Sidelines with John Clay

Billy Gillispie is back from retirement and coaching basketball again

Ranger College men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie.
Ranger College men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie. McClatchy/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Former Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie, who reportedly retired last year because of health issues, is back coaching again.

Gillispie told Ryan Mahan of the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., that he has returned to coaching at Ranger Junior College in Texas. Gillispie was in Springfield to sign a player this week.

“That’s the intention,” Gillispie said about coaching in 2017-18. “I had, unfortunately, I had some high blood pressure issues in December, so they thought it was a lot worse than it actually ended up being. I’ve got it under control now.

“And the other thing: I’d rather die on the sideline that not be coaching, but no, that’s not going to be happening anytime soon, either, I don’t think.”

Gillispie was Kentucky’s coach for two seasons, going 18-13 in 2007-08 and 22-14 in 2008-09 before being fired. His first team lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Marquette. His second and final team didn't make the NCAA Tourney and lost in the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Holding a press conference of his own, Billy Gillispie talks about his time as head coach of Kentucky basketball and his future in the game. Originally published March 28, 2009.

Gillispie coached one season at Texas Tech, going 8-23 in 2011-12, before resigning after allegations arose that he mistreated players.

He took the head coaching job at Ranger Junior College in 2015, but his first season was vacated after the school allegedly played ineligible players. Gillispie’s club was 10-2 in 2016-17 when he stepped down because of the blood pressure problem.

Before coming to Kentucky, Gillispie was 30-32 in two seasons at UTEP, leading the Miners to a 24-8 record in 2003-04, and 70-26 in three seasons at Texas A&M. The Aggies reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2007.

Billy Gillispie head coaching record

Year

School

Record

Conf

Post-season

2002-03

UTEP

6-24

3-15

2003-04

UTEP

24-8

13-5

NCAA first round

2004-05

Texas A&M

21-10

8-8

NIT quarterfinals

2005-06

Texas A&M

22-9

10-6

NCAA second round

2006-07

Texas A&M

27-7

13-3

NCAA Sweet 16

2007-08

Kentucky

18-13

12-4

NCAA first round

2008-09

Kentucky

22-14

8-8

NIT quarterfinals

2011-12

Texas Tech

8-23

1-17

2015-16

Ranger College

0-38

0-12

(vacated)

2016-17

Ranger College

10-2

0-0

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