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Kentucky Hires Gillispie

Kentucky got their man, hiring Billy Gillispie away from Texas A&M. Gillispie, a former Bill Self assistant, has had a meteoric rise: after a two-year stint at UTEP, he spent three years at A&M before getting the offer from Kentucky.

As Self's assistant at Illinois, he put together the main components of the team which pushed UNC in the title game. He wasn't at UTEP long enough to recruit well, but did at A&M, where he was building an impressive program.

According to SI's Luke Winn, Gillispie says that "...more than anything else he enjoys coaching, so much that he admitted to SI his life is 'imbalanced' -- to the degree that he is divorced, has no pets, has no food in the fridge, and has little time to concentrate on anything other than the job at hand, which now is returning Kentucky to the ranks of the elite."

The odds of Kentucky hiring a coach with three years of experience weren't that great, but that's perhaps not as surprising as hiring one with a history of drunk driving: Gillispie has two DWIs on his record. Kentucky, you may recall, put a zero tolerance policy in place for athletes. One wonders if it is the same for coaches (and administrators). The players who got in trouble under the policy are also entitled to wonder. And the state chapter of MAAD is not likely to be happy.

And the arrests bring up the question of why? From all accounts, Gillispie is a driven man, and it seems fair to assume that drinking is a way to get away from self-imposed pressure a bit. How those things will intersect with the pressure Kentucky's job naturally brings is an open question.

But pretty clearly, Gillispie also gives Kentucky fans something they've been wanting: a guy who'll go balls-out to get talent and who will push them as hard as he can to get results. Should be an interesting marriage.