Gillispie has been hospitalized twice in the past month for issues related to stress and high blood pressure. The health issues surfaced in concert with an ESPN.com report of a player mutiny, in which all nine of the team’s remaining scholarship players went to Hocutt in late August to complain about Gillispie’s mistreatment of players, citing “mind games” and marathon practices.
The Red Raiders posted an 8-23 record last year in Gillispie’s first season at the school, winning only one game against a Big 12 opponent. Since the season ended, six players have transferred.
In a prepared statement, Hocutt cited only the health issues while announcing the coach’s departure Thursday.
“Billy has decided to focus on his health and we wish him a full recovery,” Hocutt said in the statement. “We are proud of the young men that he has brought to this campus. Billy’s decision allows him to concentrate on his well-being and allows us to turn our attention to preparations for the upcoming season.”
Chris Walker, the team’s associate head coach, has been handling day-to-day operations of the basketball program in Gillispie’s absence and school officials said Walker will continue to do so until an interim head coach for the 2012-13 season has been identified.
Before taking the Tech job, Gillispie spent two seasons at Kentucky. He was fired after missing the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and accused, at that time, of behavioral problems with players. Gillispie, who entered the John Lucas After Care Program in Houston in 2009 following his third DUI arrest since 1999, earned a reputation for running tough practices while helping turn around programs at UTEP and Texas A&M before taking the job at Kentucky.
_ Jimmy Burch