As part of our 5 year anniversary, every Friday from here until date unknown, I will go back into the KSR archives to allow you to remember not only how us, the writers, viewed certain important events, as well as highlight some of the comments YOU made as well. Today, we look at one of the days that ranks as a KSR high viewship points, the day that Billy Gillispie was hired. That was April 6th, 2007 and here is what was written on this site about the hire, from unnamed writer:
In my view, this is a great day for Kentucky basketball. While it is easy to remember what might have been, today should be a day that we celebrate what actually is…..and that means that UK has hired itself one heck of a coach. Billy Gillispie is basketball obsessed, a strong X and O guy and a person known for rebuilding programs when it seems they are at their lowest. He took a UTEP team that was in the toilet, and after one year of struggles, got them to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a long time. He then went to Texas A&M and found an Aggie program in the pits, 0-16 in conference the year before, and in the first year took them to the NIT, second year to the NCAA (scaring the heck out of a Final Four bound LSU team) and this year to the Sweet 16. It is clear he knows how to build a program and he will bring that strength to UK.
Some have expressed concerns about Gillispie the recruiter. They point to the fact that Acie Law and Antoine Wright, both likely first round picks, were left to him in College Station. However that leaves aside the fact that he was the head recruiter under Bill Self for an Illinois team that used the talent he brought in to go to the Final game of the NCAA Tournament in 2005. He also has recruited DeAndre Jordan, a 5 star center that many believe to be the 2nd or 3rd best center in America. Jordan has been quoted as saying he might follow Billy wherever he goes, a decision that could have a dramatic impact on the Cats next year.
Over the last few weeks, people I respect have all tried to convince me that Billy G was the guy. I was skeptical all year, until I watched Texas A&M in the NCAA against Louisville. I saw a well-disciplined team, who took the Cards best shot, on a hostile floor and still came out on top. I was then convinced that Billy G could do the job and I am ecstatic about the hire.
Mitch Barnhart deserves a lot of credit. Just 24 hours after hearing the Donovan news, Kentucky will be introducing a new coach. Great preparation and execution during the two weeks where we waited on the NCAA to end.
Now, what I had more fun doing was reading through the 245 comments posted on this story alone to see how the fanbase reacted the news. Here were some of my favorites:
“I for one am thrilled. Thank you and congrats MB on getting your man. I somehow feel that BG was his number 1 all along and the whole BD thing was just to appease the fans. Regardless. Welcome BG and I know you’ll succeed.”
“Doubters, and non believers. GO AWAY!!!! This is a happy day for Big Blue Nation. We will be back in the top 5 withing two years! We have a coach who has pasion now, who has recruiting capabilities, and who beat Loserville on a hostile home court invironment just last month! ITS ALL GOOD!!!!!!”
“Seriously, I don’t think any coach in college is better. Watching A&M this year, they played with FIRE and purpose. They were better coached than any team on defense. The only negative was at the end of games they had such a great player in Law the offensive flow stopped and Law took over. But Gillispie was showing adaptability by coaching with what would win. And that’s the bottom line. I’m tickled blue.”
“Chandra, please head off to the Memphis board. You petitioned for Calipari and didn’t get your wish. Face it. He was never a canidate and rightfully so. We were only going to recruit a coach with integrity and Calipari doesn’t fit that bill. He’s not coming. Get over it. Get with the rest of the UK nation and be happy or jump ship to your beloved. =) Have a good day.”
“We have the right guy…Those who are unhappy should remember this in the future. When he has us back, don’t jump on the bandwagon then.”
“Well, Pearl said he hoped we got Donovan so he’d only have 1 team to contend with in the SEC East. Sorry, Orange Boy. You also just lost any top-flight recruiting in Kentucky.”