Gillispie back in Division I close to home at Tarleton State

02 Avril, 2020, 05:23 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie celebrates with fans after defeating Oklahoma in an NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock Texas. Gillispie was named head coach at Tarleton State taking over a program making the transition

"Coach Gillispie has shown to truly be genuine in the way he cares about helping student-athletes achieve great success both on and off the court", school president James Hurley said.

Former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie is the new head coach at Division I-bound Tarleton State, the school announced Monday.

Gillispie has been coaching since the early 1980s, with stops at the high school, junior college and Division I level.

In his only season at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders won only one Big 12 game in 2011-12.

Tarleton State is in Stephenville, Texas, about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

But Tarleton would be an avenue for Gillispie to return to the D-I ranks.

Gillispie left the Aggies to take a job with the University of Kentucky in 2007.

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"I thought I was done coaching before I came out to Ranger", Gillispie said.

Tarleton State is set to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) on July 1, although it will not be eligible for Division I postseason tournaments until the 2024-25 season. The West Texas native accepted one close to home, far from the overbearing pressure of trying to reach the Final Four or win a national championship.

In his three seasons at Texas A&M, Gillispie coached three future National Basketball Association players, including a pair of first-round picks in Acie Law IV (11th pick) and Antoine Wright (15th pick).

Gillispie had a three-year break before taking the job at Ranger. He eventually resigned, citing health concerns. He was sacked after only two seasons when the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 17 years, and he had a two-year hiatus from coaching before his troubled year at Texas Tech. Gillispie had a kidney transplant in 2018. In his first season, Gillispie led the Wildcats to a 12-4 mark in the SEC and was named the Co-SEC Coach of the Year.

Gillispie has spent most of the past five seasons at Ranger Junior College, his alma mater.

"I would enjoy another challenge", Gillispie said. "At Tarleton, we will be inheriting an ultra-successful program that Lonn and Chris Reisman established as well as countless others that have poured their hearts and souls into Texan Basketball for more than 30 years".

Tarleton State is making the jump from Division II to Division I next season.

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