Canadians that were told that if they used the $1,000 airplane tickets that they bought to go home they wouldn’t be allowed back on the team.

He’s a (insert word that’s not acceptable on College Basketball Talk). We know this.

But what makes him a truly despicable person is this passage. From CBSSports.com:

“We used to go more than four hours all the time,” added Jaron Nash, who transferred to North Dakota after last season. “I remember that day when we went almost all day. We didn’t leave until 9 p.m. or so. It was pretty bad. A lot of guys were really hurt after it. One guy had a stress fracture in both legs.”

One source identified that player as African native Kader Tapsoba, who did not play last season while dealing with multiple stress fractures.

“He was literally crying at practice,” said the source, who was with the program last season. “He couldn’t even run and Gillispie had him running up and down the steps at the arena. I remember the doctor getting the X-rays back and coming to practice and telling Gillispie it was really bad. He’d just ice him up and tell him to go practice.”

“He shouldn’t have been practicing,” he added. “But he bullied everyone, including the trainer. He’d make the trainer make kids come back. Bodies were dropping like flies. One day I walked in and the whole team was in the training room. All the players and even the managers. He’d make them practice.”

The team’s star player, Jordan Tolbert, cut his hand on the rim one day last year in practice and suffered a four-inch gash across his fingers. The next day, according to one source, Gillispie had the trainer bandage his hand and then instructed Tolbert to dunk the ball every time he caught it.

There really are no words to say here.

Calling that kind of behavior unacceptable would be the understatement of the year. Gillispie is a complete (insert word that’s not acceptable on College Basketball Talk), but what makes matters even worse is that he won’t even stand to face the music. He’s hiding out in a hospital, claiming that he had a “stroke or a heart attack”.

I don’t see anyway that Gillispie can come back from this given his track record, which includes well-documented issues with drinking and driving, plenty of incidents that have come to light regarding his time at Kentucky and one not-so-flattering rumor regarding a night in a bar with ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards.

How can Texas Tech keep him as a head coach? How can any other school hire him?

It’s incredible, really. Five years ago, Gillispie was the nation’s premiere, can’t-miss coaching prospect. Now he’s the drunk that once made a player practice for so long that he got stress fractures in both legs.

I’d never send my kid to play for him.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. cuffhimbanano - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Wow. Whatever happened to just force feeding your players Pop Tarts?

  2. raider2124 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    He tried to toughen up s bad team. If they played better he wouldn’t run them a’s hard in practice. Sounds like a lot of babies to me. A four hour practice, tell these guys to join the military if they think they have it so tough. I can’t believe these players can be bigger babies and they couldn’t be any softer. Gillespie wanted to get the quitters of his team. Looks like he had a lot if them, that’s why they stunk do bad

    • steelerdynasty2010 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      i’ll take the bait. you’re an idiot!

      • lonewolfe1946 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Make that two votes for idiot

    • mattryannolan - Sep 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      It’s ok you can just make an idiotic statement and not address the fact that he made a man with stress fractures in both legs practice through it. So go ahead and defend him some more…

      Bait taken.

  3. seanb20124 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    What a NOB

  4. bcjim - Sep 5, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Yeesh. Sounds ugly and I really hope raider2124 is trolling and not that much of a moron.

  5. honeyboywilson - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    The blame belongs on the people at Texas Tech that hired this guy. After Kentucky, his actions were an open book. Only a fool would hire this lunatic. For this kind of thing to stop, someone in addition to Gillispie must be held responsible and fired.

  6. florida727 - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Gillispie is a complete (insert word that’s not acceptable on College Basketball Talk)…

    I’d say “Richard (Dick) Cranium (head)”. Is that acceptable, Rob?

    If these “allegations” prove true, he’s done as a coach. Period. No way anyone offers this guy a job ever again. Man, I bet Kentucky is glad they dumped his @$$.

  7. imforbigblue - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I was so happy UK dumped that loser worst coach in UK history

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Even worse than Eddie Sutton?

  8. fnc111 - Sep 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I agree with raider2124. I just hope raider2124 is at tryouts next month because he is a tough man I bet. Im excited to cover this program this year because it will be fun to watch such an elite baller like raider2124 running up and down the court with stress fractures in both legs. Who doesn’t wanna see the toughest baller in the nation play?

  9. fanz928 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Too much practice they suck because they ran shit plays and players were never good. Coach is a asshole who the he’ll practice that long you have a fucking whole season to play

  10. cranespy - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Wow…..and I thought the current UK coach was an ass.

  11. secalum3 - Sep 6, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    What a wimp! Gillespie can’t show up for work because of a heart attack or stroke? Proof that he isn’t half the man his (former) players are.

    What is it with Tech and their odd ball coaches?

  12. raider2124 - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    This country has turned soft. And the posters are bigger idiots. Wah,wah,wah. Bunch of applied babies on this team. Players who think thryxsre better then they are, they were given an opportunity and failed. They suck and are not div 1 ball players. Basketball players are soft, they cry over touch fouls, I don’t hear anyone complaint about Larry Ozzie tough practices, because they win. Lawrence Taylor and jack Youngblood played games on broken ankles. Hockey players get teeth knocked out and are back in the ice the following period. Basketball players get a hang nail and are out a month.

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