Vitale was so adamant that Billy Donovan wouldn't come to Kentucky that he made comments that I thought were offensive.
Although Vitale was right, he shouldn't have slammed the fan base, which welcomes him with open arms each and every time he comes to Rupp Arena. Most of the national media – the ones I consider located outside the realm of the Big Blue circle – blasted the Wildcat fans for being so passionate about basketball and repeatedly said the job would be too great for anyone to achieve success.
I couldn't help but shake my head. Who wouldn't want to succeed at a premier program like Kentucky?
As Gillispie noted in his introductory press conference, being in a pressure cooker isn't a bad thing, and it's not.
Tell me a coach who doesn't want to coach at an institution that doesn't care about winning? Most wouldn't and would be on the first plane out of town if there wasn't a commitment from the administration and support from the fans.
Gillispie has the passion and the drive to succeed and will feed off the fans' expectations and do his best to put a top-notch team on the floor on a yearly basis.
Most arenas are lucky to be "sold out" on a consistent basis, especially a 24,000-seat venue such as Rupp Arena. Most coaches don't like coaching in front of several hundred fans.
Any coach likes exposure and the more, the better.
That's why Gillispie jumped at the opportunity to come and coach the Wildcats. He understands that a job such as this one doesn't come around every other year.
An added bonus? He wanted to be at Kentucky, plus it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Billy Clyde welcomes the expectations, but more importantly shares the same passion for Kentucky basketball that the fans have -- a winning combination.
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