Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Boone Pickens Wants Him a B-Ball Coach

If I was going to make up a story about Gillispie leaving, rest assured it would involve an oil tycoon, but Oklahoma State has already done the legwork for me. T. Boone Pickens wants his beloved Cowboys to make a big splash with the basketball coaching vacancy. Word is that Bill Self is their man and that Billy Clyde Gillispie is their number two. Pickens is throwing crazy money around, including way over $200 million he has already given to the university. The fact of the matter is that as much as a UK basketball coach makes, it’s not Lebron money. If a coach has a chance to make enough money so his grandkids will never have to work a day in their lives, then I would never blame him for following the almighty dollar. There is no shame in that, and people suggesting otherwise are fools….damn fools.

I love what Gillispie was able to do this season, and I think UK has a very bright future with him at the helm, but I really think it could be in his best interests to take the OSU job if offered. Gillispie is a tireless worker, but we all know he is a time bomb too. That DUI is coming, and it’s going to be embarrassing for him and the program. OSU doesn’t put coaches in the fishbowl like UK does, and Gillispie likes to have a good time out at the bars, get in a Jacuzzi with a bunch of 19 year old ladies, and walk out on his bar tab without being hassled. You and me both, Billy, but Lexington is a tough place to pull that off. UK has nosy boosters, who like to have a say and be in the know about all things UK. The basketball coach has to be a bit of a media darling to appease them. Someone simultaneously cocky and humble; relentless, yet human; and someone who can withstand everlasting comparisons to Rick Pitino. Gillispie is an outstanding game tactician, and all signs indicate he’s a merciless recruiter, but those off the court issues will continue to haunt him. If the boosters are something that will get in the way of his coaching, then he needs to leave. The man loves to coach, and it’s clear that he’s not comfortable dancing to appease the old farts. He’s shown how human he can be when he calls into radio shows and anonymously donates money, and from that touching scene where he went to a cancer fundraiser and got choked up while giving an impromptu speech and then stunned the audience by donating ten thousand dollars. That's the type of person he is, and that's outstanding. Unfortunately, for him to be fully embraced by the boosters, he needs to donate to the black tie fund raisers that all the rest of the higher ups attend. He could also just win a championship every three years, and quiet all those boosters pretty quickly, but that's a tall task too. At OSU, all Gillispie would have to do is make sure he’s comfortable with Pickens. All the other boosters are worthless compared to that guy, so it’s an easier audience to entertain than UK.

It’s also important to remember that Gillispie does a ton of recruiting out of Texas, so Oklahoma State could be a homecoming of sorts for him. That said, Gillispie often speaks fondly of being at the Mecca of college basketball, and a move back to Big-12 country would not likely result in any championships (let alone fan admiration), so it’s a complete toss-up. I think it’s a 50/50 on whether Self stays or goes so we may never have to find out what Gillispie’s answer to Pickens’ pitch would be. If OSU comes calling though, I think Gillispie will at least pick up the phone.


Blogger Thelonius Monk said...

I agree with everything you have said. T. Boone Pickens seems like a guy that is right up Gillispie's alley. But I guess he's right up anyone's alley if he's paying that kind of money though.

However, I think there are some points to be made here. First, T. Boone will own the soul of whoever goes to OSU. I don't care how generous you are, or how much you love a school, if you are donating that kind of cash you are expecting to own people. I think any coach who has any experience with nagging boosters will take this into consideration. Second, if Bill Self doesn't take the job I don't see Gillispie taking it either. Bill Self is an alum, has faced some scrutiny in Kansas previous to winning Monday, and has shown he can recruit from anywhere in the country. He and Gillispie seem a lot a like in many ways - minus the booze and women. Now that Self has cut down the nets, I can see him more willing to give it a go at a smaller name school for much more money and security. I think if Gillispie truly wants to cut down nets, he knows his opportunity is better at Kentucky than OSU.

April 9, 2008 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Jumping Bull said...

Gillispie might actually leave?!? Where have I been? Oh yeah, watching UEFA Cup and getting last place in my NCAA tourney pools. By the way, when is Natty's blogasm about Tom Crean getting the hire up in Bloomington gonna come?

April 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM  

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