In the aftermath of a scandal that has left Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie’s job in jeopardy, Kansas coach Bill Self has commented on the escalating controversy for the first time.
In an interview with ESPN.com’s Jason King, a former Star employee, Self said he didn’t intend to defend Gillispie, a longtime friend and colleague — but added that he found the accusations and stories of Gillispie hard to digest.
"The articles keep coming out, and I can't comment on things that have happened during his tenure as a coach, because I'm not in Lubbock,” Self told King. “I will say this: To have players who have only been in a program for a year or two and be such experts on what it takes to win and how to be treated is a little bit hard to grasp.”
Earlier this week,allegations surfaced that painted a picture of Gillispie as an overly harsh coach that had forced injured players to practice, held four-hour practices and kept scholarship players in the dark when it came to their future at Texas Tech. The report, which appeared at CBSsports.com, also quoted anonymous sources that stated that Gillispie had broken promises to other coaches and members of his staff. Those allegations came following reports
that Texas Tech players had met with administration to express concern over Gillispie’s coaching methods.
According to reports, Gillispie spent most of last week at the University Medical Center in Lubbock before being released on Thursday.
Self and Gillispie have a long professional relationship that dates back to the mid 1990s, when Gillispie served as an assistant under Self at Tulsa. Gillispie followed Self to Illinois before becoming the head coach at Texas-El Paso in 2002.
"I do know that Billy is tough," Self added. "I know that he only knows one way to do it, and that's to be tougher, harder and more prepared than his opponent, period. That's the only way he knows to do it and, to be honest with you, it's a pretty successful method that a lot of coaches use.
"Billy's different. He has his own motivating tactics. "I'm sure he's done some things as a coach that he looked back on and said, 'Whoa ... I got up against the line today. I toed the line a little bit.' But you know what? We've all done that at some point in time when we're trying to get our teams prepared to play at a high level. Ask any coach in America and he'll tell you there was a time when he said something when he was under stress or something he did under the gun where he went back and said, 'Ooohhh, I wish I would've handled that differently.' "
In addition, former Texas Tech center Robert Lewandowski, an Overland Park native who attended Blue Valley West,came to the defense
of Gillispie earlier this weekend.
To read Self’s full comments,go here.