Mar. 27, 2009: Black Friday in the Commonwealth

Nathan TowlesCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2009

Over the past few days, since Kentucky lost to Notre Dame in the NIT tournament, there has been a dramatic change of events concerning the head coach.

The whole state of Big Blue Nation was waiting and holding its breath for the announcement that would follow at 4:30 on Friday afternoon.

The verdict: Termination of Billy Clyde Gillispie.

In a matter of moments, the nation was aware of what had happened in Lexington.

"After long and deliberate discussions, President (Lee T.) Todd and I have decided we must charter a new direction for the University of Kentucky men's basketball program." Mitch Barnhart said and reported on

"Unfortunately there are times when a situation and the people involved do not create the right chemistry or right fit. It is our belief that is where we are and where we find ourselves with Kentucky basketball today.

"For that reason, we decided to not bring Coach Gillispie back to lead our men's basketball program."

Not a shocker to some Kentucky fans, but most people around the nation was singing another tone.

Outside of Memorial Coliseum, students had made signs saying: Todd is a fraud and Fire the media, not Billy.

It seems that the fans are spilt down the middle. One person, that is not, is father of Kentucky star Jodie Meeks.

"You don't want to throw gasoline on the flames, but, clearly, a lot of things happened behind the scenes that made it difficult for the kids to play basketball and focus on winning," the Orestes Meeks said and reported to the Herald-Leader.

Normally, I do NOT enter my own opinions in my articles, but today I can just not help but enter in on this, knowing that I will get blasted.

Let me say this before I begin with my little rant. Please do not tell me that I am just another crazy UK fan. That I do not understand anything about college sports.

Playing baseball for a short time at the University of Kentucky, I still have family and friends that play a sport or go to the school.

I know the pressure of having to strive to be the best you can. I know how the fans can act towards you at times. I know the importance of any sport at Kentucky.

This was the right move at the right time for the University of Kentucky. They understood that it was going to get worse before it got better.

It is a bad situation for the man. However, when the man says that Kentucky is just another name in college basketball, I don't feel sorry for him.

Kentucky is NOT just another name in college basketball; Texas A&M is just another name, but not Kentucky.

That is enough of my soap box, the rest cannot be said here.

Now the task of hiring the right coach will be put upon Mitch Barnhart again. This time he knows that he must get it right or his job will be next.

Kentucky has said that they will take its time in deciding the new "caretaker" for the program.

Some names have already been taking out in Billy Donovan and Tom Izzo. Some have commented on that they love where they are out now, but have came short to rule out going to Kentucky.

Here is the short list of coaches that could take the job:

  • Travis Ford
  • Current job: Oklahoma State
  • 2008-2009 record: 23-12
  • Overall record: 146-127

This could be the man that will be the next coach. He is true Kentucky boy. He is a Ex-UK player. He understands what Kentucky means. He reminds some of a young Rick Pitino. If Kentucky calls, Ford will most likely come home to the Bluegrass.

  • Jamie Dixon
  • Current job: Pittsburgh
  • 2008-2009 record: 31-4, but still in tournament
  • Overall record: 163-4

Could be bought at a high price. He know how to coach and understands the game. It is unknown at this time to committed he is to the Pitt program. He is a California guy, so he doesn't understand Kentucky tradition.

  • Mike Anderson
  • Current job: Missouri
  • 2008-2009 record: 31-7
  • Overall record: 154-76

The style of play that he desires is the same that Kentucky fans love to watch. Most Kentucky fans know him because he was the coach at UAB in 2004. That was when the blazers upset the No. 1 seed Kentucky.

He has had five losing seasons to his name. Missouri is in talks to keep Anderson, but anything could happen.

Stay tuned to the Kentucky basketball homepage for updates on the coaching search.


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