Inside Billy Gillispie: His own thoughts

As the exhibition season has concluded and the season begins, KSR takes a look at what the Kentucky fan base can expect from coach Billy Gillispie, according to the world's foremost expert on the subject—Billy Clyde Gillispie, as he relays his thoughts in various coaching clinics. Today's first of a two-part series focuses on Coach Gillispie's recruiting and his relationship with his players.

Much of being a successful basketball coach relates to, well, the relationship with the players. Of course, to enjoy the most success, the players must be very talented, too. How does one foster that kind of relationship? How does one obtain those players? Picture Billy Gillispie in his coaching warmups, speaking to a group of fellow coaches on precisely these areas. This is what he told them.

Gillispie on recruiting and marketing the program.
  • Get good players.
  • Write letters to players' homes.
  • Best to use handwritten notes rather than email.
  • Employ your former players at your camps.
  • Get out of your office to sell your program.
  • Make a highlight tape for every player.
  • Have a media day for your program (even if it's only one reporter).

    Obviously, Gillispie has some built-in advantages at the University of Kentucky that not every school would enjoy. Can you imagine a media day for UK with only one reporter?

    Some of his other points ring true even at UK, however. We have already seen his early recruiting land blue-chip prospects Patrick Patterson and Alex Legion, and with many other commitments yet to sign. We have also already seen Gillispie reaching out to former players--not just at the camps, but in other venues as well. As an example, Gillispie invited former UK All-American Kyle Macy to attend SEC Media Days with the Kentucky contingency a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham. Word has it that more and more former player involvement will be seen in Lexington.

    Last year saw Gillispie's Texas A&M team finish in the top 10 in the nation, and a special relationship was observed between Gillispie and All-American Acie Law. Gillispie accompanied Law to end-of-year banquets honoring the All-American, as well as to New York for the NBA draft to see the lottery pick selected. How does Gillispie reach this point with his players when they arrive on campus?

    Gillispie on fostering and maintaining relationships with players

  • Make statements to and from your team. Ask team for statements.
  • Everybody has to change—including you.
  • Make sure players do not feel like a commodity—treat them as individuals.
  • Love your players, and they'll love you back.
  • Get the best gear for your players.
  • Develop players.
  • Take your players to a college or pro game.
  • Special teams think of others first
  • Be accessible to everyone.
    Be sure and check back tomorrow for Gillispie's views on running practices, and preparing to be a winning, championship program, including players, coaches, and family. KSR thanks Coach Peterman of Men's Basketball Hoopscoop for his invaluable input and coaching notes.

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