Texas Tech basketball coach Gillispie resigns, cites health issues

Posted Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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Texas Tech men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie has resigned, school officials announced Thursday.

Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt accepted the resignation and said Gillispie, who cited health reasons as the basis of his resignation, will be paid the remainder of his contract--- about $467,000 -- through April 30, 2013.

Gillispie, 52, has been hospitalized twice in the past month for issues related to stress and high blood pressure. The health issues surfaced in concert with an ESPN.com report of a player mutiny, in which all nine of the team's scholarship players went to Hocutt in late August to complain about Gillispie's mistreatment of players, citing "mind games" and marathon practices.

In January, the school reprimanded Gillispie and assistant coach Brooks Jennings after a review found the team had exceeded practice-time limits in 2011.

The Red Raiders went 8-23 last season in Gillispie's first season at Tech, winning only one game against a Big 12 opponent. Since the season ended, six players have transferred.

In a prepared statement, Hocutt cited only the health issues while announcing the coach's departure.

"Billy has decided to focus on his health and we wish him a full recovery," Hocutt said in the statement. "We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy's decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season."

Chris Walker, the team's associate head coach, has been handling day-to-day operations of the program in Gillispie's absence and school officials said Walker will continue to do so until an interim coach for the 2012-13 season has been identified.

Before taking the Tech job, Gillispie spent two seasons at Kentucky, going 40-27. He was fired in 2009 after the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 17 years and he was accused, at that time, of behavioral problems with players.

Gillispie, who entered the John Lucas After Care Program in Houston in 2009 following his third arrest for drunken driving since 1999, earned a reputation for running tough practices while helping turn around programs at UT El Paso and Texas A&M before taking the job at Kentucky.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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