"As a lifelong University of Kentucky fan, I am excited what Billy Gillispie will bring to this program – an unmatched work ethic and exciting style of play," said UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. "We all understand Kentucky fans expect to win, but I'm confident we have a coach who also shares Mitch Barnhart and my philosophy of winning the right way – with a clean program run with integrity."
Gillispie has the reputation of being a fearless leader with an untiring work ethic. He has shown the ability to turn around programs in short order, taking a 7-21 Texas A&M team to a record of 21-10 in his first year of coaching them before finishing 27-7 this year, bowing out as a # 3 seed in the Sweet 16.
In just three seasons at Texas A&M, the three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year engineered one of the most amazing turnarounds in college basketball history, leading ESPN's Steve Lavin, among others, to christen him a "miracle worker."
In the 2006-07 season, Gillispie, who was a finalist for the 2007 Naismith National Coach of the Year and Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, led the Aggies to a school record 27-7 record which included a school best No. 3 seed in the NCAA's, in which they advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1980.
In addition to leading the Aggies to a final No. 9 ranking in 2007, he led A&M to a top 10 ranking in both polls for 11 straight weeks. Before the 2007 season, the last time A&M was ranked in the top 10 in either poll was Jan. 3, 1979, when the Aggies were ranked 10th by the AP. The only other time A&M was ranked in the top 10 was a four-week run in the AP poll in 1959-60. That team was ranked No. 8 one week and 10th the following three weeks.
Gillispie was reported to have agreed to a contract extension with Texas A&M, but San Antonio newspapers reported the extension had not been signed.