Billy Gillispie spoke about the speculation of the past few weeks concerning Oklahoma State's interest in hiring him as their next head coach. What I find interesting is the denial that no "decision-makers" contacted him. As Tru notes in his thoughts on the matter it seems as if someone called on behalf of the university, but Gillispie did not take the bait. Good for him, and good for UK.
Also, I think it is very revealing of Gillispie's character that he did not want to publicly issue a statement amid all of the swirling rumors for fear of "disrespecting" the OSU program. It proves that one can be tough as a twice-cooked pork chop, yet still be courteous. Unlike some other SEC coaches.
It is purely "backward" speculation, but I feel OSU did not want to be turned down by another high profile coach after native son Bill Self decided to keep his National Championship trophy close by. OSU AD Mike Holder probably decided it prudent to direct an "interested party" to discreetly contact Gillispie to gauge his interest in the position. Evidently Gillispie showed no interest, which speaks well for his current state-of-mind concerning his time in Lexington.
In my view, Travis Ford and OSU are both winners in the final analysis. By hiring the Madisonville native, Holder gets a true up-and-comer from the coaching ranks with a proven ability to revive downtrodden programs. Ford, in only 5 years, took an EKU program that was floundering badly and turned them into an NCAA Tournament team. UMass had struggled since John Calipari left for the New Jersey Nets, but Ford took the Minutemen to two consecutive postseasons. Oklahoma State certainly doesn't qualify as "downtrodden", but they have experienced a dip in their rate of success over the last few years. If Ford holds true to form it won't be long before OSU is challenging Kansas and Texas for supremacy in the Big 12. From an unabashed Travis Ford admirer, here's hoping Ford can beckon the ghost of Henry Iba to aid in the revival.
Odd indeed: After Leonard Hamilton, Eddie Sutton, and Sean Sutton, Ford is the fourth head coach in a row with strong ties to UK to matriculate to OSU.
Thanks for reading, and go Reds!