Five years ago, Billy Gillispie was the hottest name in college coaching. Five years later, he is out of the game.
Gillispie, embattled over claims of player mistreatment and conducting illegal practices, resigned from Texas Tech, citing health concerns.
“Billy has decided to focus on his health, and we wish him a full recovery,” athletic director Kirby Hocutt said in a news release. “We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy’s decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season.”
Gillispie will be paid the remainder of this contract year, about seven months’ worth, or about $467,000. Chris Walker, who took over day-to-day operations, will remain in that position until an interim head coach is chosen.
Gillispie’s resignation letter said he appreciated the opportunity to coach the Red Raiders, but that he needed to tend to his health, officials said.
The move came less than a month after the school announced it was looking into allegations of player mistreatment last fall by the veteran coach — a sensitive topic at Texas Tech, given the 2009 firing of football coach Mike Leach after claims that he mistreated a player suffering from a concussion.
Hocutt called the allegations “very troubling.”
In January, the school reprimanded Gillispie and assistant coach Brooks Jennings after a review found the team had exceeded practice-time limits in 2011. The school reported the secondary violation to the NCAA and penalized itself by reducing the team’s practice time by about 12 hours.
While all that was filtering out, Gillispie’s health apparently was growing worse.
Twice in a 10-day span this past month, 911 calls were made from Gillispie’s home. The first, on Aug. 31, came hours before he was to meet with Hocutt and led to a six-day stay in a Lubbock hospital. The two men never met to discuss the allegations.
Gillispie wasn’t taken to the hospital after the second call on Sept. 10. But the following day, he left for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he said he got treatment for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. Doctors there told him to avoid stress for 30 days.
Gillispie succeeded Pat Knight, who went 50-61 in his three-plus years. Knight had taken over after his father, Bob Knight, resigned in February 2008.