Rumor: Billy Gillispie Out at Kentucky, Billy Donovan to Replace Him

Word on the Street: Billy Gillispie Out at Kentucky, Billy Donovan Leaving Florida for UK

3/26/09 in NCAABB   |   Brinson   |   respect

Billy Gillispie's firing has been rumored for quite some time now. Or, at least, everyone's been saying that Kentucky is basketball-crazy enough to either can him or let Ashley Judd have her way (in the bad sense of the word) with him. And now it appears as if those rumors are hitting the fan full-on, because word on the street is that Gillispie is O-U-T at Kentucky.

Bear in mind of course, that this is not confirmed [yet]. But, it seems pretty likely. Especially when you factor in the Gainsville Sun's other report: Billy Donovan, head coach at Florida, has already agreed to replace Gillispie. 

Yeah, freaking insane. I know. But it's like Doug Gottlieb once told me: if you're going to fire a coach or let him walk, you make sure you've got a list of five guys in your pocket who will sign on immediately. And if the Sun is right, Kentucky already made sure that was well played, not that they would have any problems pulling a new coach, what with the low expectations he would have.

Plus, it would make a hell of a lot more sense for Kentucky to ax Gillispie now, as opposed to after the tournament when they could try and lure someone like Jay Wright of Villanova or Jeff Capel of Oklahoma.

It's worth noting there are pretty fascinating contract issues at play here as well. For starters, Donovan has a one-month window (March 1 to April 1) in which he can leave Florida without having to pay a $500,000 buyout clause, although he forfeits a loyalty clause by doing so. And on Gillispie's part, well, he never signed a formal contract!

But wait! There's more! See, there's also a rumor in place that Florida will only acquiesce to Donovan's departure if  they know they can get a shot Anthony Grant, VCU's current coach, who is on a "make me some cash" tour of SEC schools right now. Which may explain why Grant isn't returning any phone calls to Alabama's athletic director.

Grant, of course, coached at Florida, and would, most likely, love to return there. For Donovan's part, he would get to go head-to-head with his mentor Rick Pitino, which, while difficult, would present a pretty spectacular challenge for a coach who has already won two national titles.

Again, none of this has actually happened. BUT IT COULD! And I actually think it will (the actions of all parties involved make way too much sense for those dominoes not to fall like that). So when it does, it should make for some pretty entertaining athletic sound bites. My guess is that Kentucky "pulls an A-Rod" and fires Gillispie in the middle of Louisville's Sweet 16 game, just to stick it to Pitino.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

11/21/09   |   johnshirey54   |   162 respect

Billy Donovan didn't leave Florida for a chance to coach in the NBA, why would he leave for Kentucky?

3/27/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

kantwistaye wrote:
Well... regardless of what your or my opinion of this may be, it will be interesting to watch.  I'm guessing Kentucky ends up with Travis Ford.

Two years to the date of Tubby's firing.
And UK will end up with Donovan..
But hopefully Jay Wright.

If we get Travis Ford, SOOOOO many fans will be SOOOOO pissed.

3/27/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

wrote:
4:30 news conference scheduled here in Lexington....he is gone!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4021232

Well... regardless of what your or my opinion of this may be, it will be interesting to watch.  I'm guessing Kentucky ends up with Travis Ford.

3/27/09   |   jaegergator

Except for the fact the Gainesville Sun has NOT run an article saying Donavan is to leave, the point that they did is a very good one.
Seems like you might want to link a story to back up your claim, Kinda hard though when no such story exists.

3/27/09   |   RichmondSpider

As much as I HATE UF and Billy Donovan - he would be a fool to leave UF - he has a dream job and is being paid well - as trip to UK would mean if he was not in the final 4 in 2 seasons his ass would be on the line.  UK fans are so desperate for a contender again, anything less is a failure for them.  Donovan needs to stay put and let someone else step into the lions den - rather the wildcat den.

3/27/09   |   ronnieward1973

Realfubar wrote:
 Expectations too high? They aren't the winningest program ever because expectations are low, thats for sure. High expectations are why they are who they are. Results, pertaining to anything, usually end up right about where expectations are. High expectations? Definitley, but I wouldn't expect fans of any other team to understand, how could you? Don't get me wrong, I don't expect them to be in the final four every year but I don't, however, think it is too much to expect the winningest most storied program ever to be in the dance EVERY year.
 The job done by Gillespie this season was a classic choke job, the team flat quit on him. No one will ever convince me that he didn't have enough talent to win a pretty weak SEC. Although I'm glad Tubby is gone, he could have gotten far with this team, but, coaching was never his problem. Gillespie is gone. It will be officially announced tomorrow at a noon or so press conference. It was decided before the SEC tourney even started. You can book this one also, they have Donovan.

lmao....time to fire donovan already then.....he was in the nit this year...that's it...he's fired......time to look for another coach........AGAIN

3/27/09   |   ronnieward1973

your not getting donovan.....go after calipari

3/26/09   |   Realfubar

 Expectations too high? They aren't the winningest program ever because expectations are low, thats for sure. High expectations are why they are who they are. Results, pertaining to anything, usually end up right about where expectations are. High expectations? Definitley, but I wouldn't expect fans of any other team to understand, how could you? Don't get me wrong, I don't expect them to be in the final four every year but I don't, however, think it is too much to expect the winningest most storied program ever to be in the dance EVERY year.
 The job done by Gillespie this season was a classic choke job, the team flat quit on him. No one will ever convince me that he didn't have enough talent to win a pretty weak SEC. Although I'm glad Tubby is gone, he could have gotten far with this team, but, coaching was never his problem. Gillespie is gone. It will be officially announced tomorrow at a noon or so press conference. It was decided before the SEC tourney even started. You can book this one also, they have Donovan.

3/26/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

Brinson wrote:
I totally agree -- Gillispie's was too successful at A&M to run off this early. But, and no offense to Kentucky fan, but Big Blue fans are reasonably knee jerk, so him getting canned would be hardly surprising. (And I say that as an NC State fan, and we obviously have much less history and might be worse.)

(See above post.)

3/26/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

Damondogg31 wrote:
Why would Donovan leave his job where he's got it made?   Of course money talks, but I can speak from being raised in Louisville, KY that UK, its boosters, and fans EXPECT so much from their coach that it's sick.   Kentucky has the conception that they are above all.    Mark Few, I think he'll take Arizona's job.    Calipari, maybe, but I think he likes things in Memphis being quiet and not as much media hype and attention as UK.    I don't like Gillespie, but he hasnt had enough time to prove he's worthy of coaching UK.

I agree about most of our fans.  It makes me sick that it is the stereotype of all UK fans, because some fans, including me, aren't like that.  I knew we wouldn't have a good year this year because we didn't have a point guard.  But with the addition of Konner Tucker, I expect to be a good team next year unless Meeks and Patterson back out on their decision and leave.

3/26/09   |   Damondogg31   |   4 respect

Why would Donovan leave his job where he's got it made?   Of course money talks, but I can speak from being raised in Louisville, KY that UK, its boosters, and fans EXPECT so much from their coach that it's sick.   Kentucky has the conception that they are above all.    Mark Few, I think he'll take Arizona's job.    Calipari, maybe, but I think he likes things in Memphis being quiet and not as much media hype and attention as UK.    I don't like Gillespie, but he hasnt had enough time to prove he's worthy of coaching UK.

3/26/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

wrote:
Rebuilding UK would make him a god in the state and being on top of the basketball world.
(Edited by kantwistaye)

I don't doubt that rebuilding Kentucky would make someone a god in Kentucky.  However, he has two titles already.  If he ever wins another one at Florida he'd cement his place as a coaching legend anyway.  I wouldn't be leaving the job security.  Plus, he's proven he can win there.

3/26/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

wrote:
Florida is and always will be a football school.  UK's program trumps Florida in every way and Billy D knows he can build an even bigger legacy at UK than he ever could at Florida.

In overall history, yes Kentucky trumps Florida's program.  Kentucky's programs runs laps around Florida's.  However, Billy Donavon has built a better current program than Kentucky's is right now.  He has nothing to gain by leaving. 

3/26/09   |   drthompson30

RIch Broooks should take over, he did breath life into the dead that was the UK Football program, maybe he can do the same whether he knows jack about basketball or not.  It couldn't hurt, it doesn't seem that Gillispie knows much about it either.

3/26/09   |   jaybrockstar

WhoDey wrote:

Fell off the map?  We're ranked 27th in the nation by ESPN.

And no matter what coach we have, we really will be a good team next year.
Patterson and Meeks are both expected to stay, plus Daniel Orton is coming in, he's fantastic.
Matt Pilgrim, a transfer will be a 3rd great big man.

Jon Hood is someone who can finally shoot the 3 besides Jodie.
Konner Tucker is a JUCO POINT GUARD!  UK has needed a tough point guard and we got him.
And Kevin Galloway and GJ Vilarino will also run the point as well some.

Darius Miller is emerging as a future star.  Top 15 team next year.

27th in ESPN is falling off the Map.  Im not saying that there is no talent in Kentucky nor am I bashing them at all.  I am just saying the what Pitino and Calapari are doing are leaving Kentucky in the dust. 

3/26/09   |   Boski93   |   375 respect

Eddie Munster will do just fine at KU.

3/26/09   |   derms33   |   17653 respect

Excellent move Kentucky...

3/26/09   |   Brinson

WhoDey wrote:
Brinson, there's been way too many rumors you should've waited until it's been confirmed until you post it.  :)
Here in Kentucky, it's been talked about ALL over the place, Pitino's coming, Donovan's coming, Gillespie is booted, Gillespie is staying, blah blah blah blah blah.

I like Donovan and would like having him as a coach, but I still think it is TOO EARLY to fire Gillespie, and this will be just another stupid move by AD Mitch Barnhart.

I totally agree -- Gillispie's was too successful at A&M to run off this early. But, and no offense to Kentucky fan, but Big Blue fans are reasonably knee jerk, so him getting canned would be hardly surprising. (And I say that as an NC State fan, and we obviously have much less history and might be worse.)

3/26/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

jaybrockstar wrote:
 Kentucky has really fell off the map in recruiting   Memphis and Louisville have stole the thunder.  If Donavon can reruit well (assuming he leaves Florida)then I don't see why Kentucky can return to National prominence once again.  Then again.  Who cares.  It's all about the Big East and ACC anyway. 

Fell off the map?  We're ranked 27th in the nation by ESPN.

And no matter what coach we have, we really will be a good team next year.
Patterson and Meeks are both expected to stay, plus Daniel Orton is coming in, he's fantastic.
Matt Pilgrim, a transfer will be a 3rd great big man.

Jon Hood is someone who can finally shoot the 3 besides Jodie.
Konner Tucker is a JUCO POINT GUARD!  UK has needed a tough point guard and we got him.
And Kevin Galloway and GJ Vilarino will also run the point as well some.

Darius Miller is emerging as a future star.  Top 15 team next year.

3/26/09   |   jaybrockstar

 Kentucky has really fell off the map in recruiting   Memphis and Louisville have stole the thunder.  If Donavon can reruit well (assuming he leaves Florida)then I don't see why Kentucky can return to National prominence once again.  Then again.  Who cares.  It's all about the Big East and ACC anyway. 

3/26/09   |   WhoDey   |   6 respect

Brinson, there's been way too many rumors you should've waited until it's been confirmed until you post it.  :)
Here in Kentucky, it's been talked about ALL over the place, Pitino's coming, Donovan's coming, Gillespie is booted, Gillespie is staying, blah blah blah blah blah.

I like Donovan and would like having him as a coach, but I still think it is TOO EARLY to fire Gillespie, and this will be just another stupid move by AD Mitch Barnhart.

3/26/09   |   DigitalSquire   |   1 respect

who else would UK hire ??? Im hoping the guy from Gonzaga goes to my beloved UofA Wildcats.

3/26/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4219 respect

Billy Donavon is insane if he leaves Florida for Kentucky.  Also, Florida will be just fine with Anthony Grant.

3/26/09   |   DigitalSquire   |   1 respect

good pickup if they actually get Donovan. but it will be very risky for donovan, he has to win almost immediately to keep the UK fans off his back.