The Gillispie era at Kentucky

jclay@herald-leader.comMarch 28, 2009 

April 6, 2007: BillyGillispie is named head coach at Kentucky, replacing Tubby Smith who left to become head coach at Minnesota.

May 16, 2007: Blue-chip recruit Patrick Patterson, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Huntington, W.Va., announces he will sign with Kentucky.

Oct. 1, 2007: Gillispie turns down invitation to speak to Lexington Rotary Club, becoming first UK coach in 60 years not to carry out the annual pre-season tradition.

Nov. 7, 2007: In Gillispie's second game as head coach, UK loses to Gardner-Webb 84-68 in Rupp Arena.

Dec. 4, 2007: Freshman guard Alex Legion announces he is transferring from UK. He ends up at Illinois.

Dec. 8, 2007: Kentucky loses 70-51 at Indiana as IU's Jordan Crawford outplays his brother, UK's Joe Crawford, as Indiana students chant, "Jordan's better."

Dec. 29, 2007: Kentucky loses in Rupp Arena to San Diego 81-72 to drop to 5-6 on the season.

Feb. 12, 2008: Kentucky loses 93-52 at Vanderbilt, the Cats' worst loss in SEC history.

Feb. 13, 2008: When the team returns to Lexington after the Vandy loss, Gillispie dismisses walk-on Dusty Mills from the team apparently for laughing on the bench during an earlier game.

Feb. 22, 2008: Gillispie makes an emotional appearance at the Dance Blue fund-raiser and writes a $10,000 check to help fight cancer.

Feb. 29, 2008: X-rays reveal that freshman center Patrick Patterson has a stress fracture in his ankle and is out for the season.

March 9, 2008: Kentucky beats Florida 75-70 on Senior Day to finish the SEC regular season with 12-4 record.

March 11, 2008: Gillispie and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl are named SEC Co-Coaches of the Year

March 14, 2008: UK's quarterfinal SEC Tournament game with Georgia is postponed when a tornado hits the Georgia Dome.

March 15, 2008: The SEC Tournament game is moved to Georgia Tech where the Cats lose 60-56 in overtime to Georgia.

March 20, 2008: Despite Joe Crawford's 35 points, UK loses its first-round NCAA Tournament game 74-66 to Marquette, ending the season 18-13.

April 1, 2008: Gillispie's name is circulated as a candidate for the head coaching job at Oklahoma State.

May 1, 2008: Gillispie unintentionally sparks a national debate about the appropriateness of recruiting middle-schoolers when he accepts a commitment from California eighth-grader Michael Avery.

May 31, 2008: Junior guard Derrick Jasper asks for his release and eventually transfers to UNLV.

Oct. 12, 2008: Star Oklahoma center Daniel Orton announces he will sign with Kentucky in November.

Nov. 14, 2008: Kentucky opens Gillispie's second season by losing the opener to visiting VMI 111-103.

Nov. 28, 2008: Freshman guard DeAndre Liggins refuses to enter the second half of a game against Kansas State in the Las Vegas Invitational.

Nov. 20, 2008: Liggins plays 27 minutes as Kentucky rallies to beat West Virginia in the Las Vegas Invitational title game.

Jan. 4, 2009: Gillispie picks up a momentum-killing technical foul in Kentucky's 74-71 loss at Louisville.

Jan. 13, 2009: Jodie Meeks scores a school-record 54 points as Kentucky beats Tennessee 90-72.

Jan. 27, 2009: At halftime of UK's game at Mississippi, Gillispie tells ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards that she has asked a "bad question." Kentucky loses 85-80 for its first SEC loss after five wins.

Feb. 10, 2009: At halftime of UK's game with visiting Florida, Gillispie tells Edwards he can't hear her question, then says she is talking about things he knows nothing about. UK goes on to win 68-65 on Jodie Meeks' three-pointer in the closing seconds.

Feb. 14, 2009: Meeks scores 45 points in a win at Arkansas to improve UK's conference record to 7-3.

Feb. 25, 2009: UK is whipped 75-59 at South Carolina in a key Eastern Division game.

Feb. 28, 2009: After a 73-70 home-court loss to LSU, Gillispie says the defeat is his fault for substituting the wrong player. He doesn't identify the player, but seems to indicate on his post-game show that he is talking about Perry Stevenson, who "hasn't given us anything in two weeks."

March 4, 2009: On Senior Day, Kentucky loses 90-85 to Georgia, a team that had not won a road game all year and lost its previous seven conference road games by an average of 18 points.

March 7, 2009: UK loses 60-53 at Florida to finish the SEC season 8-8 and end the year with four straight losses for the first time since 1907. After the game, a Florida player says UK's Meeks told him he was instructed not to shoot by Gillispie. The coach denies the report.

March 11, 2009: UK President Lee Todd says Gillispie's status will be evaluated after the season.

March 12, 2009: Gillispie tells the media that he sees his responsibility as coaching and recruiting, and that he doesn't have time for the "celebrity" aspects of the position.

March 13, 2009: Kentucky loses 67-58 to LSU in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament to drop to 20-13.

March 15, 2009: Kentucky is left out of the NCAA Tournament for first time since 1991.

March 17, 2009: Playing in the NIT, the Cats beat UNLV 70-60 in the first "real" game in Memorial Coliseum since 1976.

March 25, 2009: After Kentucky loses 77-67 at Notre Dame in the NIT quarterfinals to finish 22-14, Gillispie says he is not the person to ask about his job status.

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