Exclusive: Bully Gillispie Already Wrecking Tech

Last we left Billy Gillispie here at SbB, he had signed away as much as $3 million of his own money as part of “loan” agreement - at up to 65% annual interest! - with now-outed Ponzi schemer Jim Donnan.

Donnan, Franchione and Gillispie part of alleged Ponzi scheme

(Gillispie may have lost millions in two separate Ponzi schemes this summer)

The extent of Gillispie’s astonishing losses in the Donnan Ponzi, unreported in the media, came after Pablo Torre of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reported last month that Gillispie monetary loss in an alleged Ponzi involving a Houston businessman may have also reached well into seven figures.

It isn’t unreasonable to think that had those revelations surfaced before Gillispie was hired by Texas Tech in March to take over its basketball program, he may not have gotten the job. Though Gillispie’s lacking business acumen is most likely the last concern Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and TT Chancellor Kent Hance has about Gillispie at the moment.

Since Gillispie was named Texas Tech coach four months ago, several basketball staffers have left the program. Included in those defections is well-respected Red Raider trainer Jon Murray, whose 13-year Tech tenure included the Bob and Pat Knight years.

Longtime Tech basketball secretary Leslie Hartline, whose TT athletic dept. career traversed the entire Knight era at Tech, also recently walked out on Gillispie. Though Texas Tech officials have since prevailed upon Hartline to stay on as an administrative assistant with the school’s fundraising Red Raider Club.

Gillispie is now on his third secretary since taking the Tech job four months ago.

While some may write off those defections, among others, as typical turnover due to a coaching change, the situation involving former Tech basketball assistant Chris Beard cannot be similarly ascribed.

Beard recently left the program after serving as a Tech basketball assistant for nine years under Bob and Pat Knight - and being retained by Gillispie. But two months after Gillispie officially announced that Beard would stay on, the assistant coach’s departure was suddenly, and quietly, announced by the school and Gillispie.


Chris Beard’s tenure on Billy Gillispie’s staff was a short one.

The Texas Tech men’s basketball assistant coach announced Thursday that he’s leaving his post to pursue other opportunities less than three months after being hired.

Beard was the associate head coach under former head coach Pat Knight, who was fired in March after three seasons. Billy Gillispie reinstated Beard on April 7, making him the first member of his staff.

Gillispie would only comment through a statement released by Texas Tech on Thursday evening.

“We hate to lose Chris,” Gillispie said in the statement. “He did a fantastic job and we appreciate the effort. He has been an important part of the program for several years and in the time we were together, it was obvious he has a great love for this university and this community.”

Beard could not be reached for comment.

“I’ve enjoyed and appreciate the opportunity to coach at Texas Tech University,” Beard said in a statement. “My family and I have equally enjoyed living in Lubbock. I wish Texas Tech nothing but the best.”

The Beard quote? He never said it. Tech made it up.

Beard left the program after multiple, heated altercations with the irascible and intractable Gillispie, the final of which was physically broken up by Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt.

That final conflict was a mediation of sorts after Beard had previously decided to leave the program because of Gillispie’s poor treatment of Tech employees, a former player and concern over Gillispie’s fast-and-loose recruiting tactics.

Remember, Beard was a guy who got along famously with Bob Knight throughout the notorious coach’s tenure and was a close confidante of Pat Knight as his top assistant. Gillispie was also a previous admirer of Beard, having tried to hire Beard at one of his previous coaching stops.

But the throwdown in front of Tech AD Hocutt was the final straw for Beard, who was cursed by Gillispie on multiple occasions in front of Hocutt before responding to the Tech coach in kind.

In exchange for Beard’s silence about Gillispie’s ill-advised stewardship of the program, Texas Tech has since paid Beard a hefty sum in an exit agreement that included a confidentiality clause. (Beard was not a source for this story, nor did he initiate or have any role whatsoever in its production or publication.)

Billy Clyde Gillispie

(Someone needs a wakeup call. Literally)

Beyond rampant, voluntary staff defections and the alarming circumstances surrounding Beard’s departure, Tech officials also have current concerns about Gillispie’s increasingly erratic behavior and well-chronicled fondness for, shall we say, a spirited off-court lifestyle.

Check back here for followups to this story - and at my Twitter and Facebook account.

Video: Tech’s Tuberville Reacts To SbB Facebook

Yesterday morning I posted three entries to my Facebook page that provided some insight into how Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville is adjusting to life as the Red Raiders head football coach.

Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville reacts to SbB Facebook Posts About Him

The entries were entirely based on conversations with three different sources, two of whom are current football coaches at major college football programs and an athletic department staffer also at a major football school. All three know Tuberville personally and have talked to him about the Texas Tech situation.

From those conversations, it was made clear to me that Tuberville was not entirely pleased with how things were going at Tech. In fact, as I said yesterday, Tuberville was downright “miserable.”

SbB Facebook entry #1:

Tuberville is absolutely miserable at Texas Tech. Wishes he hadn’t heeded advice of Under Armour folks and taken TTU job. One of his complaints is ADs Myers/Hocutt are powerless to keep admins and boosters in check. Leach refused to kiss their rings, and you see what that got him. #tubs has told multiple sources he wishes he’d taken USF job over TTU.

SbB Facebook entry #2:

As time goes by, Mike Leach is only going to look more and more like the genius he really was at Texas Tech. He didn’t need great players to win, which is why he was such a great fit there. BCG will be similar. Recruits to his system, which works. Don’t need blue chips to win. #tubs another story.

SbB Facebook Entry #3:

How’s this for awkward: #tubs backchanneled interest to Miami after Shannon was fired. The Miami Athletic Director at that time? Kirby Hocutt, who was just hired as new Texas Tech AD.

After practice yesterday, Tuberville talked about my Facebook posts to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, DAILY TOREADOR, and NBC Texas affiliate KCBD.

Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville reacts to SbB Facebook Posts About Him

Tuberville told KCBD-TV’s Pete Christy:

“I don’t know where that came from. How about this weather here? Whoever wrote that blog needs to come down here. He probably doesn’t have weather this nice.

“But no, this is a great place. We’re gonna build something here that people can be proud of, but I think that comes from a lot of people who probably would hope we would pack up and leave.

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a tough challenge the next couple of years getting it to where we want to get it to, but I would imagine that’s coming from across the river somewhere that they would hope I would go somewhere else.”

Two things stand out from those comments. Read more…

Gillispie Formally Meets With TTU, Hiring Imminent

Former Kentucky and Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie met with new Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, school president Guy Bailey and TTU chancellor Kent Hance - along with other representatives of the school -  this morning in Boca Raton, Florida.

Billy Gillispie

(BCG met with AD Hocutt in Florida & Texas Tech officials in Dallas last week)

The meeting, which took place in south Florida because Hocutt’s last official day as Univ. of Miami Athletic Director isn’t until Friday, was to allow for a formal interview of Gillispie for the vacant Texas Tech basketball coaching job. Read more…

Sources: Wyoming Wants Kent, BCG Talks To TTU

On Feb. 7, I broke the news that Wyoming had fired head basketball coach Heath Schroyer.

Billy Gillispie and Ernie Kent: Kent to Wyoming, Gillispie to Texas Tech

(Gillispie and Kent: Two guys who could use a hug)

At the time I suggested that the job was perhaps the worst in college coaching because of Schroyer’s salary, a paltry $160,000, and Wyoming’s somewhat lacking hoops facilities.

Since that time things have apparently changed in Laramie.

I was told yesterday that Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman is attempting to make as splashy a hire as possible under the circumstances. (A hire that may go a long way to saving his job.) Facilitating Burman in that endeavor has been Univ. of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan, who has stepped up the school’s financial backing to allow Burman to pursue more recognizable names.

Until recently, rumored candidates throughout the process have been former Wyoming head coach and current Florida assistant Larry Shyatt, BYU assistant Dave Rice, USF assistant Jeremy Cox, St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap and Kansas assistant Joe Dooley.

I’ve also been told that there was a major push by Wyoming boosters to try to get Billy Gillispie some consideration for the job. Despite the search firm involved in the process signing off on BCG and school president Buchanan also approving of Gillispie consideration, Burman nixed an interview for the former Kentucky coach. That despite Bill Self personally calling the school to recommend his former assistant at Tulsa after Gillispie made it known he had interest in the job. (Regardless of what you may hear, he did.) Read more…

UM: Same Coach Headhunter Who Hired Shannon

Here’s an ASSOCIATED PRESS report on the vacant University of Miami football coaching position:

Randy Shannon Chuck Neinas

The Miami athletic director said he and Chuck Neinas, a consultant the school hired to help conduct the search, have not compiled a list of interviewees yet.

Some names though have been bandied about as possible candidates, including Jim Leavitt, Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach. Some NFL coaches are also in the mix.

Here’s another ASSOCIATED PRESS report on the vacant University of Miami football coaching position:

The Miami Athletic Director moved swiftly, already enlisting the help of Chuck Neinas — a consultant who specializes in finding the coaches for schools — and giving him an initial list of candidates. The school would not divulge who the initial targets are, and stressed that it will take as much time as it needs to make the right hire.

Speculation has centered on Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville and former NFL Coach Jon Gruden — each of whom would be a splashy get.

Amazingly similar stories, considering they were written four years apart nearly to the day.

The first story was published Nov, 30, 2006. The second, Nov. 29, 2010.

In 2006, it was the same coach headhunter Neinas who eventually recommended Miami hire Randy Shannon.

On Nov. 30, 2006, the same day as the first story, the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL reported of the Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee’s coaching search:

Dee said he’s been in contact with agents, and talks to consultant Chuck Neinas — who UM hired to expedite the process — two or three times a day.

Dec. 7, 2006, the Sun-Sentinel broke the news of the Shannon hire with:

Shannon was among a short list of candidates Athletic Director Paul Dee and a selection committee (including consultant Chuck Neinas) interviewed this week at the College Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. 

Four years later, Neinas is once again heading the Miami football coach search. But only after the Univ. of Miami forks over around $50,000 for his services.

Why go back to Neinas? Perhaps this snippet from a SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL profile of current Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt provides a clue:

Hocutt took those lessons with him, learning at the feet of some of the giants in college administration. There was Chuck Neinas at the College Football Association and later Joe Castiglione at Oklahoma.

Neinas hired Hocutt for his first job out of college in 1995.

Hocutt is far from alone though in his questionable call of hiring the same search firm that recommended the coaching candidate the same school most recently fired. (Now that’s a business model.)

Neinas, who is based in Boulder, was working on Colorado’s behalf when he recommended the school hire Gary Barnett, who was later fired. CU went back to Neinas for Barnett’s replacement, who then placed Dan Hawkins in the job.

With Hawkins’ recent, unceremonious ouster, one guess who is leading the search for the next Buffaloes coach?

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that Neinas also placed current Colorado AD Mike Bohn at CU.  (Bohn is, not surprisingly, on the ropes now himself.)

Here’s an abbreviated list of some of Neinas’ greatest hits over the years.

Colorado (1999) - Gary Barnett
Texas A&M (2002) - Dennis Franchione
Baylor Football (2002) - Guy Morriss
Notre Dame (2002) - George O’Leary (whoops!)
Notre Dame (2002) - Tyrone Willingham
Colorado Football (2005) - Dan Hawkins
San Diego State (2005) - Chuck Long
Kansas State (2005) - Ron Prince
Washington (2006)  - Tyrone Willingham
Miami (2006) - Randy Shannon

Okay, Neinas has also made some good hires along the way, like Urban Meyer at Florida.

So maybe this time he’ll get it right at Miami.

And Colorado. And Indiana. And Minnesota. And North Tex… okay I’ll stop.

U. Getting Gruden Screw Like NFL Network Did?

Sunday speculation exploded in the Miami media that Jon Gruden was closing in on a deal to coach the Miami Hurricanes.

Jon Gruden leaking pseudo interest in Miami job?

Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD Tweeted Sunday evening, “Hearing Jon Gruden has agreed to $3.4 mil deal to become #UM’s next coach. Trying hard to confirm it officially.

Earlier Sunday Steve Gorten of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL had reported, “According to a UM source, former NFL coach Jon Gruden initiated contact with the university to express his desire for the job and that the interest is mutual.

Gruden agreeing to coach the Hurricanes would be a shocker, but if you believe Peter King, there’s virtually no chance it will happen.

King Tweeted Sunday night:

I’m hearing the Gruden-to-Miami rumors are fraudulent. But will keep you informed if I hear differently. Jon Gruden is not going to the University of Miami. Period.

To that end, the man who first broke Randy Shannon’s firing late Saturday, ASSOCIATED PRESS reporter Tim Reynolds, Tweeted Sunday:

Doesn’t sound like Miami expects an imminent signing: Jeff Stoutland to meet with reporters Tuesday morning.

But after his Tweet, Reynolds reported:

A person with knowledge of Miami’s search told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Jon Gruden received “parameters” of an offer from the Hurricanes. Gruden, the former Tampa Bay coach who now an ESPN analyst, is atop Miami’s wish list, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because university officials did not authorize the release of search details.

Sources familiar with the UM coaching search told me Saturday night that the school had contracted the coach placement firm run by Chuck Neinas to assist with the hire. Neinas charges a standard fee of $50,000 for his services, and with Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt now on the record about having hired Neinas, the insta-hire of Gruden would be hard to believe.

So why then has Gruden’s name exploded in its association with the Miami job? Read more…