One of the most talked about professional mentors of Billy Gillispie has been Kansas Jayhawk coach Bill Self. The guys have a history together that goes back pretty far. From day one at UK, it was known that Self was 'his guy' and we all hoped Billy Clyde would be as successful as his mentor. Obviously, things didn't work out as planned.
I have always been interested in seeing how their relationship worked. Self has been very quiet regarding Billy's transgression at both UK and Texas Tech, but he spoke up today. Bill Self defended Gillispie in a long message to Jason King at ESPN
today. While this long rambling message claims to not be a 'defense', it is clear that it is. Give the full transcript a read, but I decided to pull a few of my favorite Self quotes and add some commentary:
I will say this: To have players who have only been in a program for a year or two and be such experts on what it takes to win and how to be treated is a little bit hard to grasp.
Yes, let's bash the kids who were abused. That's the noble move here.
"I'm sure he's done some things as a coach that he looked back on and said, 'Whoa ... I got up against the line today. I toed the line a little bit.'
"I know it's over, but I see the signs. Don't let me waste your precious time" - Rocky Burnette, "Tired of Toein' the Line"
His way works. No one can deny that.
False. Watch -- he missed the NCAA tournament while at arguably the best program of all time. That's the opposite of 'working'.
[...] now we've heard from guys who say, 'Oh man, he was so hard on me but I'm a better man for it.'
Replace "better" with "broken" and you've got it.
If you're a player or someone in his program, you've got to go through some things.
I'm not defending him.
Yes, you are.
Two-hour practices feel like four-hour practices when you don't win.
So what do actual above NCAA rules four-hour practices feel like then?
I still just don't see how so many things can become public from such a short amount of time from sources that are supposedly inside the department. Basketball teams are supposed to be a family.
Spot on. When sick people taking out their problems on their family and cause them injury, it's best to keep that 'in the family'.
How many young kids -- freshmen, newcomers or junior-college transfers that come into a college program -- have an easy time during their first few months with their new coach?
This is a completely irrelevant question when you consider this has happened EVERYWHERE Billy has been.
As far as making guys practice and play when they're hurt, it's unfathomable to me that the guy that I know would put anyone out there in harm's way intentionally. I have a hard time believing he would do that.
By all means, fathom it.
The bottom line is this: It takes some energy and a strong commitment to go into a league that is as competitive as the Big 12 and try to build a program.
And booze, clearly. Lots of booze.
He's trying to develop the foundation for a great program, and he wants everyone associated with the program -- not just the players and assistants, but everyone -- to work just as hard as him in whatever role they may have.
Don't forget the sports media folks.
I know what defending Billy Gillispie looks like, and this is it. I spent two years doing it while he was at UK, and it was a tiring process. Self is a great coach and seems like a good guy, but I think he would have been a lot better off here just saying that it's clear there are issues with BCG that he need to be worked on. Instead, he comes off as rationalizing and defending a lot of questionable actions. In the end, however, Self does eventually admit blame may very well lie with Gillispie and says it must be investigated