Texas Tech hires Billy Gillispie as new men's basketball coach

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Texas Tech has hired Billy Gillispie as the new men's basketball coach. The university sent out the following press release Sunday morning:


A three-time recipient of the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year award, Billy Clyde Gillispie has been named the head men's basketball coach at Texas Tech University, by director of athletics Kirby Hocutt.  The official hiring announcement will come on Wednesday morning at a public news conference at the United Spirit Arena.

Gillispie becomes the 14th head coach in school history and replaces Pat Knight, who was relieved of his duties on March 7.  Texas Tech and Gillispie have agreed to a five-year contract.

"I am very excited to welcome Billy Clyde Gillispie to Texas Tech," said director of athletics Kirby Hocutt. "Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to spend significant time with Billy and I am absolutely confident that he will lead our basketball program back to the national spotlight while positively representing our university. There are exciting years ahead for Red Raider basketball."

Gillispie is one of the best college basketball coaches in the country and brings head coaching experience from the University of Kentucky, Texas A&M and UTEP to the Red Raider program.  In all, Gillispie has seven years of experience as a head coach at the Division I level, 12 years as an assistant at the collegiate level and eight years at the high school level (six as head coach, two as an assistant).

"It is a great honor to be selected as the basketball coach at Texas Tech University," remarked Gillispie.  "I am very appreciative of athletics director Kirby Hocutt, President Bailey (Guy) and Chancellor Hance (Kent) for allowing me the opportunity to lead this program.  Texas Tech is a great school that is located in a great community and is part of one of the toughest conferences in the country.  I can't wait to get started."

In his last coaching stop, Gillispie compiled a 39-27 record at the University of Kentucky (2007-09) and was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year for 2007-08, while leading the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament.  That 40-27 record at Kentucky improved his seven year total as a Division I head coach to 140-85 (.622).

The newest addition to the Texas Tech family is a native of Graford, Texas, and has spent all but two years of his career inside the state of Texas.  Gillispie has ties to Texas State, where he earned a bachelor's degree and served as graduate assistant, UTEP, Texas A&M and in the high school ranks.

Most importantly, Gillispie is a proven winner in the Big 12 Conference and orchestrated one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball when he took over Texas A&M in 2002.  The Aggies had won just 25 league basketball games in the first eight years of Big 12 play, before Gillispie led them to 31 conference victories in his three seasons at A&M.  In 2004-05, A&M had the best turnaround in the nation, and best in school history, with a record of 21-10 after going just 7-21 the previous season.  He led the Aggies to an NIT appearance in 2004-05 and back-to-back NCAA appearance in 2005-06 and 2006-07, including at trip to the Sweet 16 in 2007.

Prior to his tenure in College Station, he began his Division I head coaching career at UTEP where he led the Miners to the NCAA Tournament in the 2003-04 season.  That season earned him the WAC Coach of the Year Award and finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year after a 24-8 season.  UTEP was just 6-24 in 2002-03, so the 2003-04 season marked the biggest turnaround the history of college basketball (+18 wins).

Gillispie will be formally introduced at a news conference at the United Spirit Arena at 10 a.m. on Wed., March 23.  The news conference is open to all Texas Tech students and Red Raider fans who wish to attend.  Doors to the United Spirit Arena will open at 9:15 a.m.