The Billy Gillispie Kentucky fans came to know is much different than the current Billy Gillispie.
After falling far from the Division I ranks to Ranger Junior College, he has turned around the Ranger Rangers (yes, that’s the name of their redundant mascot). 2-23 in 2015, they went 31-7 in Gillispie’s first year and finished the season in the semifinals of the Junior College national tournament.
While speaking at an Oklahoma coaches’ convention, he said, “I don’t mean that in a bragging way, (but) I’ve been lucky.”
Gillespie finally seems content at his JUCO home.
“I’m very fortunate now to work for great people who appreciate what I can do. They want to win and help young people,” he said.
“We don’t have much in the way of resources, but we have each other and we have basketball,” Gillispie said. “We have opportunities. After my first year, we had players sign with Missouri, Texas A&M and UNLV.
“I’ve always been happy. I’m not a disgruntled, cynical person. When I was at Tulsa, I had as much fun as I’ve had in my life. I wasn’t (healthy) when I was at Texas Tech. That was a tough time, but I’m healthy now and doing great. I feel as good as I can possibly feel.”
As much as we like to use Gillispie as a punchline, it’s great to see he found the help he needed to successfully turn his life around.