Why did Billy Gillispie resign from Texas Tech?

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Why did Billy Gillispie resign from Texas Tech?

From Comcast SportsNetLUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Texas Tech men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie has resigned due to health concerns, the school said Thursday, ending a bizarre and disappointing one-year run at the program he took over with designs on building a West Texas powerhouse.The school and fans had hoped the 52-year-old Gillispie could orchestrate another remarkable turnaround like the ones he put together at UTEP and Texas A&M. Instead, after being out of coaching for two years, he led the Red Raiders to an 8-23 record last season that included just one Big 12 victory."Billy has decided to focus on his health, and we wish him a full recovery," athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a news release. "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."Gillispie didn't immediately return a call or text from The Associated Press seeking commentGillispie will be paid the remainder of this contract year. Chris Walker, who took over day-to-day operations, will remain in that position until an interim head coach is chosen.The move comes less than a month after the school announced it was looking into allegations of player mistreatment last fall by the veteran coach -- a sensitive topic at Texas Tech, given the 2009 firing of football coach Mike Leach after claims that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion.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 school reported the secondary violation to the NCAA and penalized itself by reducing the team's practice time by about 12 hours.While all that was filtering out, Gillispie's health was apparently growing worse.Twice in a 10-day span this past month, 911 calls were made from Gillispie's home. The first, on Aug. 31, came hours before he was to meet with Hocutt and led to a six-day stay in a Lubbock hospital.He was not taken to the hospital after the second call on Sept. 10. But the following day, Gillispie left for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he said he got treatment for kidney problems and abnormal headaches.Five years ago, Gillispie was one of the hottest names in the college game and had reached a pinnacle: coaching at perennial powerhouse Kentucky.That peak lasted just two years. He was fired from Kentucky in 2009 after going 40-27 in two seasons, and the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years. When he returned to coaching at Texas Tech two years later, he came cheap. He went from an annual salary at Kentucky of 2.3 million to 800,000 a year at Texas Tech, signing a five-year contract to succeed Pat Knight.In late 2009, Gillispie and Kentucky settled lawsuits against each another, with the former Wildcats coach getting about 3 million with no admission of wrongdoing from the school. Six months after his firing, Gillispie sought treatment at John Lucas' substance-abuse program in Houston following his third arrest for drunken driving in 10 years.A native of West Texas, Gillispie's first two years as a college head coach were at UTEP in the Western Athletic Conference. He made headlines there for the biggest turnaround in basketball history, taking the Miners from 6-24 in 2002-03 to a 24-8 record the following year.The conference named him coach of the year in 2004, the same year he was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year -- the first of three times he made the final cut. He was then an adept recruiter, and he stayed in close contact with scores of Texas high school coaches to stay in the loop about the state's talent.He later went to Texas A&M, taking a downtrodden program and leading the Aggies to three consecutive 20-win seasons after they went winless in Big 12 play the year before he got there. At the end of Gillispie's first year with the Aggies in 2005, he was named the AP's Big 12 coach of the year.It was the NIT after his first season and the NCAA tournament after the next two -- getting the Aggies to the round of 16 in 2007. But Kentucky came courting, and two weeks after his final game with the Aggies, a 65-64 loss to Memphis in the NCAA regional semifinals, he left Texas for the Bluegrass State.Gillispie is among the basketball coaches who have lost significant amounts of money because of investments with David Salinas, who committed suicide last year as federal investigators probed his management of college coaches' money.Baylor's Scott Drew, former Arizona coach Lute Olson, former Utah coach Ray Giacoletti, now an assistant at Gonzaga, and Baylor football coach Art Briles, who previously coached at Houston, also invested.

Giants spring training Day 11: Could Ty Blach open season in bullpen?

Giants spring training Day 11: Could Ty Blach open season in bullpen?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy announced a slight tweak to the spring schedule on Thursday: Matt Cain won't follow Madison Bumgarner on the mound in the opener; he'll likely start the second game, with Ty Blach backing him up.

The Giants have made no secret of the fact that Cain is the perfect-world pick to be the fifth starter this season. Is there a world where Blach could still be in the big leagues?

"Sure, I could see that," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bochy called Blach a potentially good "swing guy." If he can't crack the rotation this season, Blach may see time as a long reliever or even a short-stint lefty. With Will Smith (elbow) on a tight timeline to get ready for opening day, the lefty help could be needed.

"He's confident, he's a strike-thrower, he has really good command and he's a good athlete," Bochy said, noting the traits that allow Blach to be versatile.

The 26-year-old had already proven to be flexible. A week after he threw eight shutout innings against the Dodgers, Blach came out of the bullpen at Wrigley Field and threw 1 1/3 hitless innings. Two days later he threw two more scorleless innings out of the bullpen. 

Blach said he was at first a little worried about the transition, but he talked to Cain, Jake Peavy, Chris Heston and Chris Stratton about the best ways to adjust to a switch to the bullpen. He ultimately didn't have any problems warming up quickly as a reliever.

"It was pretty similar, you just try to go out there the same way and execute pitches," Blach said.

Blach made the quick transition look easy, and that might have opened up a second path to a roster spot. 

Elsewhere on the final day before the games start ...

STOCK WATCH: Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and there are going to be a lot of eyes on him. Beede is probably the No. 7 starter at this point, and when you're in that spot, you're just about guaranteed a decent chunk of starts. Injuries will open doors.

"He's looked real sharp this spring," Bochy said. "He's coming off a great year. He's got great stuff, great makeup. He’s a smart pitcher along with having good command of all of his pitches. He knows what he’s doing out there. He’s one of those guys on a fast pace.”

ICYMI: Speaking of guys on a fast pace, here’s my feature on Christian Arroyo

SPRING OPENER: Buster Posey won’t catch Bumgarner on Friday, but Brandon Crawford will be behind him. Crawford is going to get plenty of time early on to prepare for the WBC. Posey makes his spring debut Saturday.

LIGHTER SIDE: Just about every day, a rookie has to get up in front of the team and do something embarrassing. Thursday’s entertainment: Jae-gyun Hwang, the Korean third baseman, dancing to “Gangnam Style.”

QUOTABLE: I think Mike Morse was the best podcast guest so far. We talked about his wedding negotiations with Bobby Evans, his friendship with Hunter Pence, the photo he took with a trophy right after the World Series, why it’s SF-or-bust, and much more. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. 

The last question for Morse: Will he use “Take on Me” this year?

“If this is going to be the last time I play baseball, I’m going to have that song every at-bat,” he said. 

Kevin Durant's future plans: General manager of NBA team he owns

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AP

Kevin Durant's future plans: General manager of NBA team he owns

OAKLAND -- Still only 28 years old, Kevin Durant already is visualizing his post-career options.

The Warriors forward wants to stay involved in the NBA, and he aspires to levels above being a coach.

“I want to be a GM, want to own a team, hopefully own a team and run it,” Durant said Thursday, after the team’s morning shootaround.

Minutes before the trade deadline of noon Thursday, Durant acknowledged to following the various web sites devoted to basketball-related speculation regarding potential deals and the thinking behind them.

It’s all part of his long-term plan.

“So I look to see what rumors are getting out there, what deals are being presented to these teams,” he said. “Try to figure that stuff out. It’s fun, especially for a guy who knows that part of the business.”

[POOLE: Mum at deadline, Warriors ineligible to re-sign Andrew Bogut]

The latest former superstar to join the ranks of architects is Magic Johnson, who this week assumed control of the Lakers, the team with which he spent his entire Hall of Fame career. Johnson joins the likes of Larry Bird (Pacers) and Michael Jordan (Hornets).

Only Jordan, though, has the power of ownership.

Though several other former players run front offices, Durant would not be just another former player. Midway through his career, he already owns four scoring titles and an MVP trophy.

For now, he’s doing his homework, examining the Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to better understand its complexities.

“Obviously it affects me and affects my peers,” Durant said. “Like I said, I want to learn more and more about the business of basketball. I try to keep that fine line of keeping it pure and fun and also knowing that this is a really big business. So I like to go through the CBA, also ask questions.”