Hours before Louisville blew out Arizona in the NCAA Men’s Midwest Regional Semi-Final, the Herald-Leader’s Chip Cosby quizzed the high & mighty about the shock dismissal of Billy Gillespie at Kentucky. Why can’t someone deny Bobby Gillespie the right to earn a living instead?
“I was shocked that it fell apart this fast,” Forde said. “One minute they’re 16-4, 5-0 in the SEC and you’re thinking Sweet Sixteen. The next thing you know, they’re in the NIT and firing (Gillispie). It’s wild.”
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and President Lee Todd cited Gillispie’s inability to deal with the public, his players and the media as a large reason for his dismissal. Forde said it became clear that Gillispie didn’t fit the mold.
“There’s no doubt that the Kentucky job requires a unique person. Obviously Billy didn’t have the main characteristics it took to be successful. It’s a hard job, but they pay you a lot of money. He screwed up the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“It’s a shame,” former Wildcat Kenny Walker said. “If he would have been just a little bit better guy, a little easier guy to deal with, I think he would have deserved another year. But (public relations) is a big, big part of the job. You wonder how much that was discussed with him when he got the job. You also wonder about the background check (UK) did. It seems like there should have been some things that raised some red flags.”
But several in the national media felt like Gillispie got a raw deal.
“What Billy said at the SEC Tournament about all the things that weren’t in his job description, that was a misdiagnosis,” Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy said. “But to make a huge issue of how he picked apart an ESPN sideline reporter, that’s entirely ludicrous.”
“It’s a panic move,” Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples said. “I disagree with the whole ‘fit’ thing. I know that’s a major issue at Kentucky, but ‘fit’ is only an issue if you’re not winning games. Is Nick Saban a good fit at Alabama? Not necessarily, but he’s a good fit because he’s winning games.”