Todd thinks Gillispie has grown into UK role

Billy Gillispie is approaching his one year anniversary on the job as the coach of the nation's winningest Division one program at Kentucky. Kentucky president Lee Todd thinks the coach is growing into the role and has learned a great deal about the program in the past year. It is impossible for anyone to comprehend the magnitude of the passion of the fans until it is experience first hand.

Kentucky president Lee Todd thinks Billy Gillispie has grown into his role as UK's coach this year and learned more about his job than he could have ever known when he was hired a year ago.

"I think coming into this job that Billy was so focused on what he felt that he had to do to be part of the winningest basketball program in America that he didn't realize how passionate everyone was," Todd said. "It probably took him a while to understand why all these requests were coming in and why all these expectations were there.

"He is such a tightly-wound individual and knew the job he had to do on the floor and that the season was coming at him, so he might have been really surprised by all the attention he got. He has done a spectacular job, though. At Dance Blue, in an impromptu fashion, he stopped by and talked to those 500 kids. He has done a lot of things people don't know about to be part of a community, and that will only get better."

"I think we came in that he was so focused on turning the basketball program in the direction that we wanted to get another (championship) banner that it took him a while to understand that there are a lot of other things — and he enjoys doing them — that he would be asked to do. Nobody would know that. I grew up in Kentucky, so when I took this job I knew how passionate Kentuckians were about sports. But coming in from the outside, you think you do but you only know it from the surface."

Plus, Todd says it wasn't all bad that Gillispie made coaching the team a priority.

"We did hire Billy to coach basketball. We wanted somebody focused and driven. That's what we have got," Todd said. "But I have got so many compliments in the last months about things he is doing.

"I think when he first came that there were so many requests for his time that he might have worried that was going to happen all year not realizing once the season started people would back off and would understand what his job was. It is a rapid learning process when you come into this position, but he's been through that now and that can only help him in the future."

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