Kentucky Will Have an Elephant in the Arena Saturday Against Texas A&M, Billy Gillispie

By Jon Hancock
Billy Gillispie
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We all have those people in our lives that we would rather not see again, for many Kentucky Wildcat fans former coach Billy Gillispie is that person. Unfortunately for Big Blue Nation, they will get to see their Mr. Gillispie Saturday when Kentucky takes on the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, TX.

Aggies’ coach, Billy Kennedy, invited Gillispie, who happens to be in College Station playing golf on Friday. I am not sure if Kennedy invited Gillispie as a distraction for the Wildcats, but it is a smart move. The players wont mind too much, but the fans in the stands wearing blue sure will.

Kentucky lost to Texas A&M last month in Rupp Arena and could use another big road win to help build a good resume before March.

Gillispie was the head coach at Texas A&M before coming to the University of Kentucky in 2007. After failing to make the NCAA tournament in 2009, Gillispie’s time at Kentucky was over.

Kentucky’s athletic director, Mitch Barnhart, told ESPN of why Gillispie was let go, “There is a clear gap in how the rules and responsibilities overseeing the program are viewed. It is a gap I do not believe can be solved by just winning games.”

Gillispie then sued the University of Kentucky for $6 million for breach of contract and fraud. The university then countersued their former coach. The dispute was later settled, but UK and its fans left with a bad taste of Gillispie in their mouths.

Texas Tech later picked Gillispie to be their coach in 2011, in a very short time players began to allege their coach was over practicing them and forcing them to practice even with injuries. He later left resigned at Texas Tech for health reasons.

Even after all these years Kentucky fans still have strong opinions on Gillispie, even some of the former players seem to not enjoy him very much. Former Kentucky big man Perry Stevenson said Thursday via Twitter, “Hey #BBN going to the A&M game.. Bring a sack of tomatoes. You’ll know ur target when u see him lol. ”

Hopefully Billy Gillispie bring a helmet to the game Saturday.

So will Gillispie’s appearance be a distraction, probably not, but it will make for an interesting atmosphere.

Tip-off for the game will be 6pm (EST) on ESPN.


Follow Jon Hancock on Twitter: @JonKYSportsco.

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