Billy Gillispie named new Kentucky head coach

The University of Kentucky received permission to speak to Texas A&M head coach Billy Gillispie Thursday night. Gillispie has accepted the head coaching position at Kentucky and agreed to a seven year contract. The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

"Billy Gillispie has all the qualities we were looking for in Kentucky's next head coach," said University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart. "He is a tireless worker, a great recruiter and is passionate about winning and winning the right way. He will make the Commonwealth proud both as a coach and a person."

"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.

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