I think Kanye West said it best when he said “You know what this is? It’s a celebration, bitches!” because that’s exactly what we have before us today. We mark a lot of birthdays here in the News and Views and often they’re tarred with has-beens like Vanilla Ice, former NBA greats like Rik Smits or even the occasional great politician like Jesse “the Body” Ventura (<–that might be a lie). But today, sweet readers, it’s really time to pop bottles and do things you’ll likely regret on Monday because the great Billy Clyde Gillispie celebrates birthday #49 today. That’s right, folks, our fearless leader and the pride of Graford, Tex. has tried to sneak one past us, but we aren’t falling for it.
I had originally planned a surprise party at K-Lair, but Krebs refused to be a bouncer and Scherbenske wouldn’t jump out of a cake, so we move on to Plan B, which is not nearly as fun for any of us. So far, in a year and a half of the Gillispie regime, it’s been quite a ride. There have been some ups, a few downs, and lots of blogging to do. In case you fell into a coma when Orlando was still the head man, here’s what you’ve missed:
April 24 – Parade All-American Alex Legion signs with the Wildcats after being granted a release from his Letter of Intent with Michigan.
May 16 – Patrick Patterson, another All-American, announces that he will be signing with Kentucky after a late recruiting charge from Gillispie and his staff.
August 12 – The Herald-Leader decides to give Gillispie the old tabloid/paparrazi treatment by publishing a story about his house. Speculation dominates message boards about why he needs such a large house. No one realizes the obvious answer: he’s rich, bitch.
October 12 – The Billy Gillispie era is officially ushered in at Big Blue Madness. Unfortunately, this also comes with this lame video about how to properly spell his name.
November 7 – Gardner-Webb. Enough said.
November 13 – The Herald-Leader reports that Jodie Meeks has a groin injury that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks. They forgot to note that they were referencing time in dog years.
December 3 – Legion and his mother, the prophet, leaves the team. They would eventually transfer to Illinois.
December 29 – A loss to San Diego caps off a streak of 4 losses in 5 games and leaves the Wildcats with a record of 5-6. The part of the Kentucky fan base that no one wants to acknowledge or admit exists comes out of hibernation and starts spewing non-sense on message boards.
January 5 – In a matchup with Louisville, the Cats are barely able to keep competitive and never make the game close in the second half. The season record now stands at 6-7.
January 12 – In Gillispie’s first SEC game, the Cats nearly give away a large lead, but hold on to knock off No. 13 Vanderbilt in two overtimes.
January 22 – After back-to-back SEC losses, No. 5 Tennessee comes to Rupp and falls in a nationally televised game to the Cats, 72-66. It would become Gillispie’s signature victory in his first year.
January 23 – Gillispie’s shadow still hangs over Texas A&M, despite being gone for nearly a year. In an interview, Gillispie’s replacement, Mark Turgeon says, “I know no matter what I do, Gillispie is getting the credit if we win. If we lose, it’s my fault. I’m in a no-flipping-win situation this year, and that puts me in a bad mood.” He was later given some french cries to go with his WhaaaaBurger.
February 12 – Beatdown in Nashville, 93-52. In a move very similar to Kevin Costner’s stubborn refusal to take a drop in Tin Cup, Gillispie refuses to sub out the starters, who seemed to be overmatched and uninterested. One of the most embarassing nights to be a Kentucky fan but, luckily, it was just one loss in a string of key wins.
February 20 – The “Scrubs, Laughs and Videotape” scandal hits the ceiling as Dusty Mills and his mid-game giggle are dismissed from the team. He immediately finds comfort in the arms of Jerry Tipton.
February 23 – Gillispie makes an emotional appearance at Dance Blue following a victory of Arkansas and makes a donation of $10,000.
March 9 – On senior day for Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley, Kentucky beats Florida, 75-70, marking the end of an 11-2 run to finish the season. The Cats finished 12-4 in the SEC and earned the second seed in the East.
March 10 – Gillispie gets a little face time on PTI and does what he does best: charms.
March 11 – Gillispie is named co-SEC Coach of the Year, sharing the award with the promiscuous preceptor, Bruce Pearl.
March 14 – In their post-tornado, Saturday morning game, the Cats fall in overtime to Georgia and the lucky white-guy three – a March epidemic – in their first SEC tourney game. Despite the loss, the Cats would still receive an invitation to the NCAA tournament, although it’s as an 11-seed.
March 20 – Freaking Marquette again. Despite a performance for the ages from Joe Crawford, the Cats didn’t have enough to stop the Golden Eagles and were sent packing on the first day of the tournament, 74-66. I was upset.
April 3 – Gillispie eulogizes Mr. Wildcat, Bill Keightely, at his memorial service in Rupp Arena after his sudden passing.
Aprilish – Rumored to leave for Oklahoma State. Story carries as much legitimacy of “Beisner names first child after Matt Jones”.
April 29 – Ladies and gentleman, the Jorts have entered the building. JUCO forward Josh Harrellson throws his jumper and his jean shorts onto the Gillispie train. Oh yeah, GIllispie also secured top-5 2010 forward Dominique Ferguson too. Not a bad day at the office.
May 1 – 8th grader Michael Avery gives his verbal to the Cats, sending the world into some sort of tailspin that it will never recover from. Until they get over it.
May 5 – A big day in Gillispieland as the Cats not only secure a private plane, but also the services of 2010 big man Vinny Zollo. He probably celebrated with Dr. Peppers.
May 7 – 2009 shooting guard, likely Mr. Basketball and master thespian Jon Hood gives his commitment to the Cats, not knowing that his life would be ruined one day by simply granting an interview to a lowly KSR writer.
May 12 – Morayinko Williams announces intentions to transfer. Not sure who he was exactly, but I guess he was on the team.
May 31 – Derrick Jasper leaves the team and eventually transfers to UNLV. In related news, Wildcat Lodge was subsequently checked by health inspectors and said to be free of “puss-itis” for the first time since Gillispie came on as coach.
June 3 – Matt Pilgrim comes straight outta Hampton and lands a spot on the team. This begins his evolution into a mythical character more powerful than Samson.
June 9 – Gillispie kicks off Elite Camp, an event that eventually leads to the signing of Hunter McClint…oh wait. Nevermind.
Wow. OK, I’m giving up. I mean, this could keep going and going with the way this guy moves around and I didn’t even mention how he ruffled the NABC’s panties a few times and had his picture terribly photoshopped into weird poses. I think we all get the point that since Coach Clyde came onto the scene, he’s really been moving and shaking things up, so I’m giving up before we finish (that’s what she said?). So, sweet readers, join me here on this post in toasting our man Billy Clyde as he rounds out his forties and heads on toward 50. Cheers to you, Coach, and let’s kick some Baptist tail tonight.
But, just to be fair, here are a few other quick notes.
– This post is mostly about Coach Gillispie, but I like to pat myself on the back as well. If Gillispie is driving this post’s motorcycle, I’m riding in the sidecar with the goggles and hat with ear flaps. So, with that in mind, scroll down past the political arguing and misunderstood Bobby Perry post to the story about Ryan Mossakowski if you havent’t. Besides the fact that it’s the first thing even halfway resembling an actual news article that I’ve written since journalism school, it gives a very good portrayal of what kind of player and person that Mossakowski seems to be. We all know he’s talented, but you can ask anyone who talks to them what really strikes them about him and that’s his maturity and how he says all the right things. They guy just talks like a leader and speaks “quarterback”. I dig that.
– Also, a trio of football Cats were honored for their academic accomplishments on Thursday. Long snapper Brad Hart, CB Robbie McAtee and P Tim Mastay were named to the Academic All-District Team by ESPN the magazine. The three are now eligible to be named Academic All-Americans in December.
That’s about it for now. Stay tuned throughout the day for more goodness as we prepare you for the football Cats’ battle with the Lex Luger-inspired Georgia Bulldogs and the basketball battle with the Ouachita Baptist Fightin’ Huckabees. See you this afternoon…
Oh yeah, Matt Jones isn’t here so you’re stuck with me making the nightly post. I probably should have put that at the top. Oh well, life’s full of disappointments.