The Kentucky Wildcats have their man! They lucked out by getting Billy -- no, not Donovan, but Billy Gillispie.
The Billy than landed in Lexington is a solid coach who built a winner at Texas A&M in a very short time. Gillispie will bring that charm, personality and recruiting ability to Rupp Arena. It should be a great fit as the new coach loves the Kentucky Derby!
He will work around the clock to get recruits in. Gillispie has a great work ethic and his knowledge of the game will translate well to the Kentucky program. He's a natural and he will be the most eligible bachelor in Lexington, Kentucky.
He did an amazing job in College Station, and the fans there have to be heartbroken tha he said bye-bye. He's going to a place that has the greatest practice facility in America, a state-of-the-art $30 million complex. I saw it in person and words can't describe how beautiful that facility is ... it's the creme de la creme.
It will help Kentucky in recruiting for sure. The Wildcat program is a lot like Notre Dame football, one of the elites in America, baby! They have the most passionate fans in America and most of them are beautiful, diehards who appreciate their team. There are a few that get a little wacky and make their expectations unreal. That comes with the passion and love of Big Blue.
Gillispie is an amazing story. He was an assistant coach at Illinois several years ago, and now he is numero uno running the Kentucky hoop program, a traditional contender.
Pride and passion for basketball, plus phenomenal facilities and a sellout crowd at Rupp Arena for each home game and it all adds up to something very special. It also equals a lot of Ws.
At Kentucky, it is win baby win. We have learned in recent years that 20-win seasons don't get it done; just look at what Tubby Smith did by averaging 26.3 wins over the span of a decade. That was not good enough to appease some fans. Nor was the fact he won five SEC regular season titles or five SEC tournament championships. Expectations are high in Kentucky.
Being coach at Kentucky is special and Gillispie will try to become a star in the state, going up against Louisville's Rick Pitino. The new Wildcat coach will work hard and he has a love for recruiting.
Let me tell you, Gillispie is also a very generous guy. I spoke to him about the Jimmy V Foundation and he immediately joined the President's Club, donating $50,000. He explained to me at the time that his dad was battling cancer.
Wow, Pitino vs. Gillispie should be an exciting rivalry. Fans in Lexington should be happy with that choice.
Look for big things out of Kentucky as Gillispie will have an immediate impact.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.