The tenure of Texas Tech head basketball coach Billy Gillispie is over after one year, a year that didn't go at all as planned.
Gillispie resigned Thursday after weeks of uncertainty surrounding the program. The Red Raiders went 8-23 last year, only winning one conference game. Most recently the coach had experienced serious health concerns, and that is the reason cited in his resignation.
The crisis had been building for almost three weeks. Gillispie was the subject of complaints by players and the story quickly became a national subject of interest among college basketball observers. Almost simultaneously, Gillispie was hospitalized with what he said were "unusual headaches and kidney problems".
Gillispie was just days away from starting his second season with the team. He'd brought in almost most ten new players, a strong handful of whom were highly recruited. Gillispie, who was named head coach on March 20, 2011, will be paid for the remainder of this contract year that runs until April 30, 2013.
The beginning of the end came in January, when the team served sanctions for violating NCAA limits on the number of hours it was allowed to practice per week. That information was made public by Athletics director Kirby Hocutt in early September. He said Gillispie agreed to a "no tolerance" policy regarding any further infraction.
A timeline of what's happened since then:
August 31st: Players were questioned by the compliance office about reports that once again the team was practicing for too many hours per week. Immediately after, they met as a group with Hocutt and discussed their concerns and complaints about the coach.
Hocutt wanted to meet with the coach about it, but that same morning Gillispie called 911 and was admitted to University Medical Center for what he said felt like a heart attack or chest pains.
He was there six days.
On September 11th, Gillispie left Lubbock for Rochester, Minnesota, to check into the Mayo Clinic for tests and treatment.
That same day, Hocutt named Chris Walker the temporary head coach, and said saying Gillispie was to have no contact with the program until he could meet with him face to face.
Three days later.. Gillispie was back in town.
Thursday, September 20, Gillispie and Texas Tech work out the terms of Gillispie's resignation
*FOX 34's Kurt Kiser spoke with Aaron Dickens of RedRaiderSports.com about the nature of the player complaints, the January sanctions and the last two weeks, during which Hocutt is reported to have had a difficult time locating the former coach. (No transcript available, please watch video).
*FOX 34's Kurt Kiser spoke with attorney Curtis Parrish about the differences between the Gillispie case and the release and subsequent litigation between the university and former football coach Mike Leach. (No transcript available, please watch video).
To view this entire report, including interviews with Aaron Dickens and Curtis Parrish, click the video player to the right. Due to the length of the report, please allow extra time for the video to load.
Statement on Texas Tech website::
"Texas Tech Head Men's Basketball Coach Billy Gillispie has submitted his letter of resignation to Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt, citing health concerns as his reason for leaving the men's basketball program. Hocutt has accepted the resignation.
Billy has decided to focus on his health and we wish him a full recovery," Hocutt said. "We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy's decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season."
Gillispie, who was named head coach on March 20, 2011, will be paid for the remainder of this contract year that runs until April 30, 2013.
Chris Walker, associate head coach, will continue to handle day-to-day operations of the men's basketball program until an interim head coach for the 2012-13 season has been identified."