Ah, Coach Gillispie. Or, for the moment I guess, not ‘coach’ so much as ‘author’ and ‘litigant.’ Many hats, does the one they call Clyde wear. One of those hats, thanks to our friends at Page2 of the Worldwide Leader, now says ‘not a genius.’ Yes, Clyde managed to find his way onto a list detailing some of the biggest flops from not just the world of sports, but from the world of…um…the world. The list is all about people who were labeled special but turned out to be not so. Indeed, Gillispie’s reclamation projects in Texas left him as college basketball’s hottest up-and-comer, while his decimation project in Lexington led to this review of BCG’s performance:
Mistaken identity: College hoops’ Winston Wolf.
Genius credentials: Established reputation as turnaround artist by coaching UTEP to an 18-win improvement in 2003-04 and Texas A&M to a 14-win jump in 2004-05; two seasons later, Gillispie took the Aggies to a top-10 regular-season ranking and a one-point loss to Memphis in the Sweet 16.
Genius moment: Prowled sideline for UTEP’s victory over the Harlem Globetrotters — not the confetti ‘n’ shorts-tugging showmen Trotters, the competitive squad — the Globies’ first loss in 289 games.
Genius reconsidered: Hired to coach Kentucky — in essence, being elected president of college basketball — in 2007, Gillispie lost his first game, at home, to Gardner-Webb. By 16 points. A first-round NCAA loss followed, and in his second year, Gillispie oversaw a home defeat to VMI and a berth in the NIT … which the Wildcats didn’t even win.
De-Genius moment: After Kentucky fired Gillispie, it was revealed that the coach had never actually signed his formal contract with the school. Oops.
The real genius: Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes, who’s smart enough to realize there’s more sanity and less hassle coaching at a school and in a state where fans treat college football with the same do-or-die impatience Kentucky fans reserve for hoops.
While I must say that Barnes withdrawing his name from consideration that may or may not have existed was more psychic than genius, that’s beside the point. This is a reminder of the whole of the Gillispie era, how he came in like a Texas Tornadee, whipped us all into a frenzy, and soon began proving everything we had heard about his greatness wrong. Now he shares the noble distinction of being called a non-genius with wonderful human beings like Bernie Madoff, M. Night Shyamalan (totally spelled it right the first time without looking…man I hated The Village) and somehow still Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis.
In a slightly unrelated note, my Bengals fandom obligates me to take this opportunity to disagree with the author on his assessment of Marvin Lewis, who is not so much a de-genius as the unfortunate employee of Mike Brown, one of the worst owners in professional sports. Anyone who follows the Bengals knows what I mean. Anyone who doesn’t follow the Bengals is probably laughing at me for caring about such a terrible franchise. Anyone who is, in fact, me, is probably shaking their head and wondering why they do this to themselves.
Bengals ranting aside, one thing is for sure. We have seen the end of Billy Gillispie’s idiocy. I mean, with the lawsuit and book both in the works, Clyde’s image is set to go nowhere but up. Seriously. Why are you looking at me like that? You don’t believe me, do you? He’s going to be a media darling. A great coach. An exemplary human being. Eh, I give up. You know I can’t lie to you. He’ll always be a moron.