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Bill Self Speaks Up On BCG

One of the most talked about professional mentors of Billy Gillispie has been Kansas Jayhawk coach Bill Self. The guys have a history together that goes back pretty far. From day one at UK, it was known that Self was ‘his guy’ and we all hoped Billy Clyde would be as successful as his mentor. Obviously, things didn’t work out as planned.

I have always been interested in seeing how their relationship worked. Self has been very quiet regarding Billy’s transgression at both UK and Texas Tech, but he spoke up today. Bill Self defended Gillispie in a long message to Jason King at ESPN today. While this long rambling message claims to not be a ‘defense’, it is clear that it is. Give the full transcript a read, but I decided to pull a few of my favorite Self quotes and add some commentary:

I will say this: To have players who have only been in a program for a year or two and be such experts on what it takes to win and how to be treated is a little bit hard to grasp.

Yes, let’s bash the kids who were abused. That’s the noble move here.

“I’m sure he’s done some things as a coach that he looked back on and said, ‘Whoa … I got up against the line today. I toed the line a little bit.’

“I know it’s over, but I see the signs. Don’t let me waste your precious time”  – Rocky Burnette, “Tired of Toein’ the Line”

His way works. No one can deny that.

False. Watch — he missed the NCAA tournament while at arguably the best program of all time. That’s the opposite of ‘working’.

[…] now we’ve heard from guys who say, ‘Oh man, he was so hard on me but I’m a better man for it.’

Replace “better” with “broken” and you’ve got it.

If you’re a player or someone in his program, you’ve got to go through some things.

Specifically: hell.

I’m not defending him.

Yes, you are.

Two-hour practices feel like four-hour practices when you don’t win.

So what do actual above NCAA rules four-hour practices feel like then?

I still just don’t see how so many things can become public from such a short amount of time from sources that are supposedly inside the department. Basketball teams are supposed to be a family.

Spot on. When sick people taking out their problems on their family and cause them injury, it’s best to keep that ‘in the family’.

How many young kids — freshmen, newcomers or junior-college transfers that come into a college program — have an easy time during their first few months with their new coach?

This is a completely irrelevant question when you consider this has happened EVERYWHERE Billy has been.

As far as making guys practice and play when they’re hurt, it’s unfathomable to me that the guy that I know would put anyone out there in harm’s way intentionally. I have a hard time believing he would do that.

By all means, fathom it.

The bottom line is this: It takes some energy and a strong commitment to go into a league that is as competitive as the Big 12 and try to build a program.

And booze, clearly. Lots of booze.

He’s trying to develop the foundation for a great program, and he wants everyone associated with the program — not just the players and assistants, but everyone — to work just as hard as him in whatever role they may have.

Don’t forget the sports media folks.

I know what defending Billy Gillispie looks like, and this is it. I spent two years doing it while he was at UK, and it was a tiring process. Self is a great coach and seems like a good guy, but I think he would have been a lot better off here just saying that it’s clear there are issues with BCG that he need to be worked on. Instead, he comes off as rationalizing and defending a lot of questionable actions. In the end, however, Self does eventually admit blame may very well lie with Gillispie and says it must be investigated.

Article written by Chris Thomas

22 Comments for Bill Self Speaks Up On BCG

  1. Stan
    2:37 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Glad to see you came clean about defending him for 2 years, a lot of people have a problem looking in the mirror and coming clean about BG. Bill Self can go to hell if he defends the abuse of young people, I don’t care if the are basketball players or not. I am glad we kicked thier ass last year and would like to have another couple of shots at em. Kiss our ass Bill (I please my)self

  2. twnky
    2:39 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    That picture is awesome. Too bad he is covering up his rug with that that.

  3. twnky
    2:42 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink


  4. Adam
    3:01 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Chris Thomas butchered what Bill Self said and took most of his statements out of context. Before you form an opinion, you should read the entirety of what Self said. I’m not a huge BCG fan, but I think the media is on a witch hunt right now. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why didn’t CBS try and get both sides of the story before publishing their article? Obviously there are players, coaches and people who don’t agree with what KSR, CBS, and other media outlets are trying to portray.

    I’m going to wait and find out the whole truth before I rush to judgement.

    And Chris Thomas, why yes BCG ways didn’t work at Kentucky, you cannot say his ways do not work anywhere. They obviously did. You are just being stupid and allowing your bias to cloud your judgement.

    Taking a UTEP from 6 wins to 25 wins and making the sweet sixteen with Texas AM is pretty impressive. Don’t be a dumbass Chris

  5. Pioneer
    3:39 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    BG ways may have worked at UTEP but Uk ain’t Texas El-paso. How could you defend a guy who nearly destroyed our basketball program in 2 miserable years? Go be a Texas tech fan or a UTEP fan! Better yet, be a Mitch Barnhart fan, he hired him.

  6. Indiana Tom
    3:51 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    I am one that certainly does not agree with all Billy did when he was at UK and Texas Tech. But the BIG BLUE NATION has more class than to kick a man when he is down. He was wrong in a lot of things he did but instead of slamming lets hope he gets on the right path and straightens his life out. Hate and negativity is two things we dont need. Come on Cat fans, we have a lot of great and positive things to comment on other than slamming Billy.

  7. shields eyes
    3:59 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Okay we will see if Self hires BCG as an assistant after Gillispie is fired. It won’t happen.

  8. bob wiley
    3:59 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    I guess then that if BCG loses his job at TT, Self will rush to give him a job on the KU staff. Hardly !!!

  9. me too
    4:20 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    #7 & #8 – Agree! And maybe espn could do a poll of the kansas players to see if they’d like bcg as an assistant coach. I’m guessing, “Ohhh, HELL NOooooo” – would be the general consensus.

    Screw these coaches (self & k) who give glowing reviews of absolute turds of society (bcg, paterno, knight).

    Still wish one of our players (Patterson or Harrelson) had dumped bcg into a garbage can, head first.

  10. nawlij
    4:21 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    If BCG’s ways worked, how did he miss the NCAA’s with a team with three NBA players (Miller, Meeks, Patterson)?

  11. Yngvie Maumsteen.
    5:02 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Who gives a crap about BG. We have a great thing going with Cal. Quit stinking up the place.

  12. barn
    5:05 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    9—speaking of the boob that is knight, he’s been conspicuously unheard from in recent months. hopefully he’ll stay under that rock from now on.

  13. smokeandmirrors
    5:36 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    I hope the next we hear from bob knight is his obituary, screw bcg also

  14. Adam
    6:50 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    10 – Liggins and Harrellson were also on that team, so that team actually had 5 NBA players…I’m not saying he was successful at Kentucky, but to say he’s never been successful just isn’t true.

  15. Steve Fitts
    6:54 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    The bottom line here is abuse. If BCG abused his players as is alleged, he needs to go!

  16. BigBlue
    7:33 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    It is clear to almost anyone that BCG was actually an effective coach until he let his personal issues, alcoholism etc. consume him to the point that it pushed him over the edge. The fact is that he was successful in his early years, then during his tenure at UK he really started to become unhinged. Now it is fair to say that he is a mess…but let’s stop bringing him up. I don’t think anyone is arguing that he was successful at UK. There is no need to make 1 in 5 posts on this blog about BCG…

  17. Bill Self Is a Punk
    8:58 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Bill Self is a punk too. He treats his players like hell and there have been articles written about it. The reason he doesn’t get the bashing BCG gets is because he wins. Just like Knight, when he was winning, you never heard anything, but when it went south, so did he, quickly.

  18. fat jesus
    9:20 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Abuse…ok…a hard or tough coach is not abuse! Gimme a break.
    Report violations have the university fix violations and have some toughness. No his way doesnt work with all but it may work with some

  19. Rae
    9:55 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    17. People are willing to put up with a lot if they see they are getting something out of it.

    Maybe his old ways worked. I know we haven’t heard too much from UTEP and A&M players, but I don’t think he was able to build a career acting the same way he did at Kentucky and TT. I think when he first started at UK he was somewhat normal, a bit standoffish perhaps, but not off the deep end crazy. So maybe Self is right, and Billy’s old tough-but-fair ways worked, but his insanity clearly brings no results. Some people do not respond well to pressure.

    There is a huge difference between being tough and Stockholm Syndrome. Playing with an injury can aggravate the injury and possibly destroy a career if the player isn’t careful. If I were a journalist covering TT, and I was asked to shoot layup drills and run, I would tell Billy to kiss it. I’m 5’1″; I wasn’t made to actually play basketball.

    I think Bill Self is being incredibly naive. A lot of crimes go unreported, and a lot of criminals walk the streets, just because the abuser in question is an “upstanding citizen.”

  20. Rixter
    10:51 pm September 9, 2012 Permalink

    Indiana Tom, tell us what a good guy Kelvin Sampson is, and how you wish him well.

  21. jill's a dumbazz
    12:05 am September 10, 2012 Permalink

    Bill Self is a tool.

  22. James C
    10:40 am September 10, 2012 Permalink


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