WKYT-TV reports Tuesday night that Billy Gillispie “has checked himself in the John Lucas After Care Program in Houston, Texas. It’s a substance abuse recovery program that has two treatment centers, a physcial fitness program and an aftercare program with counselors.”
(Flashback: ESPNer slammed by Gillispie after spurning his amorous advance)
Not known is how long Gillispie will remain at the rehab facility. We also don’t know the exact reason Gillispie checked himself in, but it isn’t too hard to guess.
The move isn’t exactly unexpected. On August 27th, Gillispie was charged in the early morning hours with DUI for the third time since 1999. Gillispie has since had his right to drive in Kentucky revoked. (He had only been in the state to negotiate a settlement on his terminated contract with UK.)
After just two seasons as UK Coach, Gillispie was fired for producing lackluster results on the court - and most likely also making questionable judgments off it.
Last February I reported that Gillispie openly mocked on-air questions from ESPN sideline reporter Jeanine Edwards after she had previously turned down his off-court amorous advance. Following my report, the athletic dept. at the Univ. of Kentucky went out of its way to mend fences with ESPN, allowing the network’s reporters unprecedented access to the Wildcat program.
There’s also been speculation that the Edwards’ episode helped contribute to Gillispie’s dismissal.
I’d like to think Gillispie has checked into rehab to truly kick whatever substance abuse problem he may have. But the cynic in me knows it could also be a sympathy play for his upcoming DUI proceeding in a Kentucky court.
Why the negative sentiment? Check out USA TODAY’s recap of Gillispie’s El Paso DUI charge in 2003:
The Texas case drew a lot of attention, however, because Gillispie had been stopped after driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Also, he handed police officers a credit card instead of his license when he was first asked for identification.
Afterward, Gillispie sent more than 1,000 handwritten letters of apology to UTEP season-ticket holders, according to the El Paso Times.
Gillispie was provided a car service while at UK, but mere months after his termination at the school, he was back (allegedly) driving drunk.
Now, with Gillispie’s personal life and career in ruins, perhaps he finally has met the criteria he apparently required to clean up his life.