Former Kentucky basketball head coach Billy Gillispie is in urgent need of a kidney transplant.
The 58-year-old, who was fired in 2009 after two years at UK, told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday that he needs the procedure “ASAP.”
Gillispie, who was named athletics director and head basketball coach at Ranger College in Texas in April of 2015, retired nine months ago due to health concerns related to high blood pressure. He returned as head coach this season, but missed Ranger’s last three games.
Gillispie told the Dallas Morning News that on Nov. 26 he was admitted to Hendrick Medical Center and treated for pneumonia and that tests showed he recently had a heart attack. Gillispie returned for a follow-up on Dec. 14 and was told by a doctor that he is suffering from kidney failure because of years of chronic high blood pressure.
Gillispie said he’s scheduled to have a consultation on Monday with a Mayo Clinic nephrologist. He said he was reluctant to make public his need for a kidney transplant but decided to do so after a reporter suggested to him that increased public awareness could also benefit other Americans in need of a transplant.
“In my whole life, I’ve never asked anyone for anything,” Gillispie told the Dallas Morning News. “I’m still not. One of the biggest things I’m studying right now is, ‘What effect, someone who donates a kidney, what effect it has on their life? What dangers? What risks? What long-term effects?
“I don’t even know that I would take one. I know that sounds stupid, but I wouldn’t take a donated kidney if it was going to have any kind of adverse (effect) on anyone.”