Mix Billy Gillispie's rockstar status with the impending bubble bursts for many programs around the country, then throw in a dash of message board rumormongering, and all of a sudden the sky is falling in College Station.
first, a look at what the chicken littles are saying:
"At Texas A&M, football will always be king. No coach that has such a potential for greatness would ever want to stay at a school where basketball is #2."
I will concede that football will always be #1 at Texas A&M, and at any big school in the south for that matter, but to say that a coach is more focused on being the #1 sport at that school vs. building a program that competes for championships is a stretch. While I don't have the financial records in front of me to prove that the basketball program is receiving equal monetary support, it's pretty damn clear that the AD, the 12th Man Foundation, and the student body are fully supporting Gillispie. (Just look at the plans for the new basketball center breaking ground this summer)
why Gillispie is staying put:
- Billy is just getting started:
2007-2008 will be his 4th year in building the program, he will finally have everything in place to show what his vision for A&M Basketball is capable of.
- Much of BCG's success is a result of his Texas high school and AAU ties:
Billy's incredible ability to network and recruit within Texas combined with A&M's proximity to the major metro areas of Texas has provided the base upon which Gillispie has built the program. If Gillispie were to leave for another school, his ability to maintain his Houston and Dallas pipelines will be severely hampered.
- Rick Barnes, not Billy Gillispie:
While Billy may have the spotlight this year, Rick Barnes has built a program at Texas that is consistently competing for championships. Barnes has also demonstrated that he can recruit the best from anywhere (Durant from Massachusetts). All this combined with some very public comments expressing his disatisfaction with the support of Basketball at Texas would make him a very juicy and likely target for a major program looking to hire big.
Mark it down, following the madness of March, Durant declares for the NBA, and Barnes finds himself on the east coast (kentucky counts as east coast, right?)