Billy Gillispie wants to get back into coaching. He made that much clear in February, when he claimed that he had learned the lessons of his short-lived Kentucky tenure, had emerged from his post-Kentucky legal troubles (Gillispie plead guilty to DUI in November) with a clear head, that he had no resentment toward John Calipari's success at the program, and that he was ready to get back into coaching after his year away from the game. He sounded contrite, sincere, and not at all like the angry, petulant Gillispie Kentucky fans came to know so well. He seemed ready.
Trouble is, no one seems as eager to give Gillispie a job as Gillispie is to have one. He missed out on UTEP, which went to Tim Floyd, and the coaching search process has largely come and gone without him. But there is one last vacancy out there -- Iowa State. According to the Des Moines Register, Gillispie is already working the phones on his own behalf.
He is one of three current or former coaches who called former Cyclone basketball star Gary Thompson after news spread that Greg McDermott was headed to Creighton. “I had a call from Billy right away,” Thompson said. “He’s interested. I had a call from two others who are interested, too.”
Thompson wouldn't tell the Register who those two other candidates are, so the focus here will be Gillispie. Will Iowa State hire him?
Not anytime soon, probably. But if ISU looks up and down the list of open jobs and available candidates, a candidate list that has shrunk considerably in the month since the Final Four, Gillispie will be the candidate that offers the highest reward. He's a good coach. He coached well at UTEP and at Texas A&M before floundering under the pressure at Kentucky. He's also, given his volatile personal history, the biggest risk. Taking on Gillispie would be a bold move, one that could boost Iowa State's fortunes both in the short term and the long. It could also go horribly wrong. What Iowa State chooses will have everything to do with how the school wants to manage that risk.