When Coaching Seats Get Hot
When you are winning basketball games at the University of Kentucky, you could probably shoot a member of the government and the fanbase would forgive you. However, once you start losing, the coaching seat goes from “warm and inviting” to “contentious and hot.” After losing to the Bulldogs of Mississippi State in a team-being-ripped-apart manner — the third consecutive loss, two of which happened in Lexington, for a Wildcats team who started SEC play by winning their first five games — Billy Gillispie is starting to feel some of the heat that comes with coaching at a place like Kentucky.
He’s also starting to hear it from some of the fans, while the other side unloads on Tubby Smith. Fan noise aside, Herald-Leader writer John Clay makes some great points about Gillispie’s current position:
Some outside stuff doesn’t help the cause, either. Rightly or wrongly, Gillispie is perceived as being too aloof, too stubborn, at times a bit too sarcastic. The majority of fans didn’t like the way he upbraided Edwards on national TV last week. It didn’t speak well of the school. Saturday, the fans were quick to think Gillispie snubbed Lexington native Horn in the post-game handshake after the Cats lost to South Carolina, even if Horn said that wasn’t true.
A tipping point has arrived, for this year anyway. Florida comes to town next Tuesday. Then comes road games at Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Once on the Top 25 bubble, the Cats now feel the NCAA bubble.
Clay goes on to say Gillispie shouldn’t be on the coaching hot seat, but he’s about to find out just how deep the passion of Kentucky fans run.
Sounds like a hot seat to me.
Fortunately for Gillispie — or unfortunately for him, seeing how opposing teams have figured out how to stop his two best players — all he has to do is win and he will return to the good graces of the Kentucky faithful. Now let’s see if he can figure out how to get Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks in a position to score.