Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie was released from the hospital last Thursday, where he spent six days after experiencing feelings that he thought were a heart attack or stroke. In the meantime, his coaching career could be crashing down around him.
Last week, word of Gillispie mistreating players surfaced as some said they were berated by the coach for their appearance and forced to practice long hours. Allegations have continued to surface from various players, coaches and staff at Texas Tech.
According to CBSSports.com, a total of 15 players have left the program since Gillispie took over in March of 2011. When you include coaches, trainers and other staff, the number increases to 30. The most recent person to bail on the Red Raiders was high-profile recruit Wannah Bail, whose departure was originally thought to have something to do with academics.
“It was because of Gillispie,” a source close to the program told CBSSports.com. “He couldn’t deal with him.”
Bail’s story is an example of one of the more minor issues players and employees have had with Gillispie. Former Indiana guard Tom Coverdale says he quit his job at Tyler Junior College when Gillispie offered him an assistant coaching position. When he arrived, he said he was informed that it was actually a strength position that paid about half of what he was promised. Several other coaches have claimed they were offered jobs only to have the offers pulled. Others say they took jobs and left because they had no idea what their role with the team was.
In addition to reportedly holding practices for eight hours a day (four is the minimum allowed by the NCAA), Gillispie has also been accused of forcing players to practice through serious injuries. Former Red Raider Jaron Nash, who transferred to North Dakota after last year’s 8-23 season, said Gillispie forced a player to practice with stress fractures in both legs last year. An anonymous source who was with the program last season identified the player as Kader Tapsoba, who did not play in 2011 as he was dealing with the fractures.
“He was literally crying at practice,” the source said. “He couldn’t even run and Gillispie had him running up and down the steps at the arena. I remember the doctor getting the X-rays back and coming to practice and telling Gillispie it was really bad. He’d just ice him up and tell him to go practice.
“He shouldn’t have been practicing. But (Gillispie) bullied everyone, including the trainer. He’d make the trainer make kids come back. Bodies were dropping like flies. One day I walked in and the whole team was in the training room. All the players and even the managers. He’d make them practice.”
Another source said former star player Jordan Tolbert suffered a four-inch gash across his fingers while dunking during practice last season. After he had his hand bandaged, Gillispie reportedly made Tolbert dunk the ball every time he caught it during practice the following day.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said on Tuesday that Gillispie has been told he is not to engage with the program “in any way” until the two have a face-to-face meeting to address the allegations. Gillispie is not currently making day-to-day decisions for the basketball program and is on an indefinite sick leave so he can focus on his health. At this point we’d be shocked if he was still the head men’s basketball coach at Texas Tech next season.Google+